Red Ale and Strawberry Stack Cake

The yeasty bitterness of red ale contrasts pleasantly with tart, sweet strawberries in this update on the classic shortcake. The cake rounds[ are stacked with buttercream frosting and left bare on the sides, so you can see the beautiful berries, macerated in more ale, peeking out.]

Total Time:
1 hr 45 min
30 min
40 min
35 min

16 to 20 servings

  • Cake:
  • Unsalted butter, for greasing the pans
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans (see Cook's Note)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • One 12-ounce bottle red ale
  • Frosting and Fruit:
  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound strawberries, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter and flour the paper (see Cook's Note).

  • Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl until evenly combined. Combine the sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs in another bowl. Pour 1 tablespoon red ale into a small bowl and reserve. Pour the remaining red ale into the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour the egg and beer mixture over the flour mixture and whisk until the batter is just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared pans, shaking the pans to distribute the batter evenly, then bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

  • Let the cakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then invert them onto a cooling rack and remove the parchment paper. Flip the cakes right-side up again and let cool completely.

  • For the frosting and fruit: Meanwhile, combine the butter, confectioners' sugar, milk, lemon juice, vanilla and salt in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until lightened and creamy, about 3 minutes. In another bowl, toss the strawberries with the granulated sugar and the reserved red ale and refrigerate 15 minutes to 1 hour.

  • Place a cake layer on a cake plate, then spread 1 cup of the frosting over the cake with an offset spatula or butter knife. Spoon about a quarter of the strawberries over the frosting, arranging them evenly over the top. Repeat with the second cake layer, another 1 cup frosting and third of the remaining strawberries. Top with the last cake layer and the remaining 1 cup frosting. (If not serving immediately, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for up to 1 day.)

  • When ready to serve, pile the remaining strawberries on top of the cake.

  • Copyright 2016 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.

Cook's Notes: When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)

If you don't have 3 pans, you can bake the batter in batches. Let the pans cool completely before pouring the batter in to bake the next cake.

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