2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
4 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising) plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups whole milk
9 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups hot water
10oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup of cream
2 tablespoons of butter
Swiss meringue buttercream frosting
7 large egg whites
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 sticks unsalted butter, sliced and softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 pound of strawberries
To make white cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9 inch square cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter paper. Dust the pans with flour; tap out extra.
Place milk, egg whites, extracts and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. While the machine is still running, gradually add the sugar. Continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
Add in one-third of the flour mixture and one-third of the milk mixture, and beat on low speed until just combined. Add remaining flour and milk mixtures in 2 separate batches beating between additions until fully combined. Scrape down sides of bowl, and stir by hand to finish.
Evenly divide batter between prepared pans. Smooth surface with a rubber spatula. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until top of cake springs back when lightly pressed and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Run a small metal spatula along edge of cake, invert cake and discard paper. Cool completely on rack, top side up.
To make chocolate cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9 inch square cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter paper. Dust the pans with cocoa; tap out extra.
Sift cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar into bowl. Beat in oil, buttermilk, vanilla, eggs, and hot water one at a time, using a mixer set at low. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Evenly divide batter between prepared pans. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, rotating the pans half way through. Cake is ready when cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 20 minutes, before inverting to remove. Discard paper. Cool completely on racks, top side up.
To make ganache frosting:
Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Pour boiling cream over chocolate. Gently stir until chocolate is completely melted and shiny, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool and thicken about 1-1 1/2 hours.
To make Swiss meringue buttercream:
Combine egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and place it over (not on) simmering water. Heat mixture to 160 degrees F while whisking constantly.
Transfer mixer bowl to stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed (speed 8 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) until mixture cools, doubles in volume and forms stiff peaks; about 10-12 minutes.
Add butter in one piece at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may appear clumpy and almost curdled looking at first—this is normal. Keep mixing and it will become even and smooth again.
Add salt and flavoring, mix to combine.
Line knife parallel to bottom of cake and cut cake in half horizontally. Place white cake layer down on cake board. Using an offset spatula spread ganache on top. Using a second offset spatula spread buttercream on top. Next place sliced strawberries on top. Then stack one chocolate layer on top of strawberries.
Repeat step 1 two more times.
Frost perimeter and top of cake with remaining buttercream. Flash freeze cake for 30 minutes (this will prevent the buttercream from melting for the next step).
Slowly reheat ganache, then pour warm ganache on top of cake. Cover top of cake with quartered strawberries.
A few notes:
Of course this is a multi-step cake, so save yourself some craziness and avoid making everything in one day:
Make the frosting up to a week in advance (keep refrigerated until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before frosting).
The cakes can be made two days in advance and kept tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.
The recipe makes a large one level cake. Alternately, you can trim down one white and one chocolate cake to 6 inches squares for a two tier cake.. To assemble the cake as seen in the picture (loaf shape) cut cake in half after step 2 of the instructions, then follow remaining instructions.