Red Velvet Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

















For the Red Velvet Cake Layers:
2 ½C AP Flour
1 ½C Sugar
1t Baking Soda
1t Salt
2t Cocoa Powder
1 ½C Vegetable Oil
1C Buttermilk, Room Temperature
2 Large Eggs, Room Temperature
2T Red Food Coloring (1 oz)
1t White Distilled Vinegar
1t Vanilla

For the Cream Cheese Poundcake Layers:
1 ½ Sticks of Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 8oz Package of Cream Cheese, Softened
1 ½C Sugar
3 Large Eggs
1 ½C AP Flour
Pinch of Salt
2t Vanilla

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 8oz Packages of Cream Cheese, Softened
2 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Softened
4C Confectioners’ Sugar, Sifted
2t Vanilla
Fresh Strawberries, Cut into Cubes

For the Cake:
3 Prepared Red Velvet Cake Layers
2 Prepared Cream Cheese Poundcake Layers
Prepared Cream Cheese Frosting
Fresh Strawberries, For Garnish
Toasted Chopped Pecans, For Garnish

Directions:
1. To Make the Red Velvet Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray 3 cake pans with Pam and set them aside. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed. Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven, evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a cooling rack and let cool completely before layering.
2. To Make the Cream Cheese Poundcake: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and spray 2 cake pans with Pam and set them aside. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Gradually add in the sugar, beating well. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next; beat until just combined. Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl, and then gradually add it to the butter mixture, beating at a low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the batter into the two prepared pans and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour each, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes and then invert on a wire rack to cool completely (before layering).
3. Layer the Cake: Place 1 layer of the red velvet cake (rounded side down) in the middle of a cake stand. Using a spatula spread a thick layer of the cream cheese frosting on top of the cake layer. Scatter about ¼C of fresh strawberry pieces (pushing the fruit in slightly, so they sink into the frosting). Carefully set a layer of cream cheese Poundcake on top of the strawberry frosting layer (rounded side down) and spread another thick layer of cream cheese frosting and strawberries. Repeat this pattern until all the cake layers have been used, as well as the frosting. Make sure you end with a layer of red velvet cake.
4. To Make the Cream Cheese Frosting: In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla, and then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Once you have finished layering & stacking the cake, spread this softened cream cheese frosting over the entire cake. This first layer of cream cheese frosting should be very thin (make sure to scrape of excess with a knife). Place the cake in the refrigerator for an hour to harden. By doing this, this will form a hard layer around the cake, which will help with the cake crumbs to not be visible in your frosting. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and spread the remaining cream cheese frosting over the cake in a thick coating (make sure it is even and smooth). Once all the frosting has been used, press the chopped pecans onto the sides of the cake for presentation. And then top with fresh cut strawberries.
5. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to set up the frosting, but then let the cake come to room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before eating. 
6. Serve and enjoy this beautiful masterpiece!!


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