Taste of the South Magazine's Toasted Almond-Strawberry Napoleons

Taste of the South Magazine's Toasted Almond-Strawberry Napoleons
Yield: 8 cakes

1 cup whole milk
1 cup almond slivers, toasted
2 pints strawberries, hulled and chopped
1⁄2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
23⁄4 cups cake flour
11⁄2 cups plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 egg whites
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups sweetened whipped cream
Garnish: fresh mint

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 8 (3-inch) round cake pans with nonstick baking spray with flour. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring milk just to a simmer. Remove from heat, and add toasted almonds. Let stand for 15 minutes, or until cool.
3. Strain milk, discarding almonds. Measure almond milk, adding milk to make 1 cup, if necessary. Refrigerate until chilled.
4. In a large bowl, combine strawberries, sugar, and amaretto; let stand for 30 minutes.
5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine flour, superfine sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat at low speed to aerate. Add butter, beating until mixture forms a paste. Add egg whites and egg, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as necessary. Slowly add almond milk and vanilla, and beat until just combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.
6. Bake until tops just begin to brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
7. Trim cake layers to make them flat. Split each layer in half horizontally. Spread a layer of sweetened whipped cream on one half, and spoon prepared strawberries over cream. Top with remaining half of cake layer. Spread evenly with sweetened whipped cream, and top with strawberries. Garnish with mint, if desired.

Reprinted with permission for Taste of the South Magazine and Hoffman Media.

GDA Cooking - April 2, 2010