Strawberries Romanoff Tort ~ A Moist and Creamy Make-ahead Cake
For my husband’s birthday this year, I had to do things a little differently, thanks to the quirky oven that came with our rental. His usual Black Forest cherry cake had to be back-burnered (ha!) because what little baking I was able to do was being done in a toaster oven. And because I make his annual chocolate cake from a super moist store-bought cake mix, as my Black Forest childhood romping mother taught me to do, I was afraid it would rise over the top of a small pan and make a royal mess, as well as ruin my toaster oven and possibly electrocute me. Plan B went into development.
I had been making up for my lack of proper baking by replacing my loaf bread baking with lots of stove-top spinach wrap and whole wheat tortilla making, and had even resorted to frying food, on occasion, when I needed something sweet to come out of my kitchen. But there is no substitute for a birthday cake, in my opinion, so I was determined to make it work. That’s how this delightful little strawberry cake came about.
I’d already worked out the kinks of temperature adjustment in my mini oven, after making several batches of banana bread in various parts of a camping mess kit, so that was no problem. Finding the right baking dish to bake a round cake in the toaster oven was the tricky part. I settled on using a small Corningware casserole dish that I’d had since my first Christmas as a married woman. The perfect size for a couple with no children, it was given to me by my grandmother on my first trip home after a blizzardy drive from Connecticut to Florida. It fit just right in the toaster oven, and so the little cake baked up nicely with the temperature set at 350 degrees.
For this cake, I only used half the batter, but the recipe calls for enough to make two 8″ cakes in two round cake pans. I made muffins with the remainder of the batter.
Lots of frozen strawberries baked into the cake and used in the filling simulated the fruity moistness of a Black Forest cherry cake. An adaptation of the Romanoff sauce my family loves dolloped over fresh strawberries was a substitute for the whipped cream in the cake I usually bake for my husband. It was such a hit that my younger has son has requested a larger version of the tort for his upcoming birthday. Phew! Pulled that one off. And now I owe my husband one honking big Black Forest cherry cake for the big 45 next year.
1/2 c. butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. pink Himalayan salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. buttermilk, I used clabber from raw milk
12 oz. frozen strawberries, thawed, drained, and crushed
12 oz. frozen strawberries, not thawed
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
Pinch pink Himalayan salt
1/2 c. sour cream
To make the cake, cream together the butter and sugar.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Sift together the flour, salt, soda, and powder.
Fold alternately to the wet ingredients with the buttermilk.
Fold in the crushed strawberries.
Grease and flour two 8″ round cake pans.
Pour in the batter. Bake approximately 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, whip up the sauce ingredients by beating them until creamy and fluffy, 8-10 minutes with a mixer.
While the cake is hot, pile one layer with the frozen strawberries.
Spoon on half the Romanoff sauce.
Top it with the hot second layer of cake.
Chill several hours to allow the strawberries to meld with the cake and sauce.
Spoon on the rest of the Romanoff sauce before serving.