DIRECTIONS FOR THE CAKE:
1. Preheat oven to 325° F., rack in the middle position.
2. Generously butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. (Don’t use Pam or spray shortening—it won’t work.)
3. Cream softened butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. (You can mix this cake by hand, but it takes some muscle.)
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until they’re nice and fluffy.
5. Then add the sour cream, baking powder and vanilla. Mix it all up and then add the flour, one cup at a time, and beat until the batter is smooth and has no lumps.
6. Pour the batter into the pans and bake at 325 degrees F. for 45 to 50 minutes. (The cakes should be golden brown on top.)
7. Cool in the pans on a rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edges of the pans to loosen the cakes and turn them out on the rack.
After the cakes are completely cool, wrap each one in plastic wrap, sealing tightly. Wrap
these packages in foil and store them in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
Remove them an hour before you serve, but don’t unwrap them until you’re ready to assemble the dessert.
FOR THE STRAWBERRIES:
(Prepare these several hours before you serve.)
Wash 3 boxes of berries and remove stems. (The easiest way to do this is to use a paring knife to cut off the top part of the berry.) Slice all but a dozen or so, reserving the biggest and best berries to top each portion. Taste the berries and add sugar if they’re too tart. Stir and refrigerate, covered tightly.
FOR THE CREME FRAICHE:
(This will hold for several hours. Make it ahead of time and refrigerate it.)
Whip the cream with the white sugar. When it holds a firm peak (test it by dipping in your spatula), fold in the sour cream. You can do this by hand or by using the slowest speed on the mixer.
Assembling Strawberry Shortcake Swensen
Cut each Pound Plus Cake into 6 pie-shaped wedges and place on dessert plates. Top with the sliced strawberries. Put several generous dollops of Crème Fraiche on top and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Garnish with the whole berries you reserved. Serve and receive rave reviews.