The recipe for the cake is from my Martha Stewart cookbook, but I couldn't find it online to link to. I halved her amounts and baked it in an 8" round and split it into 3 layers; she calls for two 9" rounds splits into 2 layers each. The amounts listed below are what I used for one 8" cake round.
1/2 c flour
1/3 c cornstarch
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 c white sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 c canola oil
Preheat oven to 350 and spray the bottom of an 8" cake round with non-stick spray. Sift flour and cornstarch together into a small bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat on high speed until the mixture is thick and holds a ribbon-like trail on the surface when you raise the whisk, about 5 minutes. Turn mixer to low and slowly add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Add oil and continue to mix until just combined (for me it didn't really combine; see next step). Turn off mixer, remove the bowl and detatch the whisk. Using the whisk, fold mixture several times (this will get the oil mixed in well).
Pour batter into prepared 8" cake pan; bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the center springs back when you touch it. Immediately turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool.
I used about a pint and a half of strawberries. Remove tops and cut into bite-sized pieces. Put into a medium saucepan with 1/2 c sugar and about 1 tsp cornstarch. Cook over medium heat until bubbly, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. You'll want to do this well ahead of time so they can cool off completely. I was in a hurry for the strawberries to cool off, so I filled a large mixing bowl about halfway with ice water, then put the strawberries in a smaller metal mixing bowl on top of the ice water. I stirred them occasionally and they cooled off this way much faster.
The Whipped Cream
For heaven's sake, don't use Cool Whip. It's not much trouble to whip your own cream! For this recipe I used about a pint of whipping cream, about 1/4 c sugar, and 1/2 tsp vanilla. The trick with whipped cream is to not whip it too fast. Start out on low speed, after a couple minutes increase to medium, and ideally leave it on medium until it's finished (stiff peaks). Yes it will whip faster on high speed but the consistency is nicer & more creamy when it's been whipped on medium; also, whipped cream that has been done on high has a greater tendency to break later on, and you do NOT want broken whipped cream. Trust me. Take the few extra minutes.
Using a long serrated knife (a bread knife is good), split the cake into 3 layers. This cake is dense enough to handle it. On a cake plate (or in my case tonight, a dinner plate) layer: cake, then 1/3 of the strawberries, then 1/3 of the whipped cream, then the next layer of cake and repeat. Next time I would use a slotted spoon so as not to get as much of the strawberry juice, but the cake was dense enough to handle it and it wasn't too much of a problem. The juice soaked into the cake just a little and didn't make it soggy. I assembled the cake about an hour before dinner and let it chill in the fridge and it was perfect. Although it was a little messy, it looked so pretty when we cut into it and of course it was delicious!
Don't you just love strawberry season? I'll be making several batches of jam again soon...
post script... the leftover assembled strawberry shortcake sat in my fridge overnight and tastes even better!! Next time I will assemble this several hours before serving; it gives everything a chance to firm up and it becomes more like a regular layer cake, easily sliced. The cake held up well and I love the consistency. It's like a dense sponge cake; not biscuit-like but also not too light. I will definitely make this again!