about ¾ cup good quality strawberry or raspberry (my fave) jam
a couple cups of fresh strawberries, hulled and halved, or any other type of berries (in winter we tend to use bananas or kiwis)
Heat your oven to 350.
Grease a 10-inch round springform pan and cover the outside of it with a layer of aluminum foil (this will help keep the cake from browning too much before it cooks through).
In a large metal bowl, use a handheld beater (or kitchen aid) to beat the egg whites until they are foamy, then continue to beat on high speed while adding ½ cup of the sugar 1 Tbs. at a time. Beat until the whites are stiff and glossy. Set aside.
In another bowl, stir together the flour, remaining cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt, then on medium speed beat in the oil and vanilla and ½ cup of milk (you don’t even have to wash the mixer before doing this!) for one minute.
Add the remaining milk plus the egg yolks and continue to beat for another minute, until well combined. Then, fold in the egg whites and spread the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the cake in the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 15-20 minutes, then remove it from the springform pan and allow to cool completely.
When the cake is fully cooled and ready for decorating, slice it into three horizontal layers using a very long serrated knife. Spread the bottom layer with a thick layer of jam, then cover this with a layer of whipped cream. Add the second layer and repeat, spreading it with jam, then whipped cream. Top with the final layer of cake.
Spread the entire outside of the cake with the rest of the whipped cream, then decorate the tops and sides with the berries. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve (I like to make mine a bit ahead of time so the filling has a little time to soak into the cake because I like it best that way).
To serve the cake the way I learned growing up, first cut a round piece in the middle (so that if you were to remove the round piece the cake would be shaped like a donut), then cut slices radiating out from the round piece. The round piece is to be saved for the birthday boy or girl to eat for breakfast the next morning.
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