Strawberry-Lemon Cake, Milk Bar Style

Sometimes you need a very special cake, and this is the one.  We had guests this weekend, family members that we don’t see often enough, and they both had birthdays the previous week.  I wanted to present them with a birthday cake that was unique and delicious.  I looked to Christina Tosi, pastry chef extraordinaire, for inspiration.  I wanted a cake with the flavors of seasonal fruit, a balance of sweet and rich, and lots of textural interest.  This towering layer cake has all that and more.  It may look daunting, but from a baker’s point of view, it’s a simple project.  I don’t deny that it’s time-consuming, but each of the six components can be prepared in advance.  The cake itself can be “constructed” and stored in the freezer for several days.  It requires some special equipment, which you may already have in your kitchen arsenal.  Here’s the cake, in its mold, circled with acetate and ready for the freezer:

Use a sharp, serrated knife to slice the cake and you will be rewarded with a lovely display of contrasting layers:  vanilla cake, pickled strawberry jam, milk crumbs, and lemon-curd cheesecake.  All of this is topped with a strawberry frosting and another layer of those sweet-salty milk crumbs.

We enjoyed it with pink champagne, but a glass of cold milk or a cup of hot tea is every bit as good an accompaniment.

For this special cake, I am sending you to a recipe link.  Not only is it good blogger manners, it’s also respect for copyright rules.  I didn’t change or adapt the recipe from this site, at Saveur magazine.  Set aside a few hours each day and by this weekend you too could be enjoying a Milk Bar-style cake.  Your family and friends will thank you!