Patriotic Poke Cake

serves 12-16

For the Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

4 extra large egg whites, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

8 Tablespoons (4-ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Syrups

1 cup blueberries

1 1/4 cups water, divided

1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

2 Tablespoons berry-flavored gelatin

3 drops blue food coloring

1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries, hulled

1 Tablespoon strawberry-flavored gelatin

For the Topping

3 1/2 cups whipped cream

3 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 packets of whipped cream stabilizer

For The Cake

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F.  Butter and flour two 9-inch round baking pans; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until they are light and creamy, about 3 minutes.  Add the vanilla and scrape down the sides of the bowl; beat again.  Add one-third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.  Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.  Add the rest of the milk-egg mixture, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.  Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.  Divide the batter evenly into the prepared baking pans and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cakes cool completely in the pans on a wire rack, at least one hour.

For the Syrups

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the blueberries, 3/4 cup water, and 2 Tablespoons sugar, partially covered, until blueberries are softened, about 8 minutes.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl; discard solids.  Whisk berry-flavored gelatin and food coloring into the juices and cool slightly, about 15 minutes.  Repeat cooking and straining using strawberries, remaining water, and remaining sugar.  Whisk strawberry -flavored gelatin into juices and cool slightly, about 15 minutes.

Using a skewer, poke 25 holes in the top of each cake, twisting gently to form larger holes.  Pour cooled blueberry syrup over one cake layer.  Repeat with cooled strawberry syrup and second cake layer.  Cover cakes with plastic wrap and refrigerate until gelatin is set, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

For the Topping

In a large chilled bowl, beat cream, sugar, and stabilizer until soft peaks form; refrigerate until ready to use.

Run knife along interior edge of pans.  Invert blueberry cake onto a wire rack, then flip the cake right side up onto a serving platter.  Spread 1 cup of cream over top.  Invert strawberry cake and place, right side up, on whipped cream.  Spread remaining whipped cream over top and sides of cake.  Cake can be made and refrigerated up to two days in advance.  Enjoy!

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