Lonnie Knisley’s Strawberry Cake

Lonnie Knisley, the talented pastry chef at Andrea’s and many other restaurants until he died young, made an incredible strawberry cake made with layers of genoise (sponge cake), whipped cream, and strawberries. It gets the same job done that a strawberry shortcake does, but in a lighter, more visually interesting way. I originally wrote this recipe for Andrea’s cookbook from Lonnie’s recipe.

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 oz. Kirschwasser (a cherry brandy)
  • 3/4 cup whipped cream
  • 1 genoise cake, cut into three layers (see recipe)

1. Wash the strawberries. Cut off the leaves and the white part right next to the leaves. Slice the strawberries about 1/4 inch thick, slicing from top to bottom. Set aside the end slices for garnishing the top.

2. Make a simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in 1/4 cup of warm water. Stir in the Kirschwasser.

3. Brush the top of the bottom third of the cake with the Kirschwasser syrup. With a spatula, spread about a half inch of whipped cream on top. Place strawberries generously on top of the whipped cream.

4. Brush one side of another layer of the cake with the Kirschwasser syrup
and place it on top of the first. Brush the top with syrup, then lay down another layer of whipped cream and strawberries. Repeat the procedure for the third layer. Smooth the whipped cream around the sides and top. Use the round-end strawberries to decorate the top.

Serves eight to ten.

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