2 8 or 9 inch cake pans
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened plus more for greasing pans
2 cups of cake flour (not self-rising) plus more for dusting pans
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of granulated sugar
3 large eggs, kept at room temperature for 30 minutes
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3/4 cup of whole milk
5 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of limoncello
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 pound of strawberries, preferably small, trimmed
1 1/4 cups of heavy cream
Confectioner sugar for dusting
Mint leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the middle.
Lightly grease 2 8 or 9 inch cake pans with butter and dusting with flour.
Into a medium bowl sift together 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together 1 stick of butter and 1 cup of granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy for about 5 minutes. Add 3 large eggs one at a time beating until combined, then beat in 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
With mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and 3/4 cups of whole milk in four batches; beat until just combined.
Divide batter between cake pans, spreading evenly with a spatula. Bake until the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pans and testers inserted into centers come out clean. 20 to 25 minutes. The top of the cakes will be pale in color. Cool 5 minutes in the pan on wire rack, then invert onto rack and cool completely.
In a small saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1/4 cup of limoncello, 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of water; heat over medium heat, whisking, just until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
With tops of cakes facing up and avoiding outer 1/2 inch border, poke both cakes all over with tines of fork. Brush with syrup.
Slice half of the strawberries. In the bowl of the electric mixer beat 1 1/4 cups of heavy cream and the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar to stiff peaks. Cover 1 cake with 1/2 of the cream, leaving a 1 inch border. Arrange sliced berried on top. Top with second cake layer. Cover with remaining cream, leaving a 1 inch border. Top with whole berries, the dust with confectioner sugar. Garnish with mint.