1. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C). Line the entire inside of a 9-inch (23cm) cake pan with aluminum foil. Press it into the pan to get it as flat as you can. You’ll use the aluminum foil to lift the cheesecake out of the pan when it’s baked and cooled.
2. In a large mixer bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar and flour together until combined. Use low speed to keep less air from getting into the batter, which can cause cracks. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Add the sour cream, and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until well combined.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.
5. Pour the cheesecake batter into the lined cake pan.
6. Place the cake pan inside another larger pan. I use a larger cake pan, but you can use a roasting pan or any other larger baking pan. Fill the outside pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake for 1 hour.
7. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for 30 minutes. Do not open the door or you’ll release the heat.
8. Crack oven door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 30 minutes. This cooling process helps the cheesecake cool slowly to prevent cracks.
9. Remove cheesecake from oven and chill until firm, 5-6 hours.
10. To make the cake layers, preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Line the bottoms of two 9-inch (23cm) cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides.
11. In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
12. Add the sour cream and strawberry extract and mix until combined.
13. Add the egg whites in two batches, mixing until well combined after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is combined.
14. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Combine the milk and strawberry puree in a measuring cup.
15. Add half of the flour mixture to the batter and mix until combined.
16. Add the milk mixture to the batter and mix until combined.
17. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure everything is being combined. Stir in the food coloring.
18. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 27-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs.
19. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove from pans to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
20. To build the cake, make the frosting. Add the cream cheese to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth, then set aside.
21. Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to another bowl and whip until soft peaks form.
22. Add the cream cheese to the whipped cream and whip until stiff peaks form. It will happen fairly quickly. Set whipped frosting in the refrigerator.
23. Use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes.
24. Place the first layer of cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round. Spread about 1 cup of frosting evenly on top of the cake layer.
25. Use the aluminum foil to lift the cheesecake out of the cake pan, remove the foil and place the cheesecake on top of the cake.
26. Spread another cup of frosting evenly on top of the cheesecake, then add the second layer of cake on top. If the sides of the cake don’t line up, use a serrated knife to trim off the excess cake or cheesecake.
27. Frost the outside of the cake.
28. Pipe swirls of the whipped frosting around the top edge of the cake. I used the Ateco 844 icing tip.
29. Place sliced strawberries around the bottom edge of the cake. Place strawberry halves on top of the cake around the inside of the swirls.
30. Pip a small shell border around the bottom edge of the cake.
31. Store the cake (in an airtight containter, if possible) in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Cake is best for 2-3 days.