Overall Champion of 2017 Strawberry Cook-Off

Overall Champion: Mercy Rico (10 years old)
Recipe: Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake Cake 

24 oz (678g) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (207g) sugar
3 tbsp (24g) all purpose flour
1 cup (230g) sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature

STRAWBERRY CAKE LAYERS

2 strawberry cake mixes
(Plus necessary ingredients according to box)
1/2 cup puréed jaemore strawberries 

CREAM CHEESE WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING

16oz (452g) cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups (720ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
1 1/4 cups (144g) powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
6-10 Jaemore strawberries, sliced
3 strawberries, cut in half

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C). Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan. 
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 greased springform pan. Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan with aluminum foil to prevent water from getting inside. 
6. Place the springform 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. Make cake mix according to directions adding in 1/2 cup of puréed strawberries. 

11. Preheat oven to 350 . Prepare 2 - 9 inch cake pans by buttering and flouring the bottoms and sides. Pour the prepared batter into each cake pan .

12. Bake cake layers 25-35 min watching closely to make sure tops don't over brown. Insert toothpick to test doneness.

13. Remove cake layers from oven and allow to cool 10 min before turning out to cool completely . Refrigerate layers for 2-3 hrs for easier assembly . 

14. Make frosting : cream the softened cream cheese in mixer . While mixing , slowly add whipping cream until incorporated with cream cheese . Whip on high until thick and creamy . On low add powdered sugar and vanilla mixing well . Refrigerate until ready to use . 

15. Assemble cake by putting strawberry cake layer on bottom . Top with thin layer of icing. Place cheesecake on top of icing . Top with another thin layer of icing . Add second strawberry cake layer on top . Cover whole cake in frosting and decorate as desired with sliced strawberries. 

Refrigerate until ready to serve.