For a extra steady cake, you possibly can lower the 9×13 cake in half the quick means. However the place’s the enjoyable in that?
Make the meringue: Within the giant bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with 1/4 teaspoon salt on medium/low velocity till they start to thicken — they’ll look satiny and also you’ll see some trails kind from the beaters. Improve the velocity to medium, and add half the sugar — 3/4 cup — a bit at a time, letting every sprinkle disappear and beating 10 to twenty seconds earlier than including extra. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste and proceed to whip the combination till the egg whites are shiny, and stiff peaks kind when the whisk is lifted. Set this bowl apart.
Make the cake: In a second bowl, however no want to wash your whisk/beaters in the event you’re utilizing them once more, beat the butter with the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and lemon zest till mild and fluffy. Add egg yolks and beat to mix. Sprinkle floor of batter with baking powder and beat completely into combination. Add the milk and beat to mix; the batter will instantly look curdly and cut up and such as you’ve made a mistake. You haven’t. Add the flour and beat till clean; the combination ought to come again collectively evenly.
Bake the cake: Spoon the cake batter into the underside of your ready cake pan and unfold it into a skinny, even layer. Dollop the egg white combination all around the batter and gently unfold this throughout the cake. (For each, a small offset spatula makes this simpler.) Bake the cake for 20 minutes, then test for doneness — a toothpick inserted into the cake ought to come out batter-free. This may be more durable to evaluate below a meringue, so strive a number of locations. The cake would possibly want 5 to 10 minutes longer to set. [Yes, I found this long of a baking time range in testing.]
As soon as baked, cool cake in pan for 10 minutes, then used the parchment surrounding the cake to rigorously yank the cake and parchment immediately onto your cooling rack to fully cool.
End cake parts: In a medium bowl, mix strawberries, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and lemon juice and put aside. [It takes about 15 minutes for them to get juicy.] Mix the heavy cream, crème fraîche, remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and vanilla extract or paste in a big, clear bowl, and beat combination till mushy peaks kind.
Assemble the cake: Fastidiously lower the cooled cake in half the good distance, creating two lengthy rectangles. Loosen the parchment beneath, and punctiliously switch the primary half onto a plate. Swirl the highest of it with half the whipped cream, then scratter with half the berries. [Will it be messy? Yes it will.] Place the second half of the cake on high of the berries and end with remaining cream and berries. You’ll be able to drizzle any additional juices from the bowl over the cake. Garnish with mint leaves and/or powdered sugar, if you want.
To serve: Retailer the cake within the fridge till wanted. Minimize cake into messy, chaotic slices to serve. Leftovers maintain within the fridge for 4 days.