For The White Velvet Cake:
1. Sift together flour and baking soda; set aside.
2. Cream sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.
3. Gradually add flour mixture, a third at a time, alternating with the buttermilk, until fully incorporated.
4. Turn the batter onto a 12-by-18-inch baking sheet (jellyroll pan) that is lined with parchment paper, buttered and floured.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched lightly. Set aside on a rack to cool.
For The White Chocolate Cream Filling:
1. Melt chocolate slowly, in a microwave or double boiler, until warm.
2. Whip cream to soft peaks.
3. Make a small well in the cream, pour in the chocolate, then gradually whisk it into the cream.
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:
1. Cut two 8-inch circles from the cake. Place one on a serving plate and put an 8-inch ring, such as a springform pan without the bottom, around it.
2. Select 10 to 12 uniformly tall strawberries and cut in half vertically. With cut side touching the inside of the ring, arrange the berries close together around the top of that layer. Cover the rest of the cake top with the remaining whole berries.
3. Spread the filling over the berries, reserving 1/2 cup.
4. Top with remaining layer of cake and spread reserved filling over the top.
5. Refrigerate cake at least 4 hours or overnight. To unmold, run the tip of a paring knife around the top part of the cake (avoiding the berries) and lift the cake ring straight up.
TO DECORATE THE CAKE:
1. Melt chocolate and spread on the back of a baking sheet.
2. Refrigerate until just set, 1 to 3 minutes.
3. With a spatula, scrape the chocolate into sheets and fold with hands to form shapes resembling flower petals.
4. Place these on the cake and refrigerate until set.
Makes 10-12 servings.
Source: Tim Towner, Owner of Dessert Works
Date: October 27, 2002