Courting Cake – a great idea for Valentine’s Day!

Downton Courting Cake

The Courting Cake, was the dessert served by Linda and Brian at our Downton Abbey dinner party. I loved the story behind this cake which involves a betrothed proving her culinary chops in order to seal the deal. This cake would also be a great dessert for Valentine’s day,

especially with a delicious glass of French Champagne (or your bubbly of choice) which is the way Brian and Linda served it. The bubbly complements the strawberries and cream nestled between shortcake-like layers. Essentially this a beautiful, and slightly more sophisticated, spin on strawberry shortcake. Yummy!

Courting Cake


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar, or regular sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 3 heaping tablespoons Mascarpone cheese
  • 3 cups sliced strawberries, plus 4 strawberry fans and 1 whole berry for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons (or more, if preferred) powdered sugar, plus additional for dusting


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 round cake pans by lining bottoms with parchment paper.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Taking time at this stage will result in a much lighter cake.
  • Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in 2 teaspoons of vanilla.
  • Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Fold into butter mixture.
  • Gently mix in milk to a dropping consistency.
  • Divide batter into your prepared pans. To remove extra air bubbles, give you pans a good whack on your counter before putting into the oven.
  • Bake cake for 25-30 minutes, or light brown and firm to the touch. Let cool completely on wire racks.
  • Beat whip cream until fairy firm peaks form, adding 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla midway through the process (don't over beat however or it will not combine well on the next step.)
  • Gently fold mascarpone into the whip cream mixture. This stabilizes the cream and gives it additional body.
  • Place one cake layer on a decorative plate, layer with 1/2 of the whip cream mixture and arrange sliced strawberries over the cream. Top with next layer of cake and spread the remaining cream on top. Arrange strawberry fans and whole berry decoratively in center of cake.
  • Dust with additional powdered sugar.
  • Refrigerate cake for at least 1 hour before serving to let flavors blend.


Optionally, If you have lots of berries and extra cream, you can increase the layers by carefully slicing the 2 cakes in half horizontally with a long serrated knife, creating 4 layers. Spread cream and arrange strawberries between each layer.


6 thoughts on “Courting Cake – a great idea for Valentine’s Day!

    • Excellent! Lynda from gourmet club said she used only a small amount of powdered sugar to sweeten the whip cream. I updated the recipe to 2 teaspoons so start with that and add more if you prefer it sweeter.

    • Thanks for the clarification. I punted on the quantity, assuming you had added some, but not sure how much. What quantity of sugar do you think you added to the whipping cream? I can update the recipe and add a note that more can be used if preferred.

  1. I added a very small amount of sugar and vanilla to the whipped cream. This is just a taste preference(slightly not overly sweet).

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