This towering layer cake recipe, filled with a pink-tinted strawberry filling and frosted with a white cream cheese frosting, makes a dessert worthy of your mom on Mother's Day.
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 3 straight-sided 8 x 2-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottoms with parchment or waxed paper; coat paper with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt into large bowl.
3. Beat shortening in large bowl on medium speed, gradually adding 1-1/2 cups sugar; beat 2 minutes or until smooth. Add vanilla and liqueur; beat 1 minute.
4. On low speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour; then beat on medium-high speed 2 minutes. Tint with 10 drops food coloring. Fold in diced strawberries.
5. Place egg whites (be sure there are no specks of yolk in the whites) in separate large, clean bowl. With clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat on high speed, gradually adding remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Continue to beat until stiff glossy peaks form.
6. Stir one-quarter beaten whites into cake batter to lighten; gently fold in remaining whites. Divide batter among 3 prepared pans.
7. Bake in 350 degree F oven 28 to 30 minutes, until cakes spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; remove paper; let cool.Frosting:
8. Beat 1/2 cup butter and 1 package cream cheese in large bowl until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add half of the extracts, 2 boxes sugar and 2 tablespoons milk. Beat on low until blended; scrape down sides of bowl. Beat on high until smooth and spreading consistency, 1 to 2 minutes. Tint with 8 drops coloring. Stir in diced strawberries.
9. Use remaining frosting ingredients to make second batch, omitting coloring so frosting is white.
10. Trim 2 cakes even; leave third layer with crown. Insert picks around side of one layer, halfway up side. Using picks as guide, slice in half. Repeat with other 2 layers (6 layers). Discard picks. Makes 20 servings.