Royal Puff Strawberry Tall Cake

3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
aluminum foil
nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 300F. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla extract until mixture begins to get stiff. Add sugar gradually and continue beating until very stiff. Cover three 8-inch cake pans with aluminum foil. Spray well with nonstick cooking spray. Dust with a thick coat of flour and shake off excess flour out of pan. Put stiffened egg white batter in bottom of each pan, dividing equally and spreading evenly over bottom of pans. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool.

First Layer:
1 cup baker's semisweet chocolate chips
3 egg yolks beaten
2 tsp. water

In bottom of double boiler, put about one inch of water and place over high heat. Just before water boils, turn heat off but leave pot on burner. Place top of double boiler over hot water and add chocolate chips. Leave for a few minutes so that the chocolate chips begin to melt. Stir. Wait before stirring so that the remaining chocolate chips will be melted. Add egg yolks and stir very well. Add water. Mix well. Dip bottom half of 12 strawberries (with hulls left on) in the chocolate mixture and place them on foil.

Second Layer:
8-ounce package cream cheese
2 tbsp. milk (use only if mixture is very stiff)
6 tbsp. sugar
4 crushed strawberries or 2 giant strawberries

Beat well and spread over chocolate

Third Layer:
4 pints strawberries, cleaned and hulled
1 pint of small strawberries cleaned and hulled
1-1/2 cup water
1-1/2 cup sugar
8 tbsp. cornstarch, level
1/4 tsp. red food coloring

Crush one pint of the smaller strawberries in deep pot. Add water and boil on high heat for two minutes. Mix sugar and cornstarch and add to boiling juice. Cook and stir until clear. Add red food coloring. Mix well. Cool. Add four pints of strawberries. Mix well.

Peel aluminum foil gently from bottom all shells. Put the softest one as the bottom layer in a large decorated tray. Spread glazed strawberries over layer of cream cheese being careful not to put so much glaze that it drips over the edge.

Fourth Layer:
2 cartons whipping cream, half pint each
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar

Beat whipping cream and vanilla extract until it begins to get stiff. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff. Top layer of strawberries with heaping spoon of whipped cream and spread over strawberries. Repeat procedure by topping with another shell then glazed strawberries and whipped cream. Top this with last shell and strawberries. Do not cover strawberries and whipped cream. Instead, put only a small amount of whipped cream in the shape of sunflower in the center. Coat completely all sides of cake. Decorate with chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Cut into 12 wedges. Serve on a plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired.

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Cajun Country -- New Iberia, Louisiana