Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the hazelnuts and then half of the hazelnut liqueur. Whip the cream. Add the remaining half of the hazelnut liqueur to the cream and whip to shaving cream consistency. Fold into the butter/nut mixture. Line the bottom and sides of a 2-quart, cylindrical mold (like a souffle dish) with parchment. Paint (imbibe) the sponge cake layers with the orange liqueur and water. Place a layer of sponge cake on the bottom. Top the sponge layer with a layer of 1/2 of the cream. Plant a ring of strawberries, point down, around the outer edge. Top with another sponge cake layer and repeat with cream and berries. Top with a final layer of sponge cake. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Remove from mold and dust sides with coarse hazelnuts.
For the optional flavored whipped cream garnish, whisk heavy cream in a bowl until it begins to thicken. Add the confectioners' sugar, orange liqueur, and vanilla and whisk to soft peaks. Place the cream in a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe rosettes on top of the cake and top each rosette with a small strawberry.
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat 3 (7-inch) cake pans with non-stick vegetable spray. Line the bottoms with a circle of baking parchment.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Repeat 3 times. In a small saucepan, bring the milk and butter to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and lemon extracts.
In a mixing bowl beat the eggs and sugar until pale yellow, fluffy and doubled in volume. While still beating, drizzle in the hot milk mixture. Fold in the flour mixture.
Spread the batter in the prepared pans and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden, the center springs back when lightly pressed and a cake tester comes out clean. Set the pans on a rack to cool. Run the tip of a knife around the edges of the cakes to loosen them, and turn them out of the pans. Yield: 12 servings
Recipe courtesy of Wayne Harley Brachman