I was so excited a few weeks ago after I shared my soft pretzel recipe on the blog, because I received an e-mail in my inbox from my blog! It was my first email from a reader with an idea that someone wanted to see made on the blog! It was from my sweet sister and supporter Amy. She had clicked the link at the bottom of the pretzel post that took her to Sally’s Baking Addiction Blog . She asked if we could make the Homemade Strawberry Cake that was featured on the blog. It made me smile because I really wanted to make this for her birthday back in December, but I ran out of time. So when I was home in St. Louis last week, we made a date to make this cake together.
First of all, it was a rough day of baking. Strawberries tried to get the best of me on this day. I spilled my first batch of slightly pureed strawberries all over myself and my mom’s kitchen as I was trying to pulse them for the reduced strawberry puree. Then I accidentally blended the “stay dry packet” that come with the freeze dried strawberries and had to start over when making the strawberry powder for the icing, but – everything worked out fine and we ended up with a delicious strawberry cake!
This recipe had more ingredients than my usual recipes that I choose to make and more steps, but it was an exciting challenge.
To start with, a few hours before baking, I made the reduced strawberry puree (in the bottom left of the picture). I pureed 1 pound of cleaned and hulled strawberries in a blender and added it to a sauce pan over medium heat. I stirred it and let it reduce by about half. This took about 20 minutes. I put it in a container and put it in the fridge to cool completely. Sorry that I don’t have any pictures of this step – it was nap time and I kept having to run upstairs and try to get my boys to “sleep” – you know – their favorite game time of the day.
When I was ready to make the cake, I preheated the oven to 350 F degrees. Then I whisked together all the dry ingredients, 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour, measured using the fluff, scoop, level method – shown here, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. I set this bowl aside until later. Then I brushed my 2 – 9-inch round cake pans with butter and floured them (we were a little heavy on the flour…oops).
Next, I used the paddle attachment on my mixmaster to cream together 3/4 cup unsalted room temperature butter and 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Then I scrapped down the sides and added 5 room temperature egg whites. (I separated these earlier in the day and left them on the counter to come to room temperature). Don’t throw out the yolks – you can use them to make chocolate mousse! I mixed these on high until they were incorporated and the batter was light in color. Then, I added in 1/3 cup room temperature plain yogurt and 2 teaspoon vanilla.
I scraped down the sides of the bowl and slowly mixed in the dry ingredient mixture. Then while the mixer was running on low, I added 1/2 cup room temperature whole milk and mixed it until it was just incorporated and stoped as soon as I couldn’t see anymore milk.
Finally, I pulled the bowl off the mixer and used a whisk to mix in 1/2 cup of the reduced strawberry puree and two drops of pink gel food coloring.
Amy helped me pour the batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans. This is one of the few action shots I have on the blog since I am usually alone in the kitchen or holding one of my boys while, I’m baking and taking pictures!
The cakes baked for 25 minutes in the oven. I tested the doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cakes, it came out clean, but as they were cooling, the center began to sink. I am still unsure about how to solve this problem, it may just need more time in the oven, but the toothpick came out clean….more investigating needed! I turned the cakes out onto the cooling rack and they came out super easily because of the parchment paper, butter and flour treatment we gave them earlier. I removed the paper and flipped them over again. I allowed them to cool completely on the rack.
While the cakes cooled, we started working on the icing. I pulverized 1 cup of freeze dried strawberries (I bought them at Trader Joe’s) in a blender until they were a powder. (Well I did this twice, but you know that already) I set the powder aside.
I used the whisk attachment on my mixmaster to whip an 8 ounce block of full fat room temperature cream cheese on high for 1 minute until it was creamy. Then I added 1/2 cup of unsalted room temperature butter to the cream cheese and whisked them together. Next, I added 3 cups of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of whole milk, the strawberry powder, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt to the mixing bowl. I whisked this until everything was incorporated and then I turned the mixer on high and let it whip for about 5 minutes. I didn’t need anymore milk to thin mine out at this point but feel free to add if your mixture is too thick. I ran out of time at this point with my sister and all our hangry kids, so I added the icing to an airtight container and put it in the fridge until I had time the next day to finish the cake. I also wrapped the cake on a plate with plastic wrap and stored it on the counter.
The next day, I put my first cake layer on a large plate and added icing on top of the first layer and spread it all the way to the edge of the cake. Then I put the second layer of cake on top. I spread icing all over the top and sides of the cake and smoothed it out with an offset spatula. I really like the slightly rustic look of this cake with the swirls in the icing.
This cake is sweet and full of strawberry flavor! I love that all the flavor comes from the strawberry puree and freeze dried strawberries! It tastes so fresh and delicious. I have a feeling this will be requested again for birthdays in the future. One of the best things about making this in the dead of winter though, is that it was a pop of spring in all the dreary weather!
- I wish I had taken more careful pictures of all the steps of making this cake, but happy that I made it and it got rave reviews from all the tasters.
- I wish I had take a picture of a slice since the inside was super pretty and pink too!
- I will not let the strawberries attack me next time I make this cake!
Recipe: Homemade Strawberry Cake
- 2 and 1/2 cups sifted cake flour – properly measured (see above)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt or sour cream, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup reduced strawberry puree
- To make the reduced strawberry puree: puree 1 lb of strawberries in a blender, food processor or with a hand blender. You should have a little over 1 cup. Stirring occasionally, simmer the puree over low-medium heat for 25-30 minutes until you’re left with 1/2 cup or a little over 1/2 cup Allow to cool completely before using in cake batter- the fridge can speed this up
- Make the reduced strawberry puree and allow it to cool completely. See note above.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush butter on and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
- Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the egg whites on high speed until combined and a light color, about 2 minutes. Then beat in the yogurt and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk just until combined. Be careful not to over mix. Whisk in 1/2 cup of reduced strawberry puree and 2 drop of pink gel coloring, making sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl.
- Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for around 24-25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
- For the frosting: Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried strawberries into a powdery crumb. You should have around 1/2 cup. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute on high speed until completely smooth and creamy. Beat in the butter until combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar, strawberry powder, 1 Tablespoon milk, and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until combined and creamy. Add 1 more Tablespoon of milk to slightly thin out, if desired. Taste, then add a pinch of salt if needed. Then, beat the frosting for about 5 minutes to make fluffy and smooth.
- To assemble the cake: Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake keep its shape when cutting– it could slightly fall apart without time in the fridge.
- Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction Homemade Strawberry Cake