Remy had exactly one request for her birthday this year and that was a PINK CAKE.
(After, of course, spending weeks requesting a green cake and then a red cake. Just to keep me on my toes.)
I tried to elicit whether that meant she wanted a strawberry cake or a raspberry cake or a rhubarb cake….but all I got was, “JUST PINK”, said in adamant three-nager shrieks while stampeding around the apartment. So I searched the internets high and low, and while there were a few contenders, I eventually landed on this strawberry dream cake.
And, it was perfect.
While most strawberry cakes rely on strawberry jello or “strawberry extract” (which is often actually artificial strawberry flavor, whatever that means) for their fruity flavor, I loved that this recipe from Cook’s Country uses REAL strawberries in the batter and the frosting. Frozen strawberries are microwaved until soft and juicy, then pressed through a sieve to separate the liquids from the solids. The liquids are then reduced down into a strawberry syrup and used in the cake batter, while the strawberry solids are mixed directly into the frosting. The result is a cake that is unapologetically STRAWBERRY through and through.
My husband actually though it was TOO strawberry-flavored (<–weirdo), but I have no idea how that could be possible.
The birthday girl though it was absolutely delicious, and that’s all that matters.
- 10 oz frozen whole strawberries
- ¾ cup whole milk, room temperature
- 6 large egg white, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1¼ cups cake flour
- 1¾ cups sugar
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- pink food gel coloring, optional
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 2¼ cups powdered sugar
- 12 oz cream cheese, softened
- strawberry solids, reserved from the cake
- pinch of salt
- pink food gel coloring, optional
- 8 oz fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
- Heat oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans. Line with parchment paper and grease again. Set aside.
- Place the strawberries in a bowl and microwave for 5 minutes, or until thawed and starting to release their juice. Pour into a fine-mesh sieve set over a small saucepan. Press the fruit through the sieve so that the liquids end up in the pan. Reserve the dry strawberry solids (you will use them in the frosting!). Bring the strawberry liquids to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture is thick and syrupy, about 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and whisk the milk into the strawberry reduction.
- Combine the strawberry milk, egg whites, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined.
- Add in the butter, 1 tbsp at a time, with the mixer on low. Mix for 1 minute after all of the butter has been added, then add half of the milk mixture and turn the speed up to medium-high. Mix for 1 minute, or until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer down to low and add in the remaining milk mixture and pink food gel, if using. Mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds, then stir once more by hand to combine.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through. Allow to cool in the baking pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until combined, then increase to medium-high and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese an ounce at a time. Once it has all been added, mix for 1 minute. Add the reserved strawberry solids and salt. Mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the pink food gel, if using, and mix until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Once the cakes are cool, spread ¾ cup of the frosting over the top of one cake round. Press 1 cup of the fresh strawberries in an even layer over the top of the frosting.Top with another ¾ cup of frosting. Top with the second cake round and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish the cake with the remaining fresh strawberries and then serve.