Hello friends. Again, I have been neglecting my posting responsibilities. I HAVE been baking. And taking loads of pictures. I’m just still trying to figure out this picture editing and how to work my Mac. I’m climbing the learning curve, I promise. It’s just slow-going right now.
So, here’s a brief synopsis of what has been going on over here. Since last Wednesday, I have:
- Baked six strawberry cakes – four different recipes in all
- Found a wonderful strawberry cake recipes (thanks to help from my in-house R&D team. Read: husband and brother-in-law)
- Made wonderful strawberry cake recipe into a baby shower cake and thus SOLD MY VERY FIRST CAKE!!! (Side note: I wasn’t excited at all. Can you tell?)
- Turned leftover strawberry cake rejects into strawberry lemonade cake truffles (with the petit four glaze from my Lemon Poppyseed Cake Balls and this recipe for fluffy lemon frosting)
- Made mounds and mounds of vanilla cream cheese frosting
- Founds a stellar vanilla buttermilk cake and instant fudge frosting
- Made said yellow cake and chocolate frosting
- Pulled out the sprinkles and whipped up some homemade funfetti cupcakes
- Officially used many of my much neglected baking toys…and acquired more
- Started working with the lovely ladies and one of my dear friends at Dear June to build the uDoughpia brand
- Poured through recipes trying to decide what I am going to make next weekend for my first tasting for a wedding dessert bar that I am doing in October
- Practiced golf for my upcoming work golf tournament (EEK!)
Needless to say, I’ve kept busy. It is my heartfelt goal to post more as I continue to bake delicious things and pick up speed on picture editing etc. That said, I will now inundate you with pictures.
Last Wednesday, I got an email from an old friend introducing me to one of her other friends that needed a cake for a baby shower that coming weekend. When asked if I was able to do the cake, I said “
DUH! Of course! I’d love to!” After confirming that I’d be able to make the cake, I got thrown a curveball.
Me: “What flavor would you like? I can pretty much make whatever you want.”
What I said: “No problem! Of course I can do that!”
What I was thinking: “Hmph. Time to get baking and find a delicious strawberry cake recipe.”
Strawberry was not one of the flavors I had experimented with much in the way of cakes. I have made plenty of pound cakes that were made into strawberry shortcakes but no strawberry flavored cakes. To the interwebs! I had a hunch that I was not going to want to use one of the recipes that called for a box of Jello in the mix. Call me a snob but I’m very anti-already processed ingredients in my baked goods: cake mix, canned pie filling, Jello etc. Jello is for jello shots. Period. Hmm…jello shots….
Back to my strawberry cake research. I found three different recipes: one that just used fresh strawberry puree as the flavoring and two that used both strawberry puree and strawberry Jello. I know, I know. I said no Jello. Almost every strawberry cake recipe that I saw featured strawberry Jello so I figured I might as well try them out and see if either of those two recipes fit the bill. Plus, they had strawberry puree too so there was some real strawberry flavor in there.
After much tasting and deliberating (see pictures above), we decided that the cake without Jello was the clear winner. Was I right or was I right? *Pats self on back* But. Yep, there’s a but. While the Jello-less cake had the best, purest strawberry flavor and best overall texture, its “strawberriness” was so subtle. The cake did not scream strawberry. Philip also made some unfavorable comparisons regarding the color of the cake. I won’t get into those here.
Then, Reid (brother-in-law) spoke up. ”What if you put strawberry jam in there?” At first, I mostly ignored the suggestion, trying to think up a better way to really pump up the strawberry flavor. However, after noodling on it for awhile (and browsing the internet for suggestions), I kept coming back to the jam. I had seen some recipes for a strawberry swirl coffee cake so I figured, why not give it a shot?
After R&D round 2, we had a perfect cake, my friends. So moist (gag!) and full of strawberry flavor with a beautiful strawberry swirl running through it. Brother-In-Law…FTW.
I ended up baking the recipe in a 10′ square pan (twice) and wound up with a gorgeous, tall, exceedingly heavy cake that was easy to cut for a crowd. Paired with this vanilla cream cheese frosting, it’s a great spring cake. Especially if you can get good Farmer’s Market strawberries and high quality jam. Make sure it’s high quality jam or preserves. Not jelly. It really amps up the strawberry flavor the cake so you want to make sure it’s good!
Fresh Strawberry Cake
Adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride
For the strawberry puree:
- 24 oz very ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
- Sugar – enough to sprinkle over strawberries, maybe 1 TBSP
For the cake:
- ¼ cup milk, at room temperature (I used whole milk. 2% should be fine. Don’t use skim)
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cup cake flour, sifted
- 1 ¾ cup sugar
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temp
- ½ to ¾ cup good quality strawberry preserves, cold
- Put sliced strawberries into large bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Cover. Let them sit at room temperature for a couple of hours, until nice and juicy.
- Place strawberries in a food processor or blender and puree. I used my Vitamix for this but any food processor or blender should be fine. There is enough juice in the strawberries that it should all blend smoothly.
- Reserve ¾ cup puree for the cake. The remaining puree is great on ice cream or for strawberry shortcake with some homemade whipped cream. Just tossing out ideas, here!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8- or 9-inch pans (or one 13×9 or one 10×10 pan): spray inside with baking spray, cut parchment paper to fit your pan and line the bottom. Flour the bottom and sides. (Note: the strawberry preserves tend to sink a little in the cake. If you do not use parchment paper, your preserves are liable to stick to the bottom of the pan. Even if you have sprayed and floured. Trust me. I learned from experience.)
- In small bowl, combine puree, milk eggs, vanilla and mix with fork until well blended.
- In bowl of stand mixer, add sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. Continue beating at slow speed and add butter. Mix until combined and resembling moist crumbs.
- Add wet ingredients and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute or until full and evenly combined. Stop mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl and hand beat for 30 more seconds.
- Divide the batter evenly among the pans and smooth tops.
- In a small bowl, stir up your preserves to smooth out any lumps. It’s fine if there is whole fruit in there. Drop small spoonfuls over top of cake and swirl with knife or toothpick. Make sure the jam is evenly distributed throughout the entire surface of the cake so that every bite has a little bit of strawberry flavor. (Note: this worked better for me when the preserves were cold as they sank to the bottom less than in the cakes where the preserves were room temperature when swirled.)
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (For a 13×9 or 10×10, the bake time is closer to 35 minutes). Let cakes rest in pan for about 10 minutes, slide knife around the edges to make sure nothing sticks and turn out onto wire racks. Let cakes cool completely (about 2 hours).
- Frost with vanilla cream cheese frosting or frosting of your choice! Lemon would also be good with this…or fudge…or whipped cream. The possibilities are endless!
Cake Frosting and decorating process:
And after a long week of cake and frosting
tasting testing, I needed a good savory celebration. It doesn’t get much better than a straight up egg and cheese sandwich.
What a joy to be able to do what I love, step in to help someone out and start to grow uDoughpia beyond this blog. Thanks again for visiting. My life is brighter with all the baking that I do to make sure that I have delicious treats to post here. Thanks for reading. Come back again soon!