Strawberry season has arrived! In our family, fruit eaters fall into two camps – those who like cold fruit, and those who don’t. I am firmly in the ‘don’t’ camp. As the weather gets warmer, we have to keep most fruit in the fridge otherwise it spoils, but I just can’t eat it. Cold stone fruit is the worst, I have to remember to take it out of the fridge a couple of hours beforehand, but cold strawberries are a very close second. Strawberries should be eaten when they’re warmed from the sun so they’re nice and sweet. Clearly I should be growing my own.
Strawberries do work in a cake though, and this one’s a beauty. The cake layers are supercharged with fresh strawberry puree, and the frosting is mega fruity thanks to freeze dried strawberries. And as my husband said, ‘it’s got strawberries in it? So it’s healthy?’ Sure, whatever helps you sleep at night.
For the cake
2 teaspoons baking powder
170g butter, at room temperature
5 egg whites (I used size 7 eggs)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a food processor, blitz the strawberries to a puree, you’ll end up with about one cup.
Transfer the puree to a small saucepan and place it over a low-medium heat. Simmer the puree for around 20 minutes, until it has reduced to around ½c. Scoop it into a shallow dish (this will help it to cool quicker) and leave it while you prepare the cake batter. (It needs to be cool when you use it so pop it in the fridge if you have to.)
Preheat your oven to 180°C and grease and line 2 x 9″ cake tins.
Sift the flour, cornflour and baking powder together and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until they’re light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
Add the egg whites and beat on high for another 2 minutes.
Beat in the yoghurt and vanilla, scraping down the sides again.
With the mixer on low, spoon in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, then slowly add the milk until combined.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the strawberry puree.
Pour the batter into the cake tins and bake for around 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the tins for 5 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack and cooling completely.
For the frosting
1c freeze dried strawberries (I used Fresh As)
170g cream cheese, softened
90g butter, softened
350g icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blitz the strawberries in a food processor until they’re a fine powder, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together, until it’s smooth and creamy and there are no lumps.
Add the icing sugar, strawberry powder, 1 tablespoon of milk, and the vanilla, then beat on high until well combined. Add the rest of the milk if the buttercream is too stiff.
To assemble the cake, make sure your two layers are nice and flat. You may need to level them. Place one layer on the serving platter and dollop a good cup of buttercream on top. Smooth out to the edges, then place the remaining cake layer on top. I like to refrigerate the cake for about 15 minutes at this stage. This stops the top layer sliding when you frost the outside.
Remove from the fridge and frost the rest of the cake with the remaining frosting.
Store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Remove from the fridge 2 hours before serving.
- Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
- One last thing, I have seen plenty of pictures of strawberry cakes with beautiful pink cake layers, but the recipes don’t call for red (or pink) food colouring. I call bullshit. If you really want those gorgeous pink layers, you’re going to need to add food colouring.
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