We entertain a lot in our home. A lot. So, almost every cake I make is for an occasion. It’s rare for me to make an entire cake just for the blog. If I had more self control, I’d definitely make tons of cakes just to photograph, post, and share. The problem with doing that is that I would eat the cake myself. Seriously – I could sit down with this vanilla strawberry cake and eat the entire thing. Myself. That’s why I never make a cake without taking it to someone’s home or to serve it to guests.
I also make sure to ask my family for suggestions. If I’m making an entire cake, I have to make sure that my picky family will actually eat some of the cake. But every time I ask my youngest daughter which type of cake she’d like, she always says, “Strawberry!” There’s nothing wrong with strawberries, but I really think that she means pink rather than strawberry. So I usually ignore the strawberry request. Throw something pink on the cake, and she’s as happy as can be.
But this time, I decided to actually make a strawberry cake (or at least strawberry butter cream). She LOVED it. It also helped that the cake is fluffy and buttery. Plus, the strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream was so full of strawberry flavor without being too sweet. And let’s face it, my girls can’t resists a pink cake.
When you read the directions for this cake you’ll notice that the method of adding butter to the batter is rather unique. I usually cream my butter and sugar first, but not with this cake. You mix a bit of the butter into the flour mixture, add the liquid, then mix the rest of the butter into the cake. It sounds so weird. I know. But it really works. The only thing is that it requires a mixer, and preferably a stand mixer.
My daughters already requested a version of this cake for Valentine’s Day. I may make them into cupcakes; giving me the option to gift the little cakes to neighbors and friends (and deterring me from consuming too much cake). The one minor change my 2-year old asked for was that the cake itself would actually be strawberry. Honestly, I think she means pink in this case, so I’ll add a few drops of pink food color and call it a day!
- For the cake: 3 1/2 cups cake flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tbs baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
- 1 cup milk, divided
- 4 large eggs
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 tsp vanilla
- For the strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream: 5 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups of butter, cubed, cool but not cold
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup pureed strawberries (I used frozen, so I let them thaw, then pureed)
- For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the bottom of two, 8-inch baking pans with parchment paper. Lightly grease the sides and bottom of the pans with butter or baking spray.
- White the butter is still cold, cube it. Then place it in a plate to come to room temperature.
- In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs, egg whites, vanilla, and *HALF* of the milk. Mix until just combined.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Fit the mixer with a whisk attachment. Add the butter and the *HALF* cup of remaining milk to the flour mixture. Beat this mixture on medium speed until smooth, about 4 minutes. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add 1/3 of the egg mixture. And mix for about 2 minutes on medium speed.
- Add another 1/3 of the egg mixture, and again beat on medium for about 2 min. By this time, you should notice that the batter is increasing in volume.
- Finally, add the last 1/3 of the egg mixture. And beat on medium for about 2 minutes.
- Divide the batter equally between the two pans.
- Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes .The cake will be done when you lightly press the center of the cake and springs back.
- Allow the cakes to cool in the pans on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes. Then running a knife around the edges, loosen the cakes. Turn them out onto cooling racks and allow them to cool completely.
- For the strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream: Place the egg whites and sugar in a clean, grease-free bowl of a stand mixer.
- Pace the bowl over a sauce pan with simmering water. Continually whisk until the egg mixture reaches 160 degrees F. The sugar will be completely dissolved and the mixture will be warm to the touch.
- Place the bowl in the mixer with the whisk attachment. Whisk until the outside of the bowl is neutral to the touch. This will take some time up to 10 to 15 minutes.
- Once the mixture is cool enough, add the butter one piece at a time. Add the next piece of butter once the previous piece is completely incorporated. Mix until it’s completely smooth. It may look curdled at some point. Don’t worry. Keep mixing until it comes together.
- Add the vanilla and the pureed strawberries. Mix until incorporated.
- To assemble the cake, using a serrated knife, cut each layer into two, giving you a total of four cake layers.
- Using the strawberry buttercream, fill each layer with about 1/4 cup of buttercream. Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Next, add a thin layer of frosting to the outside of the cake to lock the crumbs into the cake. (This is called a crumb coating.) Chill the cake in the fridge for another 20 to 25 minutes.
- Finally, add the final, top layer of frosting.
This post is linked to these parties.