This tender, moist Strawberry Birthday Cake is perfectly pink on the inside (thanks to a ton of strawberries in the batter) and lathered in the fluffiest purple vanilla frosting. And of course it’s topped with a plethora of sprinkles!
I can’t believe my baby turned 4 this week. Four is so much older than 3. Yes, I know it’s a year older, but I mean 4 feels so much older than 3. Three is a baby. Four is well on your way to being a big kid. And I’m fully acknowledging how nuts this sounds, but I wish my kids would shrink. I mean like let’s rewind time a few years. Since I can’t stop time, I decided, heck, we might as well celebrate the little one’s 4th birthday with this Strawberry Birthday Cake. If you can’t fight it, you might as well enjoy it 🙂
In this post for Raspberry Pie, I talk about my kids obsession with pink desserts. Yup – they love ’em. So, when it was time for Little’s birthday cake, of course she asked for a strawberry cake. But this time, she wanted the cake part to be full of strawberries, not the filling. Just the cake. Plus, she wanted it so strawberry-filled that it would turn pink. Thus, the Strawberry Birthday Cake was born.
That left me with a little problem because adding a ton of fresh strawberries to cake batter can really mess it up. They’re too watery, and it takes so many strawberries to get a strawberry flavor. A lot of bakers use Jello in its powdered form to get a strawberry cake. I wasn’t so keen on that idea for two reasons – 1. It would add a ton of sugar making the cake too sweet. 2. Here’s the real kicker, I’m not really into fake strawberry flavor. It just tastes too artificial to me. That being said, I was on the hunt for a concentrated, natural strawberry flavor.
Then it hit me. I’ll use dehydrated strawberries in her Strawberry Birthday Cake. It solves all the issues – It’s dry. It’s a concentrated flavor, and it’s natural. No fake strawberry flavor here! And an added bonus, it turns the cake the prettiest shade of pink. Plus, you can easily find it in the dried fruit section of your local Trader Joe’s
In our family, our birthday celebrations always have three main components: 1 – A homemade meal requested by the birthday girl/boy. 2 – A homemade cake made by the person celebrating his/her birthday. 3 – A few birthday gifts 🙂
Now that Little was turning 4, she did about 85% of of the tasks to bake the cake. (The frosting and decorating was 100% me. They always want the cake to look a certain way, so they still absolve themselves from the decorating process.) She lined the pans with parchment, measured all the ingredients, cracked the eggs, crumbled the dehydrated strawberries, controlled the mixer and scraped down the mixer bowl. I filled the pans and transferred them to the oven.
Purple is Little’s favorite color, so the frosting color was a no-brainer. I used electric purple and royal purple AmeriColor food gel to color the frosting, and we doused the cake with lavender jimmies and shimmery jimmies. Little loved how it turned out, and Little and Big have been snacking on the cake all week!
How do you celebrate birthdays in your family?
- For the Strawberry Cake:
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1/2 cup dehydrated strawberries, crushed to a powder
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tbs baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 8 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into tablespoon chunks
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- For the Vanilla Frosting:
- 2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cream or whole milk
- AmeriColor gel food color in Royal Purple and Electric Purple
- Grease and line the bottoms of 3, 6-inch circle cake pans with parchment paper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, dehydrated strawberries, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- With a paddle attachment, mix the dry ingredients on the lowest speed to combine.
- Add the chunks of butter, one at a time. Mix each chunk into the dry ingredients before adding another chunk of butter.
- Once all the butter is added, mix in 1 cup of the buttermilk.
- Mix the remaining 1/4 cup of buttermilk with the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Mix until combined.
- Add the egg mixture to the bowl of the mixer, and mix until just combined.
- Evenly divide the batter into the 3 prepared pans.
- Bake for about 30 to 35 min or until the center of each cake springs back when lightly pushed with a finger.
- Allow the cakes to cool in the pans on a cooling rack for about 15 min.
- Turn the cakes out of the pans, and allow them to cool completely on a cooling rack.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and salt. Mix until combined.
- Add the cream and food color. Mix until light and fluffy.
- Using a serrated knife, level the tops of each cake.
- Stack the cakes placing a scant 1/4 cup of frosting between each layer.
- Chill the cake for about 20 min.
- Place a thin layer of frosting all over the tip and sides of the cake. This will lock in the crumbs.
- Chill the cake for another 20 min.
- Place the final layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake.
- Using a pastry bag fitted with a large circular opening, pipe decorations on the edge of the cake and along the bottom.
- Sprinkle jimmies on the top of the cake and along the bottom.
This post is linked to these awesome parties.
I just love that you didn’t use Jello! I totally agree about the artificial taste and unnecessary extra sugar! I think this may need to be MY birthday cake this year!
That purple and red combo really makes the cake pop!
this looks so pretty! my daughter who loves all things purple and pink would love this cake!! Pinned!
Elaine Matthews says
What a delicious cake! I love the color contrast too! Great job!
andrea warren says
The colors are spectacular! My daughter would flip for a birthday cake like this; her birthday is a few weeks away I need to attempt this beauty.
The Southern Thing says
What a fun cake! This would make the perfect Easter dessert!
This cake looks amazing! Especially the color of the cake.
Beautiful cake! Can’t wait to give it a try.
This is gorgeous! The color is amazing!
Jennifer L. } Modern Chic says
OOh wow! My friend loves baking so I’m definitely passing this great recipe. Incidentally, her favorite colors are purple and pink.
Denay DeGuzman says
What a fantastic idea to use dehydrated strawberries to keep things real instead of artificial flavoring. I love your birthday tradition of having the birthday person make their own cake to share. That’s super sweet. This lovely purple birthday cake was pinned to my Eat Cake Pinterest board yesterday so that I’ll have it to refer to this spring when there are a lot of birthdays in our family! Thank you for sharing this delicious Strawberry Birthday Cake recipe along with glorious photos. 🙂
I absolutely adore this cake! Well done!
Hi there, my cakes are currently in the oven, but they don’t look pink! I used 1/2 cup dehydrated strawberries and crushed them to a powder. Should it have been 1/2 cup powder?
Aida Arain says
You are the second person to ask me about the color of the cake! I used 1/2 cup of dehydrated strawberries and crushed them into a powder (just like you), and my cake was that shade of pink. I’m not quite sure why my turned pink. Maybe next time add a few drops of food color? I’ll have to try the cake again myself and see if it is pink!