Thursday, May 19, 2011

Strawberry Dream Cake, From Scratch!

This is the third recipe that I made, last Saturday.  If you've read my last two posts on Carolina Red Slaw and Boston Baked Beans, I've talked about how  great the June/July issue of Cook's Country Magazine is.  For some reason, I've been on a cake baking kick.  I had a dozen egg whites, left over from my ice cream making phase.  Not being one to waste food, I was pondering making a Pavlova or a white cake. Then, I spotted the Strawberry Dream Cake recipe! Perfect!

These are organically grown strawberries, from the Salinas Valley.  These were freshly picked, that day.  How I wish that more people could experience the sweetness of these beautiful berries. I'm fortunate to live 2 miles from the local farm that grows these. I pay $2.50 a pint!

I've seen several versions of this cake on different websites. Many of them used boxed cake and jello, to create the pink cake and artificial strawberry flavor.  Cook's Country created a version of this cake, using real strawberries and scratch cake batter.  That got my attention. To make the cake, we begin with frozen strawberries. Why? Apparently, the recipe author wanted this cake to be made any time of year.  Strawberries are sacred in our kitchen.  If I can't finish eating strawberries in their fresh state, I hull and freeze them. 

Place the  strawberries to a bowl, cover, and microwave until strawberries are soft and have released their juice, about 5 minutes.Place in fine-mesh strainer set over small saucepan. Firmly press fruit dry (juice should measure at least ¾ cup); reserve strawberry solids.

Bring juice to boil over medium-high heat and cook...  (By the way, I just purchased this All-Clad Saucier pan, and I am so pleased with it!) 

...stirring occasionally, until syrupy and reduced to ¼ cup, 6 to 8 minutes. Whisk milk into juice until combined. Whisk strawberry milk, egg whites, and vanilla in bowl. Set aside.

Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed until combined. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and mix until only pea-size pieces remain, about 1 minute.

Add half of milk mixture, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
Reduce speed to medium-low, add remaining milk mixture, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Give batter final stir by hand.
 Scrape equal amounts of batter into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, discarding parchment, and cool completely, about 2 hours.

For the frosting:
Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix butter and sugar on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.
Increase speed to medium-high and beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute.Add reserved strawberry solids and salt and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 2 days.

FROSTING TASTING NOTES:  Bomb!  I'm not the biggest fan of cream cheese frosting.  This recipe has changed my mind. The ratio of butter to cream cheese is perfect.  The strawberry flavor really shines through. It's a pretty color, and the consistency would pipe really well.  This is my new favorite frosting!

Let's get our last step finished, before frosting the cake:

Wash and pat dry some fresh strawberries. Slice them nice and thin...

When cakes are cooled, spread ¾ cup frosting over 1 cake round. Press 1 cup strawberries in even layer over frosting and cover with additional ¾ cup frosting. 


 Top with second cake round and spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake.

Garnish with remaining strawberries, if desired. I chose not to, for fear that the strawberries would turn to mush.  Let's cut into the cake!

NOTE TO SELF:  I should have chilled the cake a bit, as the frosting was very soft. Time to taste!

TASTING NOTES:  I was a bit disappointed that the cake wasn't as pink as I thought it would be.  If you're not afraid of some Red Dye-40, and you want a true pink, you might add a drop or two of red food coloring.The cake was a bit denser than I prefer; I also felt that it wasn't as moist as I had hoped. I'm a true fan of very tender white cake.  The frosting was the star of this cake.  I served a slice of this to our guests, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. They loved it!  Sure, there are several steps involved.  The end result is worth it, and it's a very pretty cake!

For me, the real joy I have is in the challenge of making a new recipe.  I'm amazed at the restraint I've had-- I only ate a 1/2 slice of this cake.  The remaining cake was carted off to my husband's office, where it was eaten and appreciated by his co-workers. The next cake I plan to make is my favorite white cake with Swiss Buttercream and a lemon curd filling.  This is where I could find myself in a lot of trouble-- it's my favorite cake of all time!  That will happen in a couple of weeks, as I've promised this to a group of friends that I swim with at my sports club. You can bet I'll share the recipe with all of you.

A printable recipe is at the bottom of this post.





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35 comments:

Mary said...

A very lovely strawberry cake

Valerie said...

What a gorgeous cake! It's bursting with the freshness of spring. :)

Joanne said...

I'm always disheartened when I see that most strawberry cakes call for cake mix and jello but I love that this one uses real strawberries! Perfect use of those egg whites if you ask me!

Monica H said...

As you know I always like to bake my cakes from scratch but strawberry cake made with white cake mix and Jello is an exception because it's GOOD!

This frosting looks delish, I'll have to remember it next time I make my cheater strawberry cake :-)

All Things Yummy said...

I saving that frosting recipe for my favorite yellow cake. I'm so glad you wrote that the cake was denser than you prefer. If my cake isn't soft and moist, I'd be disappointed.

MegSmith @ Cooking.In.College said...

ah....mouth watering. yummy!

Kate said...

Yummy!!! I love strawberry season and your cake looks heavenly!

Kate said...

Yummy!!! I love strawberry season and your cake looks heavenly!

Proud Italian Cook said...

This looks sooooooo good Deb! I wnat a piece now!

Tessa said...

I love that this uses pureed strawberries. I have been looking for a strawberry cake like this!

Velva said...

can I please, please, please be your neighbor? This looks utterly amazing.

Velva

Kim said...

I want to make this cake is the worse way, but no one else in the house will eat it except for me and that is BAD NEWS for my thighs. It looks heavenly, Debby!

Mother Rimmy said...

How lucky you are to have fresh strawberries already. We are just barely getting started on the growing season here in Seattle. The weather has been not so great for gardening.

Lovely cake. I can just taste those delicious strawberries.

Kristi

High Heels & Good Meals! said...

Oh my goodness this cake looks beautiful! Love your blog...following!

Noelle Ritter said...

I always appreciate your tasting notes and honesty. I do love that BIG pink color in some strawberry cakes too. The frosting on the other hand looks fantastic.

Can't wait for the lemon one you mentioned.

MaryBeth said...

Simply delish cake...

sheila @ Elements said...

Oh Yum!!!! Your cake looks so beautiful and scrumptious!! Your husband's co-workers are VERY lucky!!! :)

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I don't know how I missed this, but it's gorgeous. I too, have leftover egg whites frequently and hate to throw them out. They usually sit around until they're too old to use. Thanks for the idea.

Bubble My Licorice said...

this cake seems so easy. I'm gonna try this right now.thank you so much

Magarietha said...

Hi there, love the look of this cake - saw it on another very talented lady's blog. Based on your comments about density perhaps, do you think it would flop if I old fashionedly creamed the butter and sugar together and also perhaps whipped the egg whites separately and folded them in at the end, not too carefully as in chiffon (I gather that's not what this cake should be), and then just to add the wet stuff same order as other butter cakes? Have armsfull of strawberries, intend baking this tomorrow. Thanx for beautiful illustrations.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Dear Magarietha... I say, go for it! Try your technique! I think that I get the most tender cakes when I use cake flour. Sour cream or oil seems to help with moisture. This cake was very good, don't get me wrong. But, I think I'd have to watch closely to not over bake this one. I suspect, that perhaps I might have. Let me know if it works for you!

Kim said...

Thank you for your honest review of the recipe. I made this cake for Valentines but when we ate it.... well... it was all the things you said. The actual cake was not all I hoped it would be and I thought that perhaps it was an error on my part. Tasted good, just something was lacking for it to be a recipe I would keep.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Kim, thanks for the feedback. I'm sorry that the cake disappointed you. I try to be honest with my reviews. However, the frosting was really good!

Anonymous said...

What are the measurments of the ingredients?
Thanks :-)

Debby Foodiewife said...

Dear Anonymous,
Scroll to the end of the post. There should be a printable recipe card. Email me at foodiewife@gmail.com if you are still having trouble seeing it.

Anonymous said...

I made this cake and the frosting turned out too runny and the cake itself was a bit too bland and not enough strawberry flavor for me. But searching the web, this recipe seems to be the best and most natural (but also the most labor intensive lol). Any suggestions of how my make my frosting more suitable for piping? I tried adding more sugar but then I felt the strawberry/cream cheese taste started to get a bit lost. Sigh. It looks so amazing in your pictures but mine was just very ordinary looking

Debby Foodiewife said...

Dear Anonymous:
Are you the same Anonymous who left a comment on my applesauce muffins? Just curious.
I was very honest about the cake myself. In retrospect, I think some strawberry flavor (maybe from Loranns) might help bring out the strawberry flavor. I said in my tasting notes that the cake was the star, in my honest opinion. As for the frosting-- I don't pipe cream cheese based frostings, because I find they are too soft. In fact, I mention how soft the frosting was and you can see it!
For piping, I stick to buttercreams, Swiss buttercream or stabilized whipped creams. This summer, I hope to re-make this recipe with my idea of changes. No guarantees, but I always give my honest opinion to my readers.

Delisa Kirby said...

I'm making this as I type for my daughters birthday today. I'm having trouble getting at least 3/4 cup of juice. I've got almost a 1/2 cup and have squished the strawberries until they look like blobs. What should I do?

Debby Foodiewife said...

Hmmm. I would take a guess that the strawberries weren't very juicy? All I can say is that you need more berries! Good luck.

Greg Esres said...

This cake has a good flavor and is very tender. I added a bit of red food color to make it look strawberry-ish.

Problem: The cake fell pretty badly in the center. I notice on the Cook's Country video, theirs had a sunken center, too. My view is that this recipe has insufficient structure. Although this recipe is very similar to Rose Levy Beranbaum's "White Velvet Butter Cake", she has 3 cups of flour vs 2 1/4 in this one, with one fewer egg white. If I were to make it again, I'd increase the flour or decrease the baking powder.

Greg Esres said...

"squished the strawberries until they look like blobs."

Delisa:

You didn't microwave the strawberries sufficiently. They shouldn't be "blobs", they should end up with the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Anonymous said...

Great looking strawberries! $2.50 a pint is expensive. I pay $2.50/lb.

Debby Foodiewife said...

I live in strawberry country, and haven't seen berries for that cheap of a price. Of course, the berries I buy are organically grown-- no pesticides, and that is worth the cost. Plus, they are ruby red throughout and so naturally sweet that I don't need to add sugar.

Renata said...

Thanks for your honest review. I have printed the recipe, but I won't use it unless I can't find anything else.

john jay said...


oh I like that it looks so tasty this so lovely cake i ever see here on internet.
i love eating that's why im too fat now :)
but most of the time what i eat are any kind of chocolates
like milk chocolate ,French macarons, and macarons london and so on.
well anyway that cake recipe above is interesting i wanna try that.