1 - 21.2 oz bagNatierra Freeze Dried Strawberriesor any other brand freeze dried strawberries you can find (NOT dehydrated); you can use 1 or two bag depending on how strong you want the flavor of teh cake. If you are using strawberry simple syrup AND strawberry frosting, you can use one bag and save a few dollars.
Strawberry Simple Syrup
.5cupfresh strawberry pureestrained to remove seeds
Real Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
8oz.unsalted butter, room temperature2 sticks
16ozcream cheese, room temperature
3lbsconfectioners'/powdered sugarmore or less to consistency and taste
2/3cupfresh strawberry pureeI prefer unstrained and with some small chunks remaining
Servings: 8x3 rounds
Real Strawberry Cake
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease sides and bottom of 2 – 8” round pans. You can line with parchment on bottom and sides if you wish for easy removal. Soak cake strips for the pans now if you use them.
Pulverize the freezedried strawberries in a spice/coffee grinder until they are powdered. You'll do this in 2 batches per bag and place in a ziploc bag between batches to prevent clumping.
Place a sifter over your mixing bowl and place half of your flour in the sifter (don't sift yet!). Add the freeze dried strawberry powder on top of the flour, then cover with the remaining flour. Sift all together. Then add the remaining dry ingredients (baking powder, salt, sugar) and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes to incorporate.
In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla bean paste, egg whites, milk, vinegar, and vegetable oil) and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Turn mixer to low and add chunks of butter slowly to the dry mix. Continue to beat on slow until there are no chunks of butter remaining and the mixture becomes crumbly.
On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter ingredients and then turn to medium. Mix until a light paste forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add half of the remaining wet ingredients and beat on medium high speed for 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the remaining wet ingredients and beat on medium speed for 4 minutes. ***Note: if you want to add a few drops of pink food color this is the time to do it. I used 3 drops of Americolor Gel Food Color Electric Pink***
Divide evenly between the two prepared cake pans.
Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean and sides have begun to pull away from the side of the pan. (This will depend on the size of your pan, how full you make it, and on proper oven temp.)
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Place on a rack to finish cooling.
Real Strawberry Simple Syrup
Bring to boil the water and sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Add 1/2 cup of simple syrup mixture to the 1/2 cup strawberry puree and mix.
Refrigerate until cold.
Real Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachement, beat together butter and cream cheese still smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
Add half of the confectioners' sugar to the bowl and pulse the mixer until the sugar is somewhat incorporated (to prevent clouds of sugar flying out of the bowl). Mix on medium until smooth.
Add half of the strawberry puree and beat on medium until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the remaining sugar and repeat the pulsing and mixing steps.
Add the remaining puree and mix. Watch for desired consistency here. Add more sugar if you need to stiffen the frosting. Keep in mind this will be a softer frosting at room temperature because of the cream cheese. It's best to err on the side of a bit stiffer when mixing. Adjust puree and sugar to taste.
Assembling the Cake
After you have torted your layers, spoon a generous amount of strawberry simple syrup on each layer and spread evenly. Do this with all of your torted cake layers first. The strawberry simple syrup is thick and will need time to soak in.
Keep your cake layers refrigerated while soaking if possible. It will help with layering and filling the cake.
Spreading you filling evenly and equally between each cake layer. After placing one cake layer atop a frosting layer, refrigerate the cake and allow the frosting to set to firm. (This is why refrigerating the layers is helpful). I use my freezer for most of the process as it speeds things up nicely.
The final top layer should be turned upside down. The very top should the "bottom" part of your cake layer, the part that baked against the bottom of the pan. The soaked side of the layer should be facing down.
Ice the outside of the cake as you wish.
I used 3 drops of Americolor Electric Pink to my mix. No matter what you do with natural strawberries, they have a very warm hue to them when they emerge fully baked. So they look more brownish. A touch of gel colors will help pink it up a bit 🙂
This recipe is based on my Perfect Vanilla Cake recipe, it is only altered slightly. It's consistency is perfect for tiered cakes (wedding style) and can hold up perfectly under fondant. It is also a great cake to sculpt as it crumbles little-to-not-at-all when cut.
I also use Goop for my pan release. It's a homemade pan release, is shelf stable for up to 12 months, and will make your cakes want to jump out of the pan. Get the recipe HERE.
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