In two days this tiny space will turn three years old! 3 years!!! Three years worth of butter, flour, successes and failures. So many pictures, so much measuring, and a whole lot of fun. It's been a wonderful three years and I sincerely hope that this is just the beginning.
In celebration of the occasion I decided to bake a cake. Cakes are celebratory in nature, perhaps more than any other dessert. They act as an edible flare, signaling to all that something special has, or is, about to happen.
When I was a very tiny lady my favorite cake was strawberry cake. I'm reasonably sure that the majority of the appeal had to do with the fact that it was pink, but I can remember the very sweet artificial strawberry flavor that filled my 6-year-old heart with happiness.
As I was contemplating what I would make for this special blogiversary, the sweet memories of pink cake filled my head and I knew what needed to be done.
This is a sophisticated strawberry cake, one that tastes rich and decadent, yet full of the fresh berry flavor I love. We are not using jello or artificial flavoring, just fresh strawberries - 2 pounds to be precise.
In order to capture the bright berry flavor I longed for, I poked a generous number of tiny holes in each of the cakes and poured a fresh strawberry syrup over each layer. This gives the cake extra strawberry flavor and keeps it incredibly moist.
The texture is close to that of pound cake and it’s topped with one of the best frostings known to man - 7 minute frosting. It's pretty darn good and an excellent adult version of my childhood favorite.
When making 7-minute frosting, it’s essential to have a kitchen buddy who is willing to tag-team the beating with you. Seven minutes is a very long time when it comes to beating marshmallow over a steamy stovetop. Just promise your helper the rights to lick the spoon, and he will be more than happy to oblige.
Cakes are so pretty.
Though this particular strawberry cake is not the pink hue that my 6-year-old self adored, it could easily be transformed into a pink paradise with a bit of food coloring. I tend to prefer the natural look myself.
Oh yes! Don't try to be too fussy with the frosting. Personally, I love the look of each layer peeking through a thin layer of frosting, and it takes away the stress of getting a perfectly smooth outer layer.
Now it's time for you to step away, take off your apron, and celebrate, because there is always something to celebrate.
Currently, I am basking in thankfulness. Thank you for visiting my little corner of the great big internet, and for encouraging me with your sweet comments. Your visits mean more to me than I can say and I absolutely love conjuring up new recipes to share with you each week.
Thank you all for a lovely three years!
Fresh Strawberry Cake
serves 12 / frosting recipe adapted from Paula Deen
for the cake
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups strawberries, quartered
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl sift to combine flour, baking powder and salt.
In the work bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy. Add granulated sugar and beat on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla extract.
Add small additions of flour mixture and milk, alternating between the two until all ingredients are well combined.
In the work bowl of your food processor pulse strawberries for 1-2 minutes, until a smooth puree has formed. With the mixer on low speed, add strawberry puree to the cake batter until well incorporated.
Spray two 8-inch cake pans with nonstick spray and dust lightly with flour. Divide cake batter between the two pans and place in the oven.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the cakes spring back when touched lightly. Be sure to rotate the pans halfway through the baking time. While the cakes are baking, prepare the strawberry syrup.
for the strawberry syrup
- 2 cups strawberries, quartered
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons water
In a small saucepan combine strawberries, sugar, and water. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes, until the strawberries are soft and a light syrup has come together. Use the back of a spoon to smash the berries as they cook. Transfer the syrup to a food processor and pulse several times, until the berries are smooth.
Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool until just slightly warm.
When the cakes have cooled, puncture them gently with the tines of a fork. Pour half of your strawberry syrup over each layer and transfer to the refrigerator. Refrigerate for about 45 minutes, until all the syrup has soaked into the cakes.
for the frosting
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 egg whites
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Fill a large saucepan 3/4 of the way with water and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Combine sugar, cream of tartar, salt, water, and eggs whites in a large bowl. Beat for 1 minute with an electric hand mixer and then place the bowl over the pot of boiling water, being careful to make sure that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. (This would make the frosting turn to sugar and become grainy.) As soon as you place the bowl over the boiling water, begin to beat the frosting vigorously with the electric mixer. Beat for 7 minutes, or until relatively stiff peaks have formed. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Use immediately.
- fresh strawberries
- cake stand
Place the first layer of cake on the base of your cake stand. Spread a thick layer of frosting in the center of the cake, being careful not to spread the frosting to the very edges of the cake (the second layer will do this for you). Stack the next layer of cake on top of the freshly frosted layer and top with remaining frosting and fresh berries. Use an angled spatula to spread a thin layer of any excess frosting around the cake. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve*. Enjoy!
*This cake is best when enjoyed immediately after it has been frosted as the frosting will slowly turn to sugar in the refrigerator, but don’t worry, it will still taste fantastic.