Strawberry Cake

Of all the cakes, strawberry cake has been the most challenging to develop a recipe for.  I have created several recipes for strawberry cake, and ultimately none of them have been good enough, until now. This cake was inspired by a recipe in a book that came with my Kitchen Aid mixer. The original recipe is for orange cake, but it modified well for a strawberry cake.


There are a couple of things to consider. This batter is a lovely pink color before it goes into the oven, but then it emerges from the oven with much less pink. If the color is important to you, you can add food coloring to keep the pink hue. It will have a stronger strawberry flavor if you use concentrated strawberry juice instead of just drained juice. You can make your own by reducing the strawberry juice, or you can purchase strawberry juice concentrate online. The cake does still have a lovely taste if you just use strawberry juice drained from the berries, but it won’t have an incredibly strong strawberry flavor. You could also add a tablespoon of freeze dried strawberry powder to give it an extra strawberry kick. If you use the powder, you will also get a stronger color for the cake. If you have time and access to great local strawberries, make your own fruit powder. As I write this, we’re midway into strawberry season!! I usually freeze a lot of berries, but am ready to pull out my dehydrator this year to make some awesome fruit powder. Check out this the Cupcake Project to learn how to make your own.

Watch the Video

Strawberry Cake

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: 10-12Total:

A delicious cake filled with strawberries! Who doesn't love strawberry everything? This is perfect for strawberry season or any season.

You'll Need...

  • 2 1/2 cups cupcake flour blend*
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened but still firm
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup strawberry juice (or 1/4 cup concentrated juice and 1/2 cup water)
  • 1/4 cup strawberry puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry powder, optional but helpful

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 (325 convection)
  2. Sift the dry ingredients together. Add the strawberry powder to the dry ingredients if using.
  3. Cream the butter for 30 seconds and then add the sugar slowly. Beat until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Combine the strawberry juice, puree and vanilla.
  6. With the mixer on low, add some dry ingredients followed by some of the juice mixture. Continue alternating, ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  7. Divide batter evenly between two 8 inch pans. Bake until firm in the center, about 25-30 minutes.
  8. Cool in pans.

Additional Notes

Use the cupcake flour blend in the "other recipes" section of my site. You may also use cake flour or a blend of cake flour and all purpose flour with similar results.

 

Strawberry Filling

I love to make strawberry filling for cakes. Somehow a cake filled with strawberries just says “summer” as you bite into it! The good news is that it is easy to make, works well with fresh berries or frozen berries, and can even be used as a pancake topping. 

I use cherry juice to make up the additional liquid because I find that the strawberries don’t give enough juice, but if you can find strawberry juice that’s even better. Of course you can find it on Amazon, but I haven’t found it locally yet.

The clear gel is a nice option to use instead of corn starch. It is supposed to be able to withstand freezing and thawing, but I’ve never tested that out yet!!

You control the thickness based on how much clear gel you add. If you want a thicker filling, add more clear gel. If you find that it isn’t thick enough at the end, don’t just dump more in, instead gently mix it with equal parts of water or juice and add to the mixture. Continue cooking until it thickens more.

Watch the Video

Strawberry Filling

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: 2 cups of fillingTotal:

This filling is really quick to make and it is perfect as a cake filling!! You can even make it thinner and use it for a pancake topping.

You'll Need...

  • 1 pound of strawberries, pureed
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped berries (optional)
  • 1/2 cup water or cherry juice
  • 3-4 tablespoons cook type clear gel
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions

  1. Puree your berries. You can use fresh or frozen berries for this filling.
  2. Combine the sugar and clear gel in a sauce pan. Stir well.
  3. Add the berry puree and water and then cook the mixture over medium heat until thick.

Additional Notes

You may also add concentrated strawberry juice instead of cherry juice or water for a stronger flavor.

Adventures in Pie

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a pie baker. I’ve had people ask, “Do you think you could make me a pie?” more times than I can count. My standard reply is always a laugh, followed by, “You wouldn’t want ME to make you pie.”

But, the last few times I’ve been asked, “I could try” has just slipped out of my mouth. Hmm …. maybe that means I’m ready to venture into the world of pie.

Last week a couple I had planned to bake a wedding cake for in September got in touch to say that they really want PIE for their wedding. Could I let them know what the cost would be? Do I even do pie? I told them that if they gave me the weekend I would practice and let them know. Of course my family would be thrilled. After all, they only get pie when my mom makes any variety of berry or apple pie (lucky for them she actually makes pie a lot) and on Thanksgiving when Scott’s dad makes pumpkin pie. We have made a cheesecake 3 or 4 times and I think we’ve made a pie once or twice in our almost 19 year marriage!

Crust

Really the problem for me always comes down to patience. I start to work the fat into the flour and I’m usually done with patience practically before I start. However, I’m getting much more patient with all the custom cake and cookie work, so I found this was actually FUN. I chose a crust recipe that is a blend between a short flake and a medium flake. The recipe used a blend of shortening and butter, and called for buttermilk powder and apple cider vinegar. I quadrupled the recipe to make 2 pies with double crusts, and found I had the pastry made and chilling in a short time. Read all about how to make great tender, flaky crust from an expert.

Filling

The pie of choice for the wedding is apple, so this is what I chose for my great pie experiment. Apple pies call for A LOT of fruit (well I guess ALL pies do). I bought 6 pounds of apples and my kind husband peeled and cut all 6 pounds for me. Luckily we have an apple corer and slicer!! I mixed the apples, sugar, spices, corn starch, and cider all together and piled them high into each of my pies. Once the pie was literally FILLED to the brim (and then some) with filling, I covered it with the top crust, brushed with milk and sprinkled with sanding sugar, added vent holes and put it in the oven to bake.

Verdict

3 hours after the pie finished baking, my family sat down to enjoy a slice of pie. To our delight, the curst was flaky and tender and the filling was fabulous! The 4 of us have been watching the Great British Baking show lately, and I confess that this show is another reason I my pie skills felt strong. A visual learner, I think I’ve picked up some great tips watching the contestants make all things pastry!

Thoughts from the testers

My husband, 16 year old daughter Elizabeth and 13 year old son Xander agreed that the pie was delicious. The crust was flaky and the amount of filling was perfect! The big place for improvement lies in its beauty. I need another practice pie for this! I love this idea of cutting out the top crust from shapes, especially for a wedding!

The thickness was just perfect. Once the pie had cooled the filling didn’t run at all. The bottom of the crust was perfect – not soggy at all!


For the recipe. There are so many pie recipes out there now that I’m sure you already have your favorite. But, if you don’t, this recipe from King Arthur Flour is very similar to the one I used from their book. I used the recipe for the filling (with just a few changes) and a different crust recipe. If you don’t have a great pastry book, I highly recommend this one. It has great recipes for pies, cakes, cookies and all kinds of pastries.

Share your tips!

Do you have great pie tips? I’d love to hear your experiences with pie, whether you are brand new to pie making like I am or a seasoned pie veteran! And the next plan? I’d like to give the hand pie a try. I have fond memories of eating Hostess fruit pies when I was growing up (thankfully not often, but from time to time). Maybe I can make a great one filled with real fruit and a fantastic flaky crust. Stay tuned!!