Do you remember from an earlier post this month about all those strawberries I picked and purchased from the local berry farm? The berries that weren’t used in the strawberry ice cream were frozen for later use (we have three freezers because we put up/can/freeze most of our food). Now that the ice cream has been devoured, hubby wanted a home-made, from scratch, and not from a box strawberry cake. The semi-homemade queens use a white cake mix (gasp!) and add ingredients, but this recipe is a tried-and-true from-scratch cake.
I was raised in an Italian home without many cakes for desserts; it was usually fresh fruit and cheese as it is the Italian custom. The adults commonly enjoyed liquours after a meal as well, or a strong cup of coffee/espresso. And that was usually dessert, except on holidays when we’d have lots of fruit pies.
After living in the Southern region of the U.S., I have come to realize what a passion Southerners have for homemade cakes! And strawberry cake is right up there on the top of the list along with Red Velvet Cake, Italian Cream Cake, and Hummingbird Cake (Italian Cream Cake is a Southern creation). I can understand why Strawberry Cake is such a cherished favorite ~ ~ it’s just so delicious! It is so moist and sweet and lathered with cream cheese; just irresistable! You can even sprinkle some shredded pink or white coconut on top, but my hubby thinks that’s a bit too much. But Southerners love coconut, so it’s totally up to you.
When you slice into this luscious darlin’, it’s all pink inside with ribbons of icing and strawberries peaking out. Just pure blissful cake heaven! This grand cake also should be showcased on a lovely cake platter to give it that much more attention and it’s rightful place on center stage! When your family and guests take one look at this beauty, they’ll feel so special and grateful! And isn’t that what we want our loved ones to feel like!
You can keep this cake downplayed in simplicity by baking a sheet cake, but I think it is much more special when made into a layer cake with a strawberry cream filling, topped with a buttery cream cheese frosting, and garnished with strawberries on top. I think that you will agree!
Strawberry Layer Cake with Strawberry Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting
What you need to make the cake:
2 cups white sugar
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin (jello) 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 4 eggs (room temperature)
2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 cup whole milk 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 3/4 cup strawberry puree made from fresh or frozen strawberries (I make an additional 2 cups of puree to drizzle over the cake slices or to lay the slices on top of a pool of puree as shown in the photo below).
What you need to do to make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans or three 8 inch round cake pans. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Combine the flour and baking powder.
Stir into the batter alternately with the milk.
Blend in strawberry puree and vanilla.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Allow cakes to cool in their pans over a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Gently tap the cakes out of their pans to finish cooling completely.
For the Strawberry Filling:
1 to 2 cups of the cream cheese frosting (below)
1-1/2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced Spread the middle cake layers with thick layers of frosting and cover with sliced strawberries.
For the cream cheese frosting:
1 cup butter, softened
2 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
8 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1 teaspoon butter extract
(You may also make a strawberry cream cheese frosting by adding 10 ounces of pureed strawberries and a half teaspoon of strawberry extract at this point ~ ~ I prefer a contrast of flavors for this cake, but it is totally up to you).
Beat the butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and butter extract until creamy.
Spread over the tops of each cake inside layers
Evenly distribute the strawberry slices over the frosted layers.
Spread remaining frosting on top of cake and all around the sides.
There may be about one cup left over (for cupcakes maybe?).
Garnish to decorate:
Large, beautiful strawberries presented any way that you like.
Oh my, oh my . . . now I know why Strawberry Cake is so popular in this region!