Today we had a baby shower at work for one of our co-workers who is about to become a father for the second time. The papa-to-be said he likes strawberry cake, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to make a strawberry cake for the first time. As you can see, strawberry cake is quite pink. However, the new baby is going to be a boy so I decorated the cake with blue accents to match all the other lovely decor that the shower masterminds had put together. Even though the blue and pink look a little strange together on a cake, the various colors did not affect the taste. Most strawberry cakes are flavored with Jello, but this one gets all of its flavor from real strawberries. It was pretty good and you could definitely taste the strawberry flavor. The frosting recipe makes a little more than you really need, but I'm not complaining. And once again, a big congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. M!
STRAWBERRY CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
From Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Sky High
INGREDIENTS - CAKE
4 1/2 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
5 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pureed frozen strawberries*
8 egg whites
2/3 cup milk
1 to 2 drops red food dye, if using (to make the pink color pop more)
INGREDIENTS - FROSTING
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
8 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Dash of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Butter three 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pans. Line with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend the ingredients. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes; the batter will resemble strawberry ice cream at this point.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk and red food dye, if using, to blend. Add the whites to the batter in two or three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorporate after each addition. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.
4. Bake the cakes for 30 to 34 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper liners. Let stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least an hour.
5. For the frosting, in a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla and salt, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.
6. To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cake board or platter. Tucking scraps of waxed paper under the edges of the cake will protect the board or plate from any mess created while frosting the cake. Spread about 1 cup frosting over the layer, spreading it to the edge. Repeat with the second layer. Add the top layer and frost the top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, reserving a small amount if you wish to tint it and pipe a decoration on the cake. If not, you can decorate the cake top with thinly-sliced strawberries. Remove the waxed strips to reveal and neat, clean cake board.
* Sky High notes that it may seem surprising that frozen strawberries are used here, but they’re always available and their quality is consistent. Also, you need to use 1 1/2 cups of the puree, NOT 1 1/2 cups strawberries. I used an entire 16 ounce bag of thawed frozen strawberries and had just over 1 1/2 cups of puree.