Strawberry Layer Cake
This Strawberry Layer Cake is full of strawberry flavor! It uses a full cup of strawberry puree for the cake flavor and is covered in strawberry frosting! It is the perfect cake for a strawberry lover!
I am SO excited to share today’s post with you! First of all, today is a Surprise Virtual Baby Shower for my friend Ashley, from Spoonful of Flavor. I met Ashley a couple years ago, when I attended my second blog conference. We became quick friends and I’m always excited when I know we are both going to be in the same place and get to hang out. She hosted a retreat last October in Florida that was a blast, too.
There aren’t a ton of bloggers that I know that also work full-time (even though I’ve recently gone part-time) and she is one of them. She is smart, savvy and someone I’ve definitely gone to for advice many times. We’ve had several conversations over the last year about working like crazy, balancing it all and trying to get pregnant. I am SO thrilled for her to have her sweet baby girl arriving in August. I know she’ll make an awesome mom!
She recently shared a post on Facebook and her blog that showed how the nursery is coming along and all the colors and details she has planned. It was her color choice and “adventurer” theme that inspired her cake. The only bummer about a virtual shower is that I couldn’t give this cake to her in person. 🙂
Going off of her nursery theme, I decided to use the colors pink and teal. Just my luck the sprinkles I chose had some dark purple in them that almost looks like navy, which was her third color. Unfortunately the sprinkles that I thought seemed pretty teal ended up being more blue than I thought. I noticed when I was coloring the frosting, so the frosting is a bit bluer than I’d planned. Oh well!
Speaking of the sprinkles, have you seen the new line of sprinkles from Sweetapolita? I’ve always loved her sprinkle mixes and now you can buy them from her! These are the ones I used.
Then I added the elephant to finish off the adventurer theme. He’s complete with a sprinkle ear – my favorite part! 🙂 You’re going to want to use gum paste, or a mix of fondant and gum paste, to make the elephant. If you just use fondant, it will take FOREVER to fully harden – if ever. Gum paste is made to dry much quicker and firmer, so that’d be my suggestion.
So let’s talk a bit about the recipe. This strawberry cake was a doozie to get right. I played with so many versions of it, it was crazy. I played around with the moisture of the cake – sour cream, milk, buttermilk – and the leavening – baking soda vs baking powder. Ultimately I found the sour cream to give the moistest cake and a mix of baking soda and baking powder to be best. I wanted to stick with all baking powder because the soda altered the flavor and color of the cake, but it also helped it bake better (for lack of going into too much detail). I ended up with a mix of the two to get the best of both worlds. I LOVE the final result! It’s super moist, fluffy and FULL of strawberry flavor with a whole cup of strawberry puree! Just a note about the flavor and the strawberries – because the full flavor of the cake comes from the strawberries you want to be sure to have great tasting strawberries or you won’t get the flavor in the cake.
When making the batter, be sure to fully cream the butter and sugar. It adds air to the batter than is important when it bakes to get that nice, fluffy texture.
For the strawberry frosting, I also strawberry puree. However for the frosting, I strained the puree through a fine mess sieve first. This removes the pulp and seeds, so that you get the flavor and light pink color but you don’t have the pulp and seeds ruining that perfect smooth finish. I wanted to really go strong with the strawberry flavor, so I added a bit of strawberry extract to the frosting too. That’s totally optional. It’d be delicious without it too – I just LOVE LOVE me some strawberry.
I also added a bit more pink color to the cake and frosting. You certainly don’t have to. I wanted the full pink effect for the baby shower cake and wanted the color of the frosting to match the sprinkles a little more. If you choose not to add coloring, you’ll have a much lighter pink. The cake will also be a duller shade of pink.
Once the cake is baked and the frosting is ready, it’s time to build and frost the cake. To get that nice, smooth finish with buttercream, check out my tutorial here. Once thing I’ll note is that I added a bit more strawberry puree (moisture) to the frosting than I normally would to get the flavor in there. It made the frosting a bit thinner than I normally use. It’s still plenty thick to frost the cake, but when it comes to smoothing the cake with the paper towel in the tutorial I linked to, the frosting will be a bit sticky. I refrigerated the cake for about 5 minutes and then did the paper towel. You won’t want to refrigerate it too long first though, or the frosting will be too firm to smooth.
As for the super cute elephant on top, I’d actually recommend making him in advance so you have time to let him firm up and dry. I colored the gum paste with a mix of pink and burgundy icing color (the same as for the frosting). Feel free to cut out your own shape elephant, or download mine. Cut it out and use it to trace the elephant with an exacto knife to cut him out.
Next, stick some toothpicks or thin skewers into his legs so that he can stand up on the cake. I then used my exacto knife to mark the ear area and used a sugar solution to paint the area and get it sticky. To make the sugar solution, I dissolve some gum paste in a very small cup of water. I usually add 1-2 tablespoons of water and then dissolve gum paste in it – about a small grape size worth. I figure the more gum paste, the more stickiness.
Add the sprinkles to the sticky area, lightly pressing them onto the elephant. Allow it to dry for 5-10 minutes, then brush off the excess sprinkles. I also put a small drop of sugar solution in the eye area and added a sprinkle for the eye. I lightly dusted my elephant with a bit of white pearl dust to give him a bit of sheen, but that’s totally optional.
Set the elephant aside to dry and harden. Once he’s ready and the cake is smoothed and beautiful with sprinkles, press him into the top of cake and you’re done!
This cake was so much fun to make and even more fun to eat! It makes a great baby shower cake, but of course you can forgo all the decoration and just make one heck of a delicious strawberry layer cake, if you prefer. The flavor is outstanding and for a strawberry lover like myself – it was to die for!
Thanks so much for joining me to celebrate Ashley and her sweet little girl, arriving soon! Be sure to check out all the other tasty food everyone else “brought” to the shower! It all looks so good!
Vegan Strawberry Shortcake with Coconut Whipped Cream from Hip Foodie Mom
Strawberry Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies from Beyond Frosting
Coconut Raspberry Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting from Blahnik Baker
Spice Rubbed Cedar Plank Salmon with Strawberry Salsa from Joyful Healthy East
Strawberry Balsamic Crostini with Whipped Ricotta from Recipe Runner
Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches from Cooking and Beer
Strawberry Rose Macarons from Beth Cakes
Strawberry Layer Cake
Yield: 12-14 slices
3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
3/4 cup (173g) sour cream, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup (240ml) strawberry puree (from 2 cups (280g) chopped strawberries)
7-9 drops pink food color
1 1/2 cups salted butter
1 1/2 cups shortening
12 cups (1380g) powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
6-7 tbsp strawberry puree, strained (from 2/3 cup (93g) chopped strawberries)
3/4 tsp strawberry extract, optional
Pink and burgundy icing color
2-3 tsp water
Teal and sky blue icing color
Sprinkles, if desired
Gum paste, if desired
Toothpicks, or thin skewers
White pearl dust, if desired
To make the cake:
1. Grease three 8 inch round cake pans and preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on this step. Cream the butter for the full 3-4 minutes.
3. Add sour cream and mix until well combined.
4. Add eggs in two batches, mixing until well combined.
5. Combine dry ingredients in another bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well combined.
6. Add the strawberry puree and mix until well combined.
7. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
8. Divide batter evenly between the cake pans and bake 24-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs.
9. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
1. Beat the butter and shortening together until smooth.
2. Slowly add about 1/2 of the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth between each addition of powdered sugar.
3. Scoop out about 1 cup (240g) of frosting and set it aside for the teal blue frosting.
4. Add the vanilla extract and 6 tablespoons of strawberry puree to the remaining frosting and mix until smooth.
5. Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar, mixing until smooth between each addition of powdered sugar.
6. Add remaining strawberry puree, if needed, and strawberry extract and mix until smooth.
7. Color the frosting with pink and burgundy icing color, if desired.
8. For the teal blue frosting, add 2-3 teaspoons of water, if needed to thin it out a bit, then color with teal and sky blue icing color.
To layer and frost the cake:
1. Use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the tops of the cake layers so that they are flat.
2. Place the first layer of cake on your serving plate or on a cardboard cake circle.
3. Spread 1 cup (240g) of strawberry frosting into an even layer.
5. Add the second layer of cake, then another cup (240g) of strawberry frosting.
6. Top the cake with the third layer of cake.
7. Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting. For help getting a smooth finish, refer to my tutorial.
8. Pipe shells around the bottom and top edges of the cake using the teal blue frosting. I used Wilton tip 21 for the bottom and Ateco 844 for the top. Wilton 2D is similar to the Ateco 844 tip.
To finish off the cake:
1. If desired, top the center of the cake with sprinkles, then add a few around the bottom.
2. To make the elephant, please refer to the instructions and photos in the post above. I suggest making the elephant a day or two in advance, so it has time to dry and harden.
This cake doesn’t need to be refrigerated, but it can be. It’s best served at room temperature and freshest for 2-3 days. I’ll often bake the cake layers the night before, put the cake together the next day, then either serve the cake that day or the next. It’s best to store it in an air-tight container, like a cake carrier. I love this one. The cupcake holders come out and then you have a nice and tall place to store a cake. I’d suggest adding the elephant on top shortly before presenting the cake. If you refrigerate it, it will sort of melt. If it’s stored in with the cake, the moisture will likely mess it up too. Store the elephant in a cool, dry, dark place.
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