June 3, 2013

Strawberry Dream Cake

  • I looked and looked for a strawberry cake that didn't use strawberry Jell-O for flavoring. This one did the trick and was delicious!
  • Since strawberries are in season, freeze your own fresh ones by hulling them with a hard straw (something similar to the hard straws used in those reusable cold beverage containers like Starbucks) then washing the strawberries. Pat them dry then arrange in a baking dish top side down and freeze until frozen through, about 2 hours. If freezing more than what you need for the cake, store the frozen strawberries in a ziplock bag until ready to use for smoothies, shakes, etc.

  • 10 oz frozen whole strawberries (about 2 c.)
  • 3/4 c. whole milk, room temp
  • 6 large egg whites, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 c. cake flour
  • 1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
Frosting -
  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 c. confectioner's sugar
  • 12 oz cr. cheese, cut into 12 pieces and softened
  • pinch salt
  • 8 oz fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
1. For the cake: adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 350. Grease two 9-in round cake pans with butter or shortening (use a LOT) and then flour them really well. You want to be sure the cakes won't stick.
2. Transfer frozen strawberries to a bowl, cover, and microwave until they are soft and have released their juice, about 3 minutes. Place in a fine-mesh strainer set over a small saucepan and firmly press fruit until you have at least 3/4 c. juice. Reserve the strawberry solids for the frosting.
3. Bring the strawberry juice to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6-8 minutes. Cool a few minutes then whisk in milk until combined.
4. Whisk strawberry milk with egg whites and vanilla in a bowl. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and low speed until combined. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and mix until one pea-sized pieces remain, about 1 minutes. Add half of milk mixture, increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low, and remaining milk mixture, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Give batter a final stir by hand.
5. Scrape equal amounts of batter into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean, 20-25 minutes (do NOT overbake), rotating pans halfway through baking. Cook in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing cakes  (loosen any stuck edges and gently turn pans upside down) from pans and cooling completely, about 2 hours.
6. For frosting, use the stand mixer and mix butter and sugar on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, one piece at a time and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add reserved strawberry solids and salt and mix until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 2 days.
7. To assemble cake (do this right before serving or up to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerate but bring to room temp before serving): pat sliced strawberries dry with paper towels. When cakes are cooled, spread 3/4 c. frosting over 1 cake round. Press 1 c. strawberries in an even layer over frosting and cover with additional 3/4 c. frosting. Top with second cake round and spread remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of cake. Garnish with remaining strawberries and serve.

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