Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day: Strawberry Cake From Scratch

For Mother's Day this year my family came over and we had a fabulous home cooked meal and enjoyed each other's company. EHHH! Wrong. My family came over and we all went to the local New China Buffet Restaurant. My family stuffed themselves and shamed me and then returned back to the apartment for the desserts I made the night before.

Awhile ago Katie was looking for a "from scratch" strawberry cake recipe for her brother's birthday. I don't remember what recipe she ended up using, I just remember she wasn't hugely pleased with it for the amount of work and pureeing that was required.

I did some searching and came up with this one to try from All Recipes. I've since made this cake three or four times and it has consistently turned out well. The icing is a little more iffy, but the cake has always been delicious and pretty.

From Scratch Strawberry Cake

2 cups white sugar
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs (room temperature)
2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup strawberry puree, I used fresh, but the recipe originally called for frozen

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter, flour and line with parchment three 9 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 vanilla and strawberry puree. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a small 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, before tapping out to cool completely. These might benefit from a trip to the freezer as they tend to stick in the pan.

These tend to make three moist, dense layers. I've used both strawberry cream cheese and strawberry butter cream icing. The cream cheese just refused to hold up very well and ended up making a horrible layer cake. The buttercream is a touch sweet, but it works well and is easy to use. I just use a regular buttercream recipe adding in about a 1/4 to a 1/2 cup of extra strawberry puree.

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