Strawberries are flooding the markets these days, and there are many more to come! The Strawberry season has just started, so we can now look forward to more berry-licious desserts, drinks and fruity feasts as the so-called king of berries makes its grand entrance into our kitchens! We herald the Strawberry season with this ultra-gorgeous and delicious Strawberry Cake topped with fluffy pink Strawberry Meringue Buttercream frosting. Mother’s Day is also just around the corner, and if you are looking for something special to bake for your dearest Mom, then this luscious Strawberry Cake fits the bill perfectly.
This is no ordinary cake – indeed it is like the one you’d find in a specialized bakery, and though the task at hand looks daunting, believe me, its totally worth the effort! The large amount of butter, buttermilk, and eggs that go into the cake batter make this an extremely moist and fluffy cake, almost sponge-like. And the strawberry filling only adds more color and flavor to the cake. But the icing on the top, literally, is the beautiful Meringue Buttercream, which looks pretty in pastel pink color as it covers the cake on all sides! Nearly a Food Network Challenge winner recipe, you have to try this for yourself to see how good a homemade cake can be!
[Recipe via WomansDay Magazine; photo by Jonny Valiant]
Layered Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream Frosting
2 1/4 cups cake flour (not the same as self-rising flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tsp strawberry or vanilla extract
2 large egg whites plus 2 whole eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Strawberry Meringue Buttercream
1 (10-oz) pkg frozen halved strawberries in syrup, thawed
1 1/4 cups sugar
1⁄4 cup water
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
4 drops liquid red food color
1 lb container strawberries, hulled and diced
1/2 cup reduced-sugar strawberry preserves, scraped through a sieve
Heat oven to 350ºF. Coat two 8 x 2-in. round cake pans with baking spray. Line bottoms with parchment or wax paper rounds; spray parchment.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In large bowl with mixer, beat butter, sugar and extract at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg whites and whole eggs until smooth. With mixer on low, alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk until incorporated. Continue to beat batter on medium speed for 3 minutes. Divide batter between prepared pans.
Bake for 38 to 40 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen edge of cakes and invert onto rack. Cool completely.
Making the Frosting
Purée strawberries and syrup in blender; scrape through a fine sieve into a small saucepan to remove seeds. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.
In saucepan, bring 1 cup of the sugar and the water to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, without stirring, until syrup reaches 240ºF on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gradually pour in boiling syrup in a thin stream. Increase mixer speed to high and beat until meringue is very thick and glossy, and completely cool, about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine butter, strawberry purée and food color, and vigorously beat with a rubber spatula until well combined and smooth. Fold in meringue, in two additions, until combined. Refrigerate buttercream for about 1 hour or until spreadable.
Assembling the Cake
Using a serrated knife, halve cake layers horizontally. Place 1 layer, cut-side up, on a serving plate; spread with 2/3 cup buttercream. Arrange 1/3 of the diced strawberries in a layer over buttercream. Spread 2 Tbsp jam on a cut side of second layer and place, jam-side down, over strawberries. Repeat with remaining cake layers. Cover the cake entirely with buttercream on all sides. Pipe any remaining frosting on the top in any desired pattern.
This looks like an elaborate recipe, but when you taste the end result, you’ll know these were 2 hours very well-spent! Plus, its for the most special woman in your life – your mother! When she enjoys this cake, and looks at you with a contented smile on her face, and a proud motherly twinkle in her eye, you’ll know that this Strawberry Cake was totally worth the effort!