Since I got in the mood with “in season” artichokes yesterday, I thought I might continue on with the theme and make a dessert with strawberries today. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE strawberries – actually, I love berries of any sort, but strawberries are the first one of the group to show up for the season, so they’re always enjoyed with just a little more vigor than the rest. How can you not love something so beautiful?
I look forward to this time of year for taking my kids out to the farm to pick their own strawberries. We usually go multiple times before it’s all over and I always end up with pounds of strawberries all over my house. I have two big gallon sized bags in the freezer as we speak.
Anyway, Scott was out of town on Saturday with our oldest son, Nicholas for a Y-Guides event, so I took Alex and Andrew over to the farm for our first picking of the season. I can’t tell you how beautiful the strawberries were looking this year! We barely needed to move down the aisle there were so many big and juicy pieces of red deliciousness right at our feet. It only took us about 15 minutes to fill up two rather large buckets of them.
In the end, we brought home about 12 pounds of strawberries. It’s only Wednesday and we’ve already gone through 6 pounds of them. Believe it; we love ourselves some strawberries in this house.
With all these berries around, I felt compelled to make a dessert. Call it a weakness of mine, but I have to have something sweet around the house at all times. I decided on a strawberry cake, but I didn’t want to use a mix, nor did I want to use strawberry gelatin, so I set out to create my own recipe.
Now it’s interesting, because I can make up and improvise cooking recipes no problem, but for some reason when it comes to baking I feel a little bit less sure about deviating from the recipe. So to create a strawberry cake from scratch was a bit daunting for me.
When I originally thought about this recipe, I envisioned a light fluffy strawberry cake. What I got, was a dense moist “short” cake. I was a bit disappointed when I first saw it come out of the oven. It didn’t rise like I had hoped it would. But once I put it together and actually ate a piece, I realized it was better than a strawberry cake. It was more like a strawberry shortcake. Maybe I can bake after all!
Anyway, if anyone else is brave enough to try out the recipe, I’d love to hear what your results are. Here’s what you’ll need to give it a try:
For the Cake:
1 Stick of Butter, Softened
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Tsp of Vanilla
1/4 Cup of Orange Liqueur
1 Cup of Milk
2 Cups of Flour
1 Cup + 1/4 Cup of Strawberry Puree (about 1 pint of strawberries)
1/2 Pint Strawberries, Sliced Vertically (For Cake Center and Decoration)
2 Tsp of Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp of Salt
1 Tbsp of Orange Zest
First off, you’ll want to cream your butter and sugar. Once creamed, add to the mixture your eggs, orange liqueur, and milk. Slowly mix to combine. Now add in your flour, baking powder and salt. Mix to combine. Finally add in the strawberry puree and the orange zest.
To make strawberry puree, I simply, chopped my strawberries into manageable pieces (halves or thirds depending on the size of the strawberry) and threw them in my blender for about 30 seconds. Here’s the result:
I have to say, I got so into creating this cake, that I forgot to take pictures right up until the point where I added the orange zest. So for your viewing pleasure….
Once your orange zest is mixed in, pour the cake batter into two 9″ round pans that have been greased and floured. If you have parchment paper, definitely use it in place of the flour. It takes an extra five minutes to cut it out beforehand, but it saves so much time and headache on the back end when the cake just slides out without an issue. Here’s what you should have at this point:
Throw them in an oven heated to 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Once they’re done, pull them out and set them aside to cool. While they’re cooling, you can go ahead and make your strawberry cream.
For the Strawberry Cream Frosting:
11/2 Cups of Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup of Sugar
1 Tsp of Vanilla
1/4 Cup of your reserved Strawberry Puree from above
Add your heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla to your mixer and mix on high for about 3-4 minutes until stiff peaks begin to form. Now gently stir in your strawberry puree.
Assembly time! Carefully turn your first cooled cake out onto your serving platter. Arrange your sliced strawberries on the cake as shown below.
Now spread a layer of the strawberry cream over your strawberries like so:
It’s starting to look good, right? Now you’ll want to add on your second layer on top of the first and frost that one as well. And you know, I hadn’t thought about it until just now, but it would probably work well if you wanted to throw an extra level of strawberries on the top cake before putting the cream on as well. Because one can never have too many strawberries.
Finally, with your remaining cream, frost up the edges and decorate with your strawberry slices. And here’s what you should end up with:
Isn’t it beautiful?! I have to give myself a pat on the back with this one. I really know nothing about creating cakes from scratch so to put one together and actually have people eat it and ask for more is a compliment. Nicholas actually gave it one hundred thumbs up (forgive me, I was reading this post to Nicholas and he informed me that it wasn’t a hundred, but a MILLION thumbs up; it’s just getting better!) and said it was the best cake he has ever had! Not only that but he has been eating EVERYTHING on his dinner plate this week in order to earn himself a piece. I think I could get the kid to eats sticks from the backyard if it meant he could have a piece of this cake. Now that’s saying something. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!