I made this cake for Rach's April Baking Challenge. The theme for this month is Spring! When I think of Spring, I think of warmer weather, pastel colors, and new growth. It also makes me think of my sister because I make this cake for her every year on her birthday. This cake officially marks the start of spring for me.
This strawberry cake comes out of my favorite cookbook: Favorite Recipes For Our Friends. My grandmother gave me this cookbook over 10 years ago. It may have been the only cookbook she owned and she got it from The First National Bank in my hometown back in 1975! In the book are recipes contributed from the towns people for a community fundraiser. I have made several recipes from this book including my all time favorite- Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake (Yoohoo! Food Librarian, this one is for you!)
I have adapted this recipe from the original by cutting down the amount of oil and upping the strawberry factor. Some may turn their nose up to the fact that it has strawberry jello in it that gives it it's color and adds flavor, but it's perfect everytime, and I'm okay with that. Over the years I have made this cake in may forms- loaf pans, in cupcakes, with and without frosting, making homemade cream cheese frosting and with the canned stuff. This by far is my favorite way. Whatever frosting you choose, be sure to add freshly sliced strawberries on the top in a concentric pattern and jaws will drop. This cake is extremely moist, flavorful, and easy and everyone always comments on how beautiful it is.
This would be perfect for Mother's Day. I hope you enjoy!Strawberry Cake adapted from Favorite Recipes
- 1 box white cake mix
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup frozen strawberries, thawed
- 1 small box strawberry Jello
- 1/2 cup hot water
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl or a measuring cup, dissolve Jello in hot water. Set aside and let cool while mixing the rest of the ingredients.
In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, oil, eggs, and thawed strawberries. Thoroughly mix in the gelatin mixture. Pour into 2 9-inch cake pans and bake for 35 minutes.
Allow to cool completely in pans before inverting onto a cooling rack or cake platter. Cover in frosting of your choice.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Meringue Buttercream from Cafe Johnsonia
- 1 cup pureed strawberries
- 1 lb. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 5 egg whites
- 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Beat the butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer until fluffy. Chill until cold.
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer and fit it with the whisk attachment. Turn mixer on medium speed until egg whites are foamy. While the mixer is running start preparing the sugar syrup.
In a small saucepan, stir together sugar and water. Bring to a boil and let cook, without stirring, until it reaches 235 degrees (sea level) or 230 degrees (high altitude) on a candy thermometer. At this point, turn the mixer on high and beat the egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry.
Continue to cook the syrup until the syrup reaches 240 degrees (sea level) or 234 degrees (high altitude)** (see NOTE). Remove it from heat and carefully pour the syrup against the side of the bowl into the egg whites while the mixer is still running. Continue beating on high for 3-5 minutes, or until steam stops rising from the mixing bowl.
Turn the mixer down a bit and add the chilled butter and cream cheese mixture a spoonful at a time. Don't worry if it becomes curdled. Just keep beating it and it will come back together. When all the butter/cream cheese has been added, add the extracts, beat well again. Then add the strawberry puree. It will separate a bit--keep beating and it will come back together.
Use it immediately, or keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 or 3 days. It will also freeze well for about a month or so.
Arrange sliced strawberries on top of the cake, starting from the outside and working your way in. Place a whole strawberry in the center.
**NOTE: I live at sea level and cooked my sugar syrup til it reached 240 degrees F. It continued to heat in the pan even after I took it off the flame and crept up several degrees, reaching the Hard Ball Stage. I added it to the egg whites and the sugar syrup turned stringy and clung to the side of my bowl. I continued to whip it and it had chunks of sugar in it. I dumped it and had to start over :-( The second time around, I heated the sugar syrup to just over 230 degrees F (sea level) and it rose up to 240F off the flame and it was perfect. Keep this in mind when making this so you don't overcook your syrup.
Visit Rachel to see her Spring creation!