Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream
If you are craving strawberries, you have landed on the right page! This cake is one of my humble most achievements in baking, a recipe I have been refining for the past 4 weeks…. you have no idea how happy I am to have finally perfected it!!!
I can walk you through my failed trails but why?!…… When a piece so perfectly delicious is achieved…let’s just celebrate it! 🙂
This cake has a nice balance of sweet and tartness to it which will have you running for the next servings!
My initial concern was the color. I tried achieving the color naturally using fruit puree and homemade strawberry Jam, as you can see it isn’t as pink as you would expect a “strawberry” cake to be but I was thoroughly satisfied with the flavor! My neighbors, who have happily volunteered to be my lab rats in my baking experiments (thanks guys!), fell in love with the flavor and didn’t care about the color anymore. Here are some of the feedback comments that I received.
If the color is a concern for you , then add a drop (food grade) pink gel to the cake batter. Another point to note is that strawberries/ puree turn brown when baked so adding a few drops of lemon juice helps with preventing this browning.
I did a couple more re-runs of the recipe for this photo shoot (that’s a lot of eggs gone in a week …..Thank you, Dayan for funding my blog!!!) and had my husband take the cakes to work (his colleagues are very welcoming of my cakes ;)) and it was gone in no time! So let’s get to the recipe highlights……
First, preheat your oven to 320F/160C. Yes, I find using a lower temperature for a longer time helps with even baking and softer crumbs. Here are the three main stages explained.
STAGE 1– Preparation of sugar syrup. Heat water and sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl, at high power, 2-3 minutes until the sugar dissolves completely. Stop in between to stir and scrape down the sides to prevent sugar from charring.You will notice that my “white cake mix” has granulated sugar. These granules help with aerating the flour, while the sugar syrup helps with an easy even blend of the ingredients. I use a hot (not boiling) syrup , so it helps bring other cold “wet ingredients” to room temperature, ideal for baking.
STAGE 2- Is the preparation of the “White Cake Mix” which involves mixing, sifting and fluffing… as mentioned in my previous blog articles this is a pivotal step in baking for achieving soft tender cakes.
STAGE 3– The careful incorporation and mixing of wet with dry ingredients. Over mixing gives a tough chewy cake while under mixing gives an unevenly baked cake. Mix for the recommended time, this is a good place to have a kitchen timer in hand.
Immediately pour the batter into two 8″ * 3″ cake pans. Be careful not to leave the door open for too long when inserting the cake pans into the oven as it could cause deflation. Bake for 45 minutes. At this point, you will notice the sides are slightly browned and starting to detach from the cake pans. Test for “doneness” and proceed to “cooling“.
For my vegetarian readers looking for egg substitutes– here are my 3 recommended substitutes( from PETA) that work great in place of eggs. Ener-G egg replacer is a foolproof option….can’t go wrong with it!
FILLING AND FROSTING
Do you like tart,do you like sweet or do you like both?
I tried different combinations with “filling” for the cake. In my first re-run, I filled every cake layer with homemade strawberry jam. I felt the tartness of the jam overtook the flavor of the cake. Be your own judge, taste differs from person to person! As shown in the picture below pipe a thick mound of frosting to create a dam – this will prevent the jam from oozing out as you stack on layers.
In my next re-run I decided to alternate layers with Preserve and Strawberry Meringue frosting. To me, this was the perfect strawberry cake as the sweetness from the meringue balanced the tartness of the preserve giving a great overall flavor !!!
- Thula's White Cake Mix (click for recipe)
- 270 g Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 egg whites
- 1 whole egg
- 60 g Sour Cream
- 1/2 cup Oil (light vegetable)
- 1/2 cup Whole Milk
- 1/4 cup Yogurt (Semi thick)
- 2 TB Strawberry jam
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 2 tsp Strawberry Essence (optional)
- 6 Egg Whites
- 300 g/1 cup Granulated sugar
- 3 sticks Unsalted butter at room temperature,cut into pieces.
- 150g Vegetable Shortening/Margarine
- 1 1/2 tsp Strawberry Essence
- 1 TB Strawberry Puree
- 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar (optional)
- Homemade Strawberry Jam/preserve (click for recipe)
- Preheat oven to 320F/160C
- Mix sugar and water in a microwave safe bowl and heat covered on high for 2 minutes. Stop give the mix a quick stir and continue heating at 30 s intervals until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Prepare 2*8 inch circle cake pans (I use aluminum pans) and attach Bake-even strips
- Prepare cake flour mix
- In a separate kitchen aid or mixing bowl add eggs (or your choice of egg replacement), oil, milk, yogurt, sour cream and strawberry essence and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds, continue mixing and slowly pour in the molten sugar syrup into the mix. Continue mixing for another 30 seconds. Then reduce the speed to low (setting 2 in the Kitchen Aid).
- Add the "white cake mix" (and additional coloring if you want) and continue mixing for 1 minute.
- Stop, scrape sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula and continue mixing for another 60 seconds. Pour into two 8*3 inch baking pans and bake at 320F , 45 minutes.
- In a heat safe bowl add egg whites, whisk to break them down and add granulated sugar.
- Double boil this mixture, stirring continuously to prevent scrambling until the temperature reaches 130F. You can use a candy thermometer to check the temperature.
- The mixture at this point turns translucent. Immediately add it to a grease free metal bowl, add cream of tartar and whip on high speed until cool (about 10-15 minutes).
- Once the mixture is cool, change to paddle attachment and add butter one piece at a time keeping the speed at medium.
- Add vegetable shortening (or margarine), flavoring and strawberry puree (Strain it if you don't want the seeds) and and mix on high speed for 2.5 minutes.
- Fill cake layers and frost cake.
- tsp- Teaspoon
- TB- Tablespoon
- g- grams
- You can add food coloring to achieve your desired hue of pink. I tried to develop the color as naturally as possible. The Strawberry Essence has an intense pink shade which also adds to the color. If you can't find strawberry essence use vanilla essence instead and add an additional tablespoon of jam to the cake batter.
- Lemon juice reduces/prevents browning of the cake batter.
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