Strawberry Birthday Cake

Cake Slice

So my update is a little late this week, but I have a good reason. It was Marta’s birthday!

I’m originally from Canada, but I moved to the Seattle area about 2 years ago. I love it here, but there’s a lot I miss about Canada. The thing I miss the most? The people. People like Marta. She’s been one of my best friends since we were 12 years old, she was one of my bridesmaids when I got married, and before this weekend, I hadn’t seen her for over 2 years.

So I hope you can understand the blog update delay.

Me & Marta

(That’s me on the left and Marta on the right.)

When we figured out that Marta would be coming to visit the weekend of her birthday I was quick to ask her what her favourite type of dessert was. She told me she liked anything with strawberry.

Strawberry

I could work with that.

There was a strawberry cake I had made in the past that I knew was perfect for a birthday cake. I had come up with it because Trevor had wanted me to recreate a strawberry cake from his childhood that his mother would make on his birthday. He remembered it as bright pink and really sweet “but in a good way”. I was intrigued by the idea of a strawberry flavoured cake instead of just chocolate or vanilla cake accented by strawberries. After a lot of research of strawberry flavoured cake recipes, I was disappointed to find how many of them were based off of the idea of flavouring white cake mix. I wanted something from scratch, something with fresh strawberries.

Strawberry Puree

But it was also supposed to simulate a sugary childhood birthday favourite, so oddly enough, freshness wasn’t the key goal. A touch of candy strawberry flavour was needed as well. I managed to find a cake base using strawberry puree and…

Strawberry Jell-O

..strawberry Jell-O. I thought it sounded a little weird, and yet a little perfect. The Jell-O would make for a sweet strawberry flavour while the fresh strawberry puree would help cut the sweetness just enough to give the cake a little more depth. Plus, the Jell-O made the cake a vibrant candy pink.

So Pink!

Again, a little weird, but also perfect.

To take the cake to the next level, it needed some strawberry accessories. A strawberry simple syrup to ensure a moist cake.

Strawberry Simple Syrup

And a strawberry frosting using more of that strawberry puree.

Frosted cake layer

Altogether making a wonderfully pink and childhood satisfying cake.

Strawberry Birthday Cake

Luckily, it was Marta birthday satisfying as well!

Blowing out the candles

Happy Birthday lady! I’m so happy you were able to visit, I had an awesome time!

Strawberry Birthday Cake

Cake Recipe heavily adapted from AllRecipes.com

Frosting Recipe adapted from Sprinkles’ Strawberry Frosting

Strawberry Cake

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs, separated into yolks and whites (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 fresh strawberry puree (About 1 lb. of strawberries are needed for both cake and frosting)

Strawberry Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • leftover fresh strawberry stems from puree

Strawberry Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons fresh strawberry puree (from puree made for cake)
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
  • Couple pinches of coarse salt
  • 7 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 9 inch round cake pans.
  2. Hull 1 lb. of strawberries, reserving stems for simple syrup. Ensure to allow a small amount of strawberry flesh to be removed with stems. Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each.
  4. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. Blend in vanilla and 1/2 cup of strawberry puree. Whip egg whites to soft peaks. Carefully fold into batter. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  5. 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.
  6. Simple Syrup: Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain through a sieve, pressing on the hulls to extract all liquid. Discard hulls and store syrup in refrigerator in a covered container to cool.
  7. Frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 6 tablespoons strawberry puree, mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.
  8. Assembly: Using a long serrated knife, level off tops of cooled cakes. Move first cake layer to cake turntable or stand, cut side up, and brush cut surface with simple syrup. (poke holes in cake using a cake tester if you don’t want/need to level your cake) Use just enough to moisten but not too much or cake may fall apart during assembly. Spoon 1/2-3/4 cup of frosting onto cake and using an offset metal spatula, spread it into an even layer, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge of the cake. (This recipe makes a lot of frosting so you don’t need to be stingy!) Repeat with second layer. Brush cut side of last layer with syrup before transferring to cake. Place layer on cake cut side down.
  9. Frost sides and top of cake with remaining frosting. If desired, decorate with fresh strawberry slices.

Cover with cake dome and store in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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25 thoughts on “Strawberry Birthday Cake

  1. So cool! The way the cake looks, your choice of photos, marta visiting… all awesome haha That’s a fine looking dessert.

  2. How were you able to keep the cakes fluffy? I am not sure if I under-baked, but my cakes turned out much denser than yours (at least going by your pictures). Thanks! Brian

    • Did you sift the flour? I usually ignore sifting because I’m lazy, but I found in this recipe, measured sifted flour vs. non-sifted can actually really make a difference. There’s a lot less flour in a sifted measure. Maybe next time I make the cake I’ll actually weigh the flour. Also, the whipped egg whites are to try to help lift the density of this cake, so be really careful when you fold them in.

      Another thing, this is not fluffy like a light white cake. It is definitely more on the dense side, but it shouldn’t be heavy either. It sort of reminded me of the texture/weight of a standard red velvet cake if that helps.

      • Thanks! I’ll try sifting and then measuring, as well as pay more attention with the egg whites.

  3. Hi Amanda! For my mom’s birthday I’m making a 3 layer neopolitan cake that I saw online. I’m using your cake recipe for the strawberry layer, and I was wondering, would it be okay to bake the cakes the day before and put them in the refrigerator overnight and assemble and frost them the next day? Any other tips? Thanks!

    • Ohh what a fabulous idea! Yes, I think you would be fine making the cake layer a day ahead of time, just make sure you don’t trim them at all ahead of time and wrap them tightly in saran wrap once they’re cooled. I don’t know about your other layers for sure since I don’t know what they’re like, but in general, if you’re just baking them a day ahead of time, I would keep them at room temperature. Refrigerators have a tendency to dry out cakes if they’re not totally sealed up with frosting! I’m not sure if your other cake layer require refrigeration or not though. It won’t be a big difference if you do refrigerate them, just a suggestion! :)

      But yes, I make layers ahead of time all the time because making a cake, waiting for it to cool completely and THEN frosting it can take such a long time!

      Best of luck!

    • Oh! one more thing… Since all 3 layers are different, make sure you layer them from lightest layer on the top to heaviest on the bottom. I suspect the strawberry will be the heaviest, but I don’t know your other recipes so i can’t say for sure! But yes, if you put the strawberry layer on top of say… a standard light and fluffy sponge, it could potentially crush that poor layer. So take care when deciding how to layer them! :)

  4. Did you ever weigh the amount of flour used? My little boy has asked for a strawberry flavoured cake for his birthday but as I’m in the UK we cook by weight instead of volume and as I saw the comments regarding sifting above this could make a difference.

    • Oh! I’m not sure… but I can try to measure it in grams this evening! There’s so many different volumetric ways to measure flour, America really just needs to convert to weight measurement like the UK. :P

      • Don’t worry I made the cake today. It was all a bit of an adaptation anyway as we don’t get jello here and flavoured gelatine comes in concentrated cubes of jelly. So I had to use strawberry flavoured angel delight powder. The cake turned out much denser than yours and not quite as pink but lovely and moist and with very good strawberry flavour.

      • He did like it very much. I don’t know what I would have done without this recipe to use as a basis so thank you very much!

  5. Hello. I’m wondering if I am to sift the flour first and then measure…or, measure out the amount of flour in the recipe and sift that? Thanks so much!

    • Sift then measure! If possible, put your measuring cup in the middle of a bowl and sift directly into it. I really just need to weigh the amount of flour this works out to and figure out a new standard measure that doesn’t involve sifting to make this all easier!

      • Thanks. I always sift my flour for cakes…but, I do like to weigh all my ingredients in grams. I find my end product is much better when I use a scale. I can’t wait to give the cake a try.

      • Yeah, scale is definitely the way to go, Europe one up on us in this respect! It’s the best way to have consistent results. Even for things that I weigh though, I try to figure out volumetric measures for the blog because I know a lot of cooks in North America don’t use scales!

  6. This is exactly what I am looking for. I made a strawberry cake from allrecipes.com for my daughter’s birthday before but I wanted to try a different one and one with jello mix. We will see what she thinks of this birthday cake! thanks for adapting it.

  7. This is exactly what I am looking for. I made a strawberry cake from allrecipes.com for my daughter’s birthday before but I wanted to try a different one and one with jello mix. We will see what she thinks of this birthday cake! thanks for adapting it.

  8. Hi, just wondering if you’ve weighed the sifted cake flour? I’m hoping to bake it for my daughter’s first birthday tomorrow. Thanks in advance!!!

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