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.
(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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
And a strawberry frosting using more of that strawberry puree.
Altogether making a wonderfully pink and childhood satisfying cake.
Luckily, it was Marta birthday satisfying as well!
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
- 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
- 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
- Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 9 inch round cake pans.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.