Sunday, October 23, 2011

Strawberry Cake from Scratch with Buttercream Icing

Last weekend was my sister's birthday, and she happened to be visiting me in Madison! To celebrate we went out to dinner and came home for dessert to a homemade strawberry cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. Finding out that my sister's favorite cake flavor was strawberry took a little bit of sleuthing...rather, a text message to her boyfriend asking him to find out what her favorite cake flavor was so that I could make it for her when they were in town. Okay, so not that difficult, but still, I think she appreciated the surprise!

I wanted to make the strawberry cake from scratch but most of the recipes I found online called for a box of vanilla cake mix and strawberry jello. I did find a couple of recipes using a few pounds of strawberries to make a cake that was truly from scratch... I had neither the time nor the patience to make those versions so I turned to to find a recipe that would work. Mostly homemade was what I ended up with.

The use of strawberry Jell-o is really the only non-homemade thing in the recipe. It's what gives the cake it's nice pink color and most of the strawberry flavor. The recipe did call for pureed strawberries, and while I was hoping to see fleck of strawberry throughout the cake, they weren't really visible. I actually ended up adding more strawberries than called for, and didn't reduce the amount of liquid to make up for the additional moisture in the cake, so the cake itself was very very moist!I think next time, I will reduce the amount of Jell-o used and up the fresh strawberry. The buttercream icing was delicious. And using 4 drops of red coloring, I created a nice powdery/fluffy pink color.
Here's the cake recipe from
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs (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 strawberry puree made from frozen sweetened strawberries
  • Buttercream Icing (recipe below)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs 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 strawberry puree. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  3. 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.
Buttercream Icing from Confections of a Foodie Bride:
(Yields enough for a two-layer cake, or 18-24 cupcakes)

  • 2 stick of butter, at room temp
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 Tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (I omitted this because I don't like almond that much and I didn't have any)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, optional
  • a few drops of food coloring, optional

  1. Place all ingredients in your mixer bowl. Beat on low just until you have no more dry streaks of powdered sugar. (Add a bit of food coloring/gel here, if using. If using a vanilla bean, split the pod in half, scrape with the edge of your knife, and add the scrapings to the mixer bowl.)
  2. Turn to high and whip for 3-4 minutes, until light, fluffy, and smooth, stopping once to scrape down the sides.
  3. Extra frosting can be stored in the fridge for quite a while. Bring to room temp and whip for a couple of minutes before using.
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  2. I found this recipe on all too and I love it. I have been using it for quite a while now. It's very moist and goes well with strawberry cream cheese icings, as well as ganache, in my experience. A keeper! I'm glad you used it too!