I love birthdays. Ok, maybe not my own, but I love other people’s birthdays. And it’s my job to make the cake – I don’t know if anyone ever asks me, it’s just a given. We don’t eat cake very often, but when we do let me tell you, it doesn’t come out of a box. The truth is that it is SO easy to make cake from scratch!
My sweet cousin Sammy was recently celebrating a birthday so off I went to figure out what I was going to create. She isn’t a ganache kind of gal, so I wanted to make something fresh and light. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say this is health food, but hey, everything fits in moderation!
- 3 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1½ Tbsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¾ cup vegetable oil or avocado oil
- 1 ¾ cup puréed strawberries*
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 4 eggs, beaten
- red or pink natural food color, if desired
- 4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ¼ cup sugar
- 6-8 fresh strawberries for decoration
* for puréed strawberries, place 2-3 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries in a blender and pulse until smooth
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Grease and flour two 8″ round cake pans. I used tall 3″ high ones – if you have more shallow pans you may want to split the batter into 3 pans instead and not split the layers (to avoid overflow when baking).
- In a large bowl, sift the flour and baking powder, and whisk in the sugar and salt.
- Add the vegetable oil, strawberry puree, vanilla, and lemon juice and zest to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
- Add the eggs and food coloring, if using, to the batter and whisk until just smooth (don’t overmix).
- Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the tops are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Let cool for 5 minutes and carefully remove cake from pans, and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Using a long bread knife or cake spatula, evenly level the tops of the cooled cakes and split each cake in half horizontally so that you have four even layers. Place one layer on a cake stand.
- In a large metal bowl using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip the heavy cream, vanilla and the ¼ cup of sugar to very stiff peaks. If you are making the cake in advance, add 2 packages of whipping cream stabilizer to the cream before whipping it (ie: Whip It).
To Assemble the Cake
- Using a piping bag fitted with a large diameter tip (of your choice depending on the pattern you want to achieve), fill the piping bag with the whipping cream mixture and pipe an even layer of whipping cream on the first cake layer, starting at the outside and working your way inside in a circle.
- Carefully place the next cake layer evenly on top, and repeat the instructions above to pipe the whipped cream to this layer. Repeat. Reserve one of the bottom layers of the cakes for the last layer so that the baked bottom of one of the cakes forms the top (bottom-up). It just looks nicer!
- For the last layer, pipe large swirls of cream around the outer edge of the top of the cake.
- Top each swirl with a strawberry (you can cut them into quarters, in half or leave them whole) and chill until ready to serve.
Cake recipe adapted from Hubpages