I have such a treat for you this week. I am finally sharing my sweet strawberry layer cake recipe here and yes I don't know why it has taken me so long although perhaps you will forgive me when I tell you I have been tweaking it over the years to come up with the delicious version in the top photo.
Picture by Alyce and Colette Photographers
The secret my dear friends is...........strawberry jelly (jello) crystals which gives the cake both the flavour and the colour in one go.
I have been using it for years as it's such a favourite with the kids.
In fact when I made it for Sweet's recent birthday after not using it for a year or so and The Destroyer was licking the bowl* he said it tasted like berry pancakes and told me that if the finished cake tasted the same it would be the most amazing cake I ever made.
*(I know he shouldn't do that with raw egg but seriously I am only human and he was begging.)
(for this version replace the yogurt with strawberry puree)
The 3rd picture above is of an older version of the cake back when I used to add puree strawberry in place of yogurt, which is still good and I'm telling you just in case you would like to try it out yourself.
The finished cake cuts very well and is quite moist so you can make it a few days ahead and decorate as needed. The only downside is that it has quite a brown hard crust which I think is better removed for decorating if you want the cake to look nice once sliced. But I pretty much do that for all my cakes anyway.
I like to fill this cake with a light vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream which I guess kinda makes it a strawberry and cream layer cake and totally delicious and I have included a recipe at the bottom of the post.When filling I find it best to chill the cake in the fridge for a few minutes between each layer.
I hope you try my strawberry ckae and that it becomes a family favourite for you like it has for me.
Sweet Strawberry Layer Cake (divide the batter into 3 x 6" pans to make a 4" high filled cake)
The jelly (jello) used in this recipe is the dry sugar crystals in the packet. If cake flour is not available use 310g (11 oz) plain (all purpose) flour and add 40g (1 3/8 oz)of cornflour (corn starch) instead.
Note I like to use weight instead of cup measurements as standard cup sizes are not the same in USA and Australia.
350g (12 3/8oz) cake flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
200g (7oz) sugar
1 packet strawberry jelly crystals (jello) 85g (3oz approx)
225g (8 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
240ml (8 1/2oz) full fat milk
135g (4 3/4oz) no fat greek yogurt (I use Chobani)
Preheat oven to 170 C (340 F) fan forced. Line the base and sides of 3 x 15cm (6") tins or 2 x 20cm 8" tins.
Sift the flour and baking powder and set aside until needed.
In the bowl of a large mixer at high speed cream together the butter, sugar and jelly (jello) crystals until light and fluffy.
Reduce speed to low and add the vanilla and then eggs one at a time mixing until combined and scraping down the sides as required.
Add 1/3rd of the flour mixture, mix at low speed until just combined scraping down sides as required. Add 1/2 the milk and mix until combined and then another 1/3rd of the flour mixture once again mixing and scraping down the sides.
Add the remaining milk and all of the yogurt and mix until combined and then the final third of flour making sure the sides and bottom of bowl have been scraped down and no lumps of flour are remaining.
Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins.
Bake until the cake is cooked all the way through and a skewer inserted comes out dry approximately 45 minutes.
Italian Meringue Butter cream This batch will make enough to fill and cover the cake and extra to decorate with buttercream flowers as in the example.
Make sure your bowl and mixer are clean to whip egg whites. I use a stand mixer with a pouring shield to make this butter cream, the sugar syrup is very hot, make sure you take appropriate safety precautions when pouring the hot sugar syrup mixture. Not suitable for young children to make.
300g white sugar (12oz)
75g (2 3/4oz) water
5 egg whites
450g (1 pound - 4 sticks) unsalted butter cut into smallish cubes
1 tsp vanilla extract
Place sugar and water into saucepan over high heat and bring to boil. Conintue to heat until the sugar syrup mixture reaches 115 C (240F). Brush down the the sides of saucepan with a wet pastry brush as required to stop sugar crystals from forming.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of your mixer (make sure the bowl is quite large). When the sugar syrup reaches 110C (210F) start to whip the egg whites at high speed.
Once the sugar syrup reaches 115C (240 F) carefully pour the syrup into the whipped egg whites whilst the mixer is still beating on high.
Continue to beat until the egg and sugar mixture cooled to room temperature (or the bowl feels cool to touch) and then start to add a few cubes of butter at a time. Add the vanilla.
The mixture will probably become quite liquid, but continue to beat until it thickens and all the butter is evenly distributed. May take around 10 minutes.
Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the Children's cookbook Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! Published in the USA in 2011 the book is still available at Amazon and many online bookstores.
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Original ideas, photography and recipes Linda Vandermeer please do not reuse without permission.