Sunday, March 20, 2016

Strawberry Lemonade Cake


Well, I'm back after a looooong hiatus! Pregnancy - with all of it's joys, cravings, aches & pains - completely kicked my butt. The end result couldn't be more spectacular...our new baby boy was welcomed into the world a few weeks ago; all 8 1/2 pounds and 22 inches of him! He's definitely one of the best things I've ever made!

So, with that being said, I began looking for a comeback cooking project. My oldest son's birthday is this week, and when I asked what sort of cake he would like me to make, he totally surprised me! He replied, with his huge, gap-toothed grin (the tooth fairy has been paying a lot of visits lately!), to say "A Strawberry-Lemonade Cake, Mum!". Okey-dokey then.

The only problem was that I didn't have a recipe for a 'Strawberry Lemonade Cake' in my arsenal! I do, however, have a favorite lemon cake recipe from an outstanding blogger and cookbook author, Rosie from Sweetapolita. I've mentioned my love for her recipes before, and her cake is simply outstanding - just the base for me to work with.

With a few tweaks and changes (out with the lemon extract, in with the zest!), a subtraction of blueberries & lemon curd, and an addition of some beautiful, ripe strawberries, we were on our way. The topping of pastel-colored crunchy meringues make this cake the perfect dessert for any birthday, Easter dinner, or Mother's Day Brunch!

This particular cake was layered with yellow and pink icing in a sort-of-stucco-approach, with the intention of looking like a pitcher of strawberry-lemonade (the strawberry flavor and color is floating up from the fruit at the bottom). It kind of worked.

Strawberry Lemonade Cake
modified from the original recipe found on sweetapolita.com
makes one 3 layer 8 inch round cake



For the Cake

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup full fat sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 pound fresh whole strawberries, washed & dried

(3) 8 inch round cake pans
parchment paper
baking spray



Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare your cake pans with baking spray & a round of parchment paper each. Place aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl. Reserve.



In a small mixing bowl, stir together the milk, sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Place to the side.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, for about 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Beat in each of the 4 eggs individually, making sure the previous egg is well incorporated before the addition of the next.




Alternate adding in the flour mixture and the wet mixture into the creamed butter & sugar, blending well between additions. Start and end with the flour mix. I tend to scrape down the mixing bowl halfway through this process, to make sure everything comes together evenly.



Divide the batter between the cake pans (I use a large ice cream scoop for this) and smooth down the tops with an offset spatula.




Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean from the center of each cake.

Allow the cakes to cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto a second rack and cool completely. Cake can be made ahead of time and plastic wrapped for up to two days, or frozen (wrapped tightly) for up to three months.




For the Frosting

7 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3 teaspoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons whipping cream
generous pinch of salt
yellow food coloring (optional)

6 strawberries, washed and cored
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and lemon zest for 3 minutes.




Next, slowly add the powdered sugar in small batches while mixing on low speed, until incorporated. About 2 minutes.

Add the 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and whipping cream to the mixture and whip on medium-high speed until fluffy. About 4 minutes.

***Important Note: if you plan on making a bit of strawberry flavored icing, separate about 1/4 cup of icing at this point, and place in a small container. Take the 6 strawberries and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and quickly puree in a blender. Add the puree to the small batch of frosting and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill until use.






If using yellow food coloring, add a drop or two to the remaining frosting in the electric mixer bowl, remembering that less is more! Mix on medium-high until blended.





To Assemble the Cake

Place your wrapped caked rounds into the freezer to firm up for 10 minutes. This helps with the frosting portion of the assembly.



Wash and core the pound of strawberries. Next, cut each into thin slices and reserve in a mixing bowl.




Trim any excess edges from the cake rounds and any dome-ing if necessary.

Using a cake board as a firm base, take a small offset spatula and dab a bit of the yellow frosting to the center of the board. Take your first cake round and place it face up on the board.



Apply a 1/4 inch thick layer of yellow frosting over the top of the cake and then lay the strawberry slices in a generous layer.




Place the second cake round, face down, on top of the first. Repeat the frosting & strawberry layer.




Next, lay the final cake round, face down, on top of the second round.



Now comes the crumb coat. Apply a heap of yellow frosting to the top of the cake and swirl around the top and spread down the sides to create the crumb coat. Using a scraper, spread the frosting evenly, but thinly. It doesn't have to be pretty! Try to fill the gaps between the layers.



Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 25 minutes.

After chilling, take the remaining yellow frosting and frost the cake evenly, using an offset spatula and cake scraper. I went with a more modern look and used a thicker coating, but you could pipe to your heart's content.




Swirl the strawberry frosting on the lower section of the cake and garnish with strawberries. I also used meringues to decorate as well, you can find the recipe here.








Keep this cake covered and chilled until an hour before serving.





1 comment:

  1. I just made this for my daughter's birthday. I did substitute lemon extract for the vanilla. The cake turned out delicious. She and everyone else loved it.

    ReplyDelete