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Strawberry layer cake on a vintage cake stand.

Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream

Heather Smoke
From scratch strawberry cake, make with both fresh and freeze-dried strawberries, frosted with fluffy strawberry buttercream.
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 1 cup fresh strawberry puree (see note)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 egg whites (save the yolks for another use)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups whole buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour, spooned and leveled, then sifted
  • 3 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 1 oz freeze-dried strawberry powder or finely crushed freeze-dried strawberries

Buttercream

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup fresh strawberry puree (see note)
  • 1 oz freeze-dried strawberry powder or finely crushed freeze-dried strawberries
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp meringue powder (optional)
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp milk or cream, if needed for desired consistency

Instructions
 

Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease three 8-inch cake pans with non-stick spray.
  • Prepare your strawberry puree and set aside.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar for about 10 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally, until fluffy and lightened in color.
  • Beat in the egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each. Scrape the bowl down again.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the strawberry puree, lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla.
  • In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and freeze-dried strawberry powder.
  • With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the wet ingredients, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just enough to combine, then use a spatula to finish bringing together the batter and stir in any dry bits. (If desired, add a few drops of red or pink food coloring with the wet ingredients.)
  • Divide the batter between the pans. Bake on the center oven rack for 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester in the center comes out clean and the tops of the cakes spring back when gently touched.
  • Set the pans on a wire rack, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and cool completely before frosting.

Buttercream

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and strawberry puree for one minute to combine.
  • With the mixer on low, add the freeze-dried strawberry powder, powdered sugar, meringue powder, vanilla and salt until combined.  Increase speed to medium-high and whip for 4-5 minutes until very light and fluffy, adding the milk as needed for desired consistency.
  • Fill and frost the cooled cakes with the buttercream.

Notes

  • Set all of your dairy and cold ingredients out ahead of time so that they are at room temperature.
  • For the strawberry puree, wash and hull about a half pound of strawberries, and puree to liquid in a food processor, adding more berries if needed.  You’ll need 1 1/4 liquid cups puree total for the cake and the buttercream.
  • Measure out your flour, using the “spoon and sweep” method, then sift to remove any lumps.  Sifted cake flour yields a much lighter crumb.
  • You can also use whole freeze-dried strawberries and crush them to powder with your food processor.  Whether whole or already in powder form, the weight is the same.  If using powder (available on Amazon), the ingredients should list nothing but strawberries.  Other “mixes” such as for protein drinks or strawberry milk, etc, are not suitable replacements.
  • Although your cake batter will start off as a pretty pink, it will fade to the pinkish-tan color you see pictured here; this is simply what happens to strawberries when they bake.  If the color bothers you, tint your batter with a few drops of red food coloring for a more vivid pink cake.  The buttercream remains naturally pink from the strawberry powder and puree.
  • This cake uses egg whites only; don’t throw out the yolks!  Use them to make lemon curd, a custard-based cream pie or tart, or ice cream.
Keyword Cake, High Altitude, Strawberry