Homemade Yellow Cake with Strawberry Frosting ~ simple, homey, and fresh, this strawberry cake makes such a nice finish to an early spring meal, and it would look adorable studded with birthday candles.
This strawberry cake is my way of welcoming in spring
Everything comes early to Los Angeles, and spring is no exception. I always know when it’s starting because I get no sleep. The other night I was up at 3 am and I knew right away what was happening. The birds start singing hours before dawn! I want to be annoyed, but how can I be? Spring is a wonderful thing. Anyway, no wonder I’ve got strawberries on the brain 🙂
The pink strawberry cake is so pretty and spring-like, it would be appropriate for all the season’s occasions.
From baby showers to birthdays, for sure, but it’s also the kind of cake that looks right at home under a glass dome on the kitchen counter. Go ahead and festoon it with fresh berries if you like, I happen to prefer to let the pretty swoops and swirls of pink frosting speak for themselves.
This is the perfect yellow cake recipe
The batter is nice and thick and silky, thanks to room temperature ingredients and a super thorough creaming
Have you read my Best Baking Tips for Layer Cakes? I’m a big believer in taking the extra time to cream the butter, sugar, and eggs really well; it results in the best texture in the finished cake. If you’ve had trouble with heavy or dense homemade cakes, make sure your ingredients are at room temperature, and that you cream your butter and sugar for a full 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl as you go. Using a stand mixer is the best option.
The difference between a white cake and a yellow cake
- White cakes are made with egg whites only, and are sometimes made with cake flour, which results in an extra tender cake.
- Yellow cake is made with whole eggs ~ it’s the egg yolks that gives it its golden color. Yellow cake is a richer, sturdier cake over all.
How to make a fresh strawberry frosting
Strawberry frosting can be tricky to get right. I had to go through a few trials before I was happy. Basically the issue is that fresh strawberries contain a lot of moisture, and moisture is the enemy of a buttercream frosting; it makes it runny. Some recipes will have you use freeze dried strawberry powder, some use strawberry extract, and some use jam, but none of these methods are what I’m after, which is more of a fresh strawberry flavor. What’s my solution?
- I puree a pint of fresh strawberries
- Then I cook that down in a saucepan until it’s thick like strawberry butter and measures 1/4 cup.
- I chill the thick puree and whip it up with my frosting ingredients. The result is a subtle, but fresh strawberry flavor.
- Cream cheese and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice add a welcome tang and help emphasize the fruit flavor.
- I add a little bit of corn starch, which you can’t taste, but helps to absorb moisture and thicken the frosting.
I like the subtle combination of the yellow cake with the strawberry frosting, but if you’d like more of a strawberry presence in the cake itself, you have a couple of options…
- Add chopped strawberries to the batter.
- You can also add a layer of sliced strawberries between the layers.
Strawberry desserts are a specialty around here!
- Strawberry Lemon Blondies
- Easy Strawberry Cake
- Strawberry Buttermilk Cake
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie
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Homemade Strawberry Cake
- two 8-inch cake pans
- blender or food processor to puree the strawberries
- stand mixer (optional)
- 1 pint or about 12 strawberries
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 sticks (or 1 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (you can use almond if you prefer)
- 1 1/4 cups cultured buttermilk (you can use half & half, or milk)
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 5 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line two 8-inch cake pans with a round of parchment paper.
- Trim the tops from the strawberries and add them to a high speed blender like Vitamix, or a food processor. Blend until they're smoothly pureed. Put the puree and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove. Turn the heat down to medium and let the puree boil for about 15-20 minutes until it is thickened to 1/4 cup. Watch carefully and stir often so it doesn't scorch. Scrape the thick puree into a jar and refrigerate until completely chilled. This is going to be the strawberry componant of your frosting.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- To make the cake, cream the sugar and butter together in a stand mixer for a solid 5 minutes, scraping down the sides a couple of times to get everything well incorporated. You can use a hand held electric beater, but be sure to cream until light and fluffy. This step helps create a lovely texture in your cake.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat well in between each egg, and scrape down the sides of the bowl between each egg as well. Blend in the extract.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture, and then, when it is almost all the way incorporated, add the buttermilk. Mix just until combined. Finish mixing the batter by hand to blend in everything from the bottom of the bowl.
- Divide the batter evenly between the pans and spread out evenly. Bake for 35 minutes, or until risen and the top springs back when lightly touched. A toothpick should come out clean. Let the pans cool on a rack for 15 minutes before turning out of the pans to cool completely before frosting. Note: do not frost the cakes until they are completely cool.
- While the cakes are baking, make the frosting, I like to chill it in the refrigerator to give it a chance to firm up before I use it. I use my stand mixer again for this, but you can use electric beaters if you prefer.
- Cream the butter, cream cheese, and strawberry puree (1/4 cup) together, then start adding the sifted sugar, one cup at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often. You should end up with a creamy thick frosting. If it seems too thin, beat in the cornstarch and/or a little more sugar. If it seems too thick, add a bit of lemon juice. Cover with plastic and refrigerate. The frosting will thicken up a little bit as it chills. When you're ready to frost the cake, give the frosting a fresh beating.
- After frosting the cake, keep refrigerated.