Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Cream Frosting
Hey there! You may be wondering what this indulgent strawberry layer cake recipe is doing on a paleo-ish food blog. Well…. it dates back to when I wasn’t a paleo-ish blogger, and it’s my FAVORITE white cake for birthday cakes. And it’s apparently one of your favorites, too, because it’s been flying around Pinterest like crazy for the past few years.
Eventually I’d like to clean it up and make it (at least) gluten and dairy-free, but in the meantime it’ll stay and have a home here on my blog as totally-worth-it recipe we’d indulge in. It makes a pretty spectacular birthday cake.
My little girl turned two a couple of weeks ago, and we had a bunch of her little friends over to celebrate (as well as their families. It was quite the shin-dig.) I needed a large cake so everyone could have some, and after the chocolate cake fiasco* from her first birthday, I wanted to try something in the fruity spectrum. Plus Sophie’s crazy about strawberries so I thought she’d love this strawberry layer cake.
*Last year she ate chocolate cake by handfuls, broke out in a rash from getting it all over herself, then threw it all up an hour later. Happy 1st Birthday!
Hint: Refrigerating the cake for a few hours makes it LOTS easier to cut into layers. I also use a long bread knife which makes it easer, too.
This was the first time since my cake decorating class over a year ago that I used my frosting bag and tips. Writing on cake is not my forte. Don’t even talk to me about cursive — think: Jackson Pollack. It’s a hot mess. Truly.
Sophie is also crazy about butterflies, and those weren’t too hard to make. The cake turned out delicious!! I think it’s one of the best vanilla cakes I’ve ever had that wasn’t a pound cake. The frosting was fluffy from the whipped cream and had a hint of strawberry cream cheese flavor. After we refrigerated the leftovers and ate it the next day we decided that it was even better chilled.
I tried desperately to get a good shot after the cake was ravaged. It looks like someone got to this side with a fork. *twiddles thumbs and looks away*
[Updated 5/2018] This vanilla cake has been turned into all kinds of things over the years — a coconut-frosted cake for my grandpa’s 80th birthday, a blueberry My Little Pony version for my 5-year-old, and a pink ombre rose cake for that same girl’s 9th birthday.
More recently (May ’18) it became a multi-colored edible version of Hogwarts. My 11-year-old (again, same girl) desperately wanted a Hogwart’s Birthday Cake for her Harry Potter Birthday Party, so I happily obliged…
I’m not a cake decorator, so don’t ask me for detailed instructions for this. I used two kinds of ice cream cones for the turrets (the bottoms trimmed on a couple to make them different heights), and various shades of gray vanilla buttercream and Wilton’s silver/black sprinkle pack. Oh, and silver food spray, because when we veer off the paleo path, sometimes we go far. #yolo
See those chocolate frogs?? So cute, right? I just got an inexpensive frog mold on Amazon and used good quality melting chocolate.
The inside layers were colors to represent all of the Hogwarts houses and layered with chocolate buttercream. This was probably the best job I did at getting all of the layers evenly sized. I used a 7-inch round pan and put 450g of batter in each layer.
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2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup seedless strawberry jam
3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
3 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
7 large eggs
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
6 Tablespoons plus 1/3 c seedless strawberry jam
2 1/4 pounds strawberries, hulled, sliced (about 6 cups), divided
- For the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until smooth. You'll probably want to use an electric mixer for this so you don't end up with lumps. Stop every now and then to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in sugar, then jam.
- Beat cream in a separate, chilled, bowl until peaks form. Fold whipped cream into frosting. Cover; chill for a couple of hours until it's firm enough to spread.
- For the cake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans with 2-inch high sides.
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add sour cream, and beat for 30 seconds. Add flour mixture in three additions, beating to blend after each addition.
- Divide batter into prepared pans. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
- Run a sharp knife around the edges of the pans, then turn cakes out onto a rack to cool completely. (You may even want to refrigerate them for a couple of hours to make this next step easier.)
- Using a serrated knife, divide each layer in half horizontally. Place one half, cut-side down, on a cake plate. Spread 2 T of strawberry jam over the cake, then spread 3/4 c of the frosting over the jam. Arrange 3/4 c of the sliced strawberries on top of the frosting in a single layer. Repeat two more times with cake layer, jam, frosting, and strawberries. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down.
- Spread two cups of frosting over the top and sides of the cake in a thin layer, then frost with remaining frosting. Stir remaining jam to loosen, then spoon teaspoonfuls onto the top and sides of the cake. Use the back of a spoon to swirl jam decoratively into the frosting.
- As you can see, I used a 9x13 cake pan and did three layers instead of four. This makes a LOT of cake. (Which seems to justify the pound of butter (between the cake and the frosting) and 7 eggs, no?) It fed well over 20 people at Sophie's party. It does take longer to bake that way. I think I baked it for an hour and 5 minutes or so. Begin the toothpick tests at around 55 minutes, though.
- Because I decorated her cake, I didn't swirl jam into the frosting.