Strawberries are one of those foods that taunts me.
A perfectly ripe strawberry is one of the most delicious things on the planet. Perfectly sweet, perfectly tart, perfectly firm.
To sum up – they’re perfect.
But an off strawberry, either not ripe enough or overly ripened is just vile. It’s either completely mushy or way too hard, the sweet/tart balance is way off, and don’t even get me started on those strawberries with those hard green/yellow patches of dense seeds on the bottom. It’s just wrong.
The problem is, in my house (is it just me?), strawberries move from the perfectly ripe stage to the nasty phase in what seems like seconds. Okay, it’s probably more like a day or two, but it happens so quickly! It’s heartbreaking!
So, when I brought home a pint of strawberries and wanted to make a strawberry cake, I knew I had to act fast.
As in, I had to make the cake the same day.
That wasn’t exactly a huge problem for me. I kinda love excuses to bake cakes.
I already had a box of strawberry cake mix in my pantry, so I baked that up in two 9″ round pans, doctoring up the mix just a little bit to make it special.
Then it’s a simple layer of seedless strawberry jam and thinly sliced strawberries for the middle filling.
The frosting is the same cream cheese and whipped cream frosting that I used on my Polka Dot Cake with a hint of strawberry extract, but it was very excitedly requested to top this one as well. I aim to please!
And it really is perfect for this cake. It’s light and summery (can a frosting be summery?) and it really lets the strawberry be the star.
Get it? The star? And I placed the strawberries to make a star on top?
Oi, I’m tired. The BlogHer Food conference wiped me out and we just got home after 13 hours in the car. I’ll fill you in on the conference details soon (there are so many!), but first – sleep.
And cake. Always cake.
For the cake
- 1 box strawberry cake mix
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 tsp strawberry extract, optional
For the filling
- 1/2 cup thin strawberry slices, plus more to garnish the top
- 1/4 cup seedless strawberry jam
For the frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp strawberry extract (or vanilla if you can't find strawberry!)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together cake mix, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 4 eggs.
- Grease two 9" cake pans and pour batter evenly in both.
- Bake for 28-31 minutes. Let cool.
- When cakes are cool, spread strawberry jam on the top of one cake and place strawberry slices in a single layer on top of the jam.
- Set the second cake on top.
- With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar.
- When the mixture is smooth, add strawberry extract and whipping cream.
- Beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form.
- Frost cake and decorate with extra strawberry pieces.