If you prefer recipes that require some effort to prepare but are not so complicated that they are more work than fun, this one is perfect...providing you like strawberries, of course! The homemade cake provides a bit of a culinary challenge, and the frosting that tastes like it's homemade fools your family and friends into thinking it's as made-from-scratch as the cake is!
The star player in this wonderful cake is fresh strawberries, making it an ideal strawberry season treat. It is a nice, unexpected change of pace from traditional strawberry desserts like the All-American strawberry shortcake. The cake has a nice but not overly sweet flavor that is achieved via the use of buttermilk. The frosting recipe I created to accompany the cake is extremely simple to make, and tastes delightful. It provides a nice contrast to the moderately sweet cake, and is a great balance of homemade cake and jazzed-up store-bought frosting. As far as strawberry recipes go, this one really takes the cake!
Simple Strawberry Layer Cake
Yield: 16 servings
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
1 1/4 cups sliced strawberries
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar substitute, such as *Splenda
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring
1 container whipped vanilla frosting
2 tablespoons sugar-free strawberry preserves (sweetened with *Splenda)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Fresh strawberries for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare cake, place sliced strawberries in a food processor; process until smooth.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Place granulated sugar, granulated sugar substitute and butter in a large bowl; beat with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Add pureed strawberries and food coloring; beat just until blended.
4. Divide batter between 2 (8-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for approximately 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
5. To prepare frosting, combine whipped vanilla frosting, strawberry preserves and almond extract. Stir until well blended.
6. Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Garnish cake with fresh strawberries, if desired.
*Note: If you do not like Splenda, you can substitute granulated sugar for the artificial granulated sweetener.