This is a fresh and flavorful cake that is perfect for birthday parties or spring/summer holidays such as Easter. The original recipe is from a fabulous book entitled, Cakes by Melissa: Life Is What You Bake It by Melissa Ben-Ishay, which is filled with great recipes for cakes, frostings, fillings, and toppings! I decided to combine this strawberry cake with her scrumptious recipe for sugar cookie dough which is perfect for nibbling since it contains no eggs. I could eat this sugar cookie dough ALL DAY LONG! The recipe makes a lot of sugar cookie dough, more than you need for this recipe, so you can either halve the recipe or tightly wrap the leftovers and freeze for later use.
The wonderful thing about this cake is that you don’t have to make it strawberry flavored, the recipe calls for a homemade fruit puree for the flavoring so you can feel free to play around and experiment with whatever fruit you like best! Try mixed berries, pineapple, peaches, or even mango! The possibilities for this cake are seemingly endless. For the frosting, I used a swiss buttercream since it tints well and isn’t overly sweet.
One last note, before making your cake be sure to bring all of the refrigerated ingredients to room temperature. Cold ingredients don’t blend as well and subsequently won’t form a proper emulsion. It’s tempting to overlook this step but please don’t as it’s really quite necessary in order to create a fluffy, light baked good. Enjoy!
For the cake
- 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 3/4 cups strawberry puree*
- sanding sugar, for decoration
For the sugar cookie dough
- 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease two 9″ round baking pans or line the pans with parchment paper and butter the paper.
With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 1 minute on high-speed, then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the vanilla extract then add the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl midway through.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and sea salt. In another bowl, stir together the milk and the strawberry puree.
With the mixer on low-speed, add half of the flour mixture. When it’s mostly incorporated add half of the milk mixture. Add the remainder of the dry and wet ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Stop mixing as soon as you have a smooth batter.
Divide the batter equally between the two pans and bake until the middle of the cake feels springy when you gently press with your finger, about 35-40 minutes.
While the cakes are baking, make the buttercream frosting and sugar cookie dough. To make the sugar cookie dough, using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter on high for about a minute. Add the vanilla and whip to just incorporate. Add the sugar and whip for another minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour and salt and whip just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl one last time.
Allow the cakes to completely cool on wire racks before icing and decorating. Frost the layer cake then break off small pieces of the sugar cookie dough and assemble them around the outside edge of the cake. Sprinkle lightly with sanding sugar. Extra sugar cookie dough can be wrapped tightly and stored in the refrigerator for use in other recipes.
*To make the strawberry puree – Clean and hull 3 1/2 cups (a little more than a pint) of fresh strawberries. Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor, adding a little granulated sugar if the berries are a bit too tart.