This fresh strawberry cake is bursting with summery berries-and-cream flavor. The light pink cake layers are tinted with pureed fresh strawberries, slathered with fluffy vanilla buttercream frosting and topped with lots of fresh strawberries. For a retro look, the side of the cake isn’t frosted. The cake layers and the vanilla frosting can be made ahead and refrigerated, but it’s best to assemble the cake on the day you plan to serve it to keep the fresh strawberries at their best.
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2 1/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
4 large egg whites
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons milk
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
How to Make It
Step 1 Make the cake layers
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray two 8-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line the pans with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift the cake flour with the baking powder and salt. In a food processor, puree the strawberries until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes; you should have ¾ cup of puree. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites with the milk and vanilla.
In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the strawberry puree to the bowl and beat at moderate speed until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients and the egg white mixture in 3 alternating batches.
Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and let cool in the pans for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack; peel off and discard the parchment paper. Let the cakes cool completely.
Step 5 Make the buttercream
In a medium bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt and beat at low speed until just incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and vanilla and beat at moderate speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes more.
Step 6 ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
Place one cake on a platter. Spread half of the buttercream in an even layer on top of the cake. Arrange strawberries slices in concentric circles on top of the buttercream. Cover with the second cake and spread the remaining buttercream on the top. Decorate with the remaining strawberries.
The cake layers and the buttercream frosting can be refrigerated separately overnight. Bring the buttercream to room temperature before using.
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