Company is coming and summer is the perfect time for strawberry cake. With much to do around the house, I opted for the simplest short cut….boxed white cake mix.
For the cake:
2 boxes Moist White Cake Mix
1 Carton Fresh Strawberries
1 Jar Strawberry Preserves
3 Sticks softened unsalted butter
6 c. Confectioners sugar
4 – 6 tsp Vanilla
2- 4 Tbsp milk
Pink food coloring gel
Pink edible pearls
I cannot stress enough that preheating the oven is NOT the shortcut you want to make. PREHEAT oven to the temperature indicated on the cake mix.
Grease and flour 3 round cake pans & set aside. Hull strawberries, finely dice and set aside. Prepare cake mixes as per instructions on the box.
Add just enough flour to the strawberries to lightly coat, about 3 Tbsps. (This will keep strawberries evenly distributed throughout the cake instead of settling at the bottom.) Fold strawberries into the cake mix.
Fill the cake pans to 3/4 full then bounce the pan a few times on the counter to bring air pockets to the surface. Bake according to package. Once done, remove cakes from pans to cool completely on wire racks.
Whip the butter with the vanilla until creamed. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until it comes together and is creamy, adding milk a Tbsp at a time when it becomes to thick. Once you’ve achieved a creamy spreadable consistancy, remove 1/3 to a seperate bowl and set aside.
Place the strawberry preserves in a sauce pan and warm over low heat until just smooth then remove from heat.
If your cakes are domed, slice the top off to even with a bread knife. Spread thin layer of frosting over the first cake. Fill a piping bag with round tip. Pipe a ring around the outside edge of the cake. This is called building a dam or bank. Spoon preserves inside the bank and spread evenly. Top with next cake and repeat. Top with final cake. With piping bag, run a thick line of frosting between the layers then smooth the frosting lightly around the sides. Frost the top layer normally.
To the reserved frosting add a small drop of coloring. I used only the tip of a toothpick. I folded this gently to leave streaks of color instead of solid. Fill a piping bag using a star tip. Start piping at the center and twist the wrist in a circle to form the rosettes the placed a sugar pearl on each then a few on the top.
My theory in cake decorating is the same as with anything else…more isn’t always better. More, is not only just more, sometimes it’s overwhelming. The “naked” cake is my preference. I’m not a fan of too much frosting as it can overpower a beautifully flavored cake and tends to be too rich. A scantily frosted cake is simple elegance.