Cake 31: Strawberry Cake from Scratch, Chocolate Frosting

I got the most phenomenal, large strawberries from Whole Foods this week. Thusly, a strawberry cake. You would be astonished at how many strawberry cake recipes call for a white cake mix, and also how many strawberry cake recipes call for either strawberry Jell-O or gelatin. I’m a vegetarian and don’t use gelatin. Also, this blog is about making cakes from scratch. So I did some research and worked out this recipe for a strawberry cake recipe from scratch, without gelatin, and without boxed cake mix. Normally I would go au natural with the cake, but I wanted a brilliant pink color so it would contrast strongly with my chocolate frosting, so I added a few drops of red food coloring, one at a time until I got the color I wanted.

Strawberry Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups fine cake flour, sifted
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon strawberry extract or strawberry liqueur
  • 1 cup milk or vanilla soy milk, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup fresh strawberry puree (from about 18 ounces of strawberries blended in a food processor until smooth, and then a few spoonfuls of sugar to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • A few drops of red food coloring

Strawberry Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Sift together the flour and baking powder in a bowl. To get fresh strawberry puree, cut the stems off of the strawberries, blend in a food processor until smooth. Pour into a bowl and stir in a spoonful of sugar until dissolved, adding sugar to taste. In your kitchen mixer, beat the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Crack the eggs one at a time into a bowl before adding to the cake recipe in case you have to fish out pieces of shell. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add the fresh strawberry puree and strawberry liqueur and blend well.  Gradually add the dry ingredients mixture and vanilla soy milk a bit at a time, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Zest about a teaspoon of lemon into the mix, and give the lemon a quick light squeeze to add lemon juice to the batter – be careful not to over-do it and not to get seeds in the batter. Mix just until blended. Prepare two 8″ or 9″ round cake pans and pour the strawberry cake batter in. Bake in your 325-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the cake springs back when gently pressed and your tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 5 tablespoons milk

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe Directions

In a metal bowl over a pan with simmering water, creating a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and let it rest about 15 minutes. In your kitchen mixer, beat the softened butter until creamy, alternating adding the powdered sugar and milk a little at a time. Add the melted chocolate and continue beating until smooth. Frost your two-layer strawberry cake from scratch and garnish with a large, fanned strawberry! Sorry I consistently fail to show you a well-decorated cake, but you get the idea! I just don’t have the cake decorating talent.

Cake 27: Banana Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

My Grandma Cochran asked if I had a recipe for a cake using bananas and chocolate, and all I had was my recipe for chocolate chip banana bread, so it inspired me to make this two-layer banana cake with chocolate buttercream frosting! (Which is also an excuse to practice cake decorating skills from the cake decorating class I took.) I put about 20% of the batter into a jar to make a jar cake to send my husband in Afghanistan.

Banana Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Banana Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prepare two 9″ round baking pans. In one bowl, mash the ripe bananas and lemon juice together. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. In your kitchen mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture was light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla. Alternate adding the dry ingredients mixture and the buttermilk a bit at a time, starting and finishing with dry ingredients. Add the mashed banana goop and beat just until mixed in. Pour the banana cake batter into the prepared cake pans, and bake four about 45 minutes, or until your cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool the cakes completely. I’ve heard about popping this cake in the freezer while you prepare the chocolate buttercream frosting. I tried it out and thought it really helped the icing process.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe Ingredients

  • 8 ounces of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Recipe Directions

In a stainless bowl over a saucepan with simmering water (creating a double boiler) melt the chocolate, stirring constantly so it doesn’t scald or burn, until it’s smooth. Remove from heat and cool for about 15 minutes. In your kitchen mixer, beat the softened butter until creamy. Alternate adding the powdered sugar and milk in small parts, starting and finishing with the powdered sugar. Fold in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract, and mix until smooth. I recommend working with the chocolate buttercream pretty quickly so it doesn’t cool on the cake and get difficult to work with. Garnish with whatever seems tasty – banana chips, chocolate chips or chocolate curls, I used some walnuts since I had them handy.

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