So, a pink birthday it was!"
For her cake, I decided on a classic white cake, with a strawberry filling and my whipped vanilla buttercream... in pink, of course. Something simple and classic.
This particular white cake is very light in texture and kind of resembles the fluffy white cake mix that can be so hard to mimic in a homemade version, minus the added preservatives and chemicals.
You'll notice there are a lot of egg whites and only one whole egg. All the egg whites help to create a light and fluffy texture and ensure the cake doesn't turn yellow.
And because I'm a visual person, I love seeing pictures of the different steps in the baking process to make sure I'm doing everything right. So, here are some pictures that might help you along the way.
The texture of the dry ingredients when you've added all of the cold butter.
The consistency of the batter when all the wet ingredients are added.
To ensure your filling doesn't ooze out the sides of your cake, make sure to pip a circle of frosting around the edge of the cake to create a barrier for the filling.
The birthday girl and all her pink!
My second cake, on the left, is a dark chocolate cake, with the same strawberry filling and frosting as the white cake.
Fluffy White Cake with Strawberry Filling and Whipped Vanilla Buttercream
Yield: one 8-inch, 6-layer cake (I did a 6-inch, three layer cake and baked for slightly less time)
For the Fluffy White Cake (by Sweetapolita):
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 whole egg
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour, sifted
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 24 even pieces
For the Strawberry Filling:
3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
For the Whipped Vanilla Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
For the Fluffy White Cake:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease, line with parchament and flour your pans.
2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, whole egg, 1/4 cup milk and the vanilla. Set aside.
3. In a bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed for 30 seconds.
4. Add the butter one piece at a time, about every 10 seconds, ensuring it's cold. Continue to mix on low speed until the mixture is a fine and crumbly texture. Add 3/4 cup remaining milk and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches, mixing until light and fluffy, about four minutes. Fold once or twice to ensure the batter at the bottom of the bowl is incorporated.
5. Divide batter evenly among your pans, spreading evenly with a small offset palette knife.
6. Bake until a cake tester or toothpick comes out with a few crumbs when inserted into the center, about 30 minutes (closer to 24 minutes if you're doing the 6-inch pans). Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and then set the timer for 5 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn the cakes back up so the tops are up and cool completely.
7. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to two days, refrigerator for up to five days, or freezer for up to 2 months.
For the Strawberry Filling:
1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
2. Stir and smash the straberries with the back of a spoon or a fork.
3. Allow mixture to reach a boil, while stirring occasionally so the sides don't burn.
4. Once the mixture reaches a boil, turn the temperature to low and let simmer and thicken for another 5 minutes. Cool in the refrigerator while you work on the other components.
For the Whipped Vanilla Buttercream:
1. Cream the butter for about 30 seconds.
2. Add sifted confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time, mixing a little in between each addition.
3. With mixer on medium speed, add whipping cream, vanilla extract and salt.
4. Continue to mix on medium speed for 6-8 minutes, until the frosting is fairly white in color and light and fluffy in texture.