Monday, March 21, 2016

Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Just a few weeks ago, I was out in Dallas for work and had some time to grab lunch with my older brother, who lives in Addison. I end up in Dallas quite a bit for work and Chris always takes me to the yummiest restaurants (Porch, Smoke, and Savor, to name a few) and on this occasion, even took the time to find one of Dallas' best cake shops, The Cake Bar. 

Of course I wanted to order a slice of everything, but narrowed it down to two - chocolate with chocolate frosting and strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting (a customer favorite, I was told). I'm typically a chocolate lover, but this time (to my surprise) I was blown away by the strawberry cake. It was perfection: flavorful and moist... and I just couldn't stop shoveling it into my mouth. I knew immediately that I had to recreate this cake so I could enjoy it at home any time I wanted. 

I've been looking at strawberry cake recipes and reading reviews for each one since I returned home. Based on my research, I knew I wanted to use flavored gelatin powder because it would give the cake an added punch of strawberry flavor that strawberry puree on its own didn't seem to achieve in most recipes. The Cake Bar cake had such a great strawberry flavor, I'm convinced they use the flavored gelatin too. I'd love to find out someday! 

One reviewer also talked about dividing the egg yolks and whites, beating the egg whites to stiff peaks and then folding them in to the batter at the very end. I was very intrigued with this technique, so I gave it a try and was very pleased with the result. The cake turned out super moist and fluffy, not dense like so many other strawberry cakes do. The sifted cake flour also helps to create a light cake.

So, as far as the cake goes, I'm giving it two thumbs up. I'm super happy with how it turned out and will be putting it in my arsenal of cake recipes.

As for the filling, I'll be honest, I didn't nail it. Don't get me wrong, it tastes great (I wouldn't share it if it didn't), but it wasn't quite the same as The Cake Bar filling. I made my filling a bit of a gelatin-like filling with fresh strawberries, but the more I think about it, the more I think The Cake Bar just used diced fresh strawberries. (I desperately need my brother to fly out here with a slice of that cake so I can compare it side by side, taste after taste.) So, try out the filling and let me know what you think. In my opinion, I don't even think the cake needs the filling. I loved the cake and frosting just on their own. I'm curious if you think it's needed or not. 

And a quick note about the frosting - I want to eat it morning, noon and night. It's SO good! It's my go-to cream cheese frosting, based off the one I use for the Honey Pear cake, and I use it with so many cakes - including a dark chocolate wedding cake I just did this past weekend. Yum!

Can't wait to hear what you think!

Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: one 3-layer, 8-inch cake or one 2-layer, 9-inch cake


For the Strawberry Cake
2 cups granulated sugar
1 (3 oz.) package of strawberry flavored Jell-O
1 cup butter, room temperature
4 eggs, yolks and whites divided, room temperature
2 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted before measured
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup strawberry puree, made from frozen sweetened strawberries

For the Strawberry Filling
3 cups chopped fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch

For the Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese
5-6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

(this is enough frosting to use as a filling too, but if you plan to use the strawberry filling, you can half this recipe or save the rest for a batch of cupcakes!)

For the Strawberry Cake
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans or three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, then place parchment rounds on the bottom and spray again, followed by a flour dusting.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, beat the four egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy.
5. Add the four egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
6. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk and strawberry puree, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until combined.
7. Gently fold in the egg whites until no white streaks are visible.
8. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. I used three 8-inch pans and my cooking time was 22 minutes. Baking time should be between 22-25 minutes for either the 8-inch or 9-inch pans, but make sure to check on your cakes around 22 minutes, inserting a toothpick into the top of the cake (should come out clean or with just a few crumbs) or gently tapping the top of your cake (shouldn't jiggle, but instead, bounce back up when done).
9. Let cool in your pans for 10 minutes and then invert onto wire cooling racks until completely cooled.

For the Strawberry Filling
1. Combine the sugar and corn starch in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until combined.
2. Add the chopped strawberries and stir until the sugar mixture starts to dissolve and the strawberries start to juice.
3. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and start to thicken, about 3 minutes. Then, turn the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
4. Pour the mixture into a heat-proof bowl and let cool to room temperature or store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use. Can be made ahead of time.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting
1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and cream cheese and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
2. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until incorporated. 
3. Keeping the mixer on low, add the cream, vanilla and salt.
4. Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat the frosting for 3-5 minutes, or until it is light in color (almost white) and texture.
5. To remove air bubbles from the frosting, use a wooden spoon to stir and push out the air bubbles. 

When assembling your cake, make sure to pipe a rim of frosting around each layer to protect the filling from oozing out the sides. Additionally, after applying a thin crumb coat, chill the cake for 30 minutes in the refrigerator to set before frosting completely.


  1. I love seeing your cute face in the photos! I'm anxious to try this out. I'm wondering about using the cream cheese frosting mixed with diced strawberries for the filling instead of what you tried out here.... I'll let you know how it turns out!

  2. Ohhh my. Although these are PICTURES, I can just TASTE the magic, the LOVE that went into this cake.
    I think that even my home is filled with the baking smell right now!!!!
    Thank you VERY much for this post, I will be making some cake now . . . . =)

  3. I love strawberry anything and am excited and nervous to try this cake, which I realize is silly, but I want it to be as beautiful as yours. No, I want it to be yours. Can you come bake me a cake?

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  5. very nice post.. thanks for sharing with us .

  6. Yummy, that is perfect strawberry cheese cake, thanks for sharing the recipe with us, will give it a try for sure.

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