4.12.2011

Tried & True Tuesday: Strawberry Vanilla Cake

. Finally, a 'season' has officially begun!  And not just any season, but strawberry season!  Strawberries are by far one of my favorite fruits to bake with.  They're so flavorful, versatile, and just plain delicious!

I felt like there was a huge lull between Christmas until now.  I love seasonal baking but there was no real 'season' during that time.  Darn snow.  So I seemed to have filled those few months with loads of chocolate goodies (and I loved every  moment of it!) but I'm welcoming with open arms the beginning of growing seasons.  And oh boy, I can't wait until the farmer's market begins!  But that's another post, another day.

So, it's strawberry season and for my first strawberry post I'm offering up a professional recipe paired with a little filling by me!  Okay, so the filling can't even be classified as a creation but I'll take what I can get.  Anywho, when I made this cake last spring, I felt like it needed a little pizzazz and fresh strawberry filling was the perfect solution.

The professional part of this recipe (so basically the ENTIRE thing) is a fantastically moist vanilla cake recipe from the Magnolia Bakery recipe book.  The cakes sandwich a filling of both strawberry preserves and fresh strawberries and then the entire cake is frosted with a wonderful, rich, vanilla buttercream (also from Magnolia, of course).  So simple, so easy, yet so irresistible!... And pretty ☺ .

Strawberry Vanilla Cake
from Magnolia Bakery


Ingredients:
Cake:
1-1/2 c. self-rising flour
1-1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 c. sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Filling:
1 lb. fresh strawberries, sliced
1 c. strawberry preserves

Vanilla Buttercream:
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  Grease very well two 9-inch round cake pans.  In small bowl, combine flours; set aside.
  2. In large bowl, on medium speed, cream butter until smooth.  Add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with milk and vanilla extract.  With each addition, beat until ingredients are incorporated (but do not over beat).  Divide batter evenly between cake pans.  Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
  3. Remove cakes from oven and let cool in pans 15 minutes.  Unmold cakes from pans and let cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, for frosting, place butter in large mixing bowl.  Add 4 cups of powdered sugar and then milk and vanilla extract.  On medium speed, beat until smooth and creamy (about 3 to 5 minutes).
  5. Gradually add remaining powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes) until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency (you may not need to add all of the sugar).  
  6. For filling, combine the strawberries and preserves in small bowl and stir with a spoon to combine.
  7. Place one cake layer on serving platter.  Spread filling evenly over top of first cake.  Top with second cake.  Frost cake as desired.
Yield: 8 servings

*My Notes:
  • The original recipe from the Magnolia Bakery recipe book is actually for their Vanilla Cupcakes, but the cake directions above were also included.  If you want to make this creation into lovely cupcakes, divide the batter between 12 muffin cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  Voila, cupcakes!  And if you do want to use my filling, you could try piping it into the center of the cupcakes or slicing the cupcakes in half and putting the filling in the center (like a mini cake version).  The variations are endless, so mix it up if you'd like!
  • Make sure to grease the cake pans VERY well.  When I made this, I had a little problem with some of the cake sticking and I wouldn't want you to have to eat pieces of the cake out of the pan (wink, wink).
  • This is a ridiculously perfect base recipe!  As in, if you aren't really feeling the strawberries, go ahead and switch out the filling with any type of fruit you'd like!  

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