May 3, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Cake - Fantastic

Photo credit: Oxford Press

Am I strange for not loving cake? I mean I make them all the time for other people, but I am not the biggest fan. I am more of a "dessert" person. Things like tiramisu, fruit tart, pecan pie, rice pudding, chocolate trifle, fudge, chocolate get the idea. I would say if I HAD to pick a cake it would be this one... Fresh Strawberry Cake.

The recipe comes from Southern Living, by way of the Cake Doctor. EVERYONE who makes it loves it. It's moist, sweet and full of flavor. My husband (who doesn't love cake either) insists on it for his August birthday each year at the tail end of strawberry season. We usually freeze half of it since it's so rich and then bring it out a few months later when we are missing the taste of fresh strawberries. It still tastes amazing even after being frozen.

You may have heard of the Cake Mix Doctor. She is a Nashville food writer who became famous for doctoring regular cake mixes into extraordinary desserts. She even has a couple of recipe books out now, like The Cake Mix Doctor and The Dinner Doctor (which I have not seen). In the former she has this recipe that is soooooo good you will beg for seconds. Discovering this recipe was a stroke of great luck, because we all love it. It's rich, creamy, bright with fresh strawberries and VERY moist! In fact, it's so moist, it's hazardous if you make it in a warm kitchen because the layers will slide off! Consider yourself warned.
Triple Decker Fresh Strawberry Cake
1 (18.25 oz) white cake mix
1 (3 oz) strawberry jello
4 large eggs
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c flour
1/2 c finely chopped fresh strawberries (washed, dried and hulled)
1 c vegetable oil
1/2 c milk
1 c butter, softened
32 oz powdered sugar, sifted
1 c finely chopped strawberries (washed, dried and hulled)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9" round cake pans. (This means you spray the cooking spray in to the pan and then sprinkle a little flour into the pan. Then you shake it all around so flour sticks to every part of the pan, including the sides).
Beat all cake ingredients at low speed in large bowl for 3 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides as needed. Pour the batter into the three prepared pans. Bake for 23 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes and then shake the cakes loose from the pan. Cool completely on wire racks.

While cooling make the frosting. Beat the butter on medium for 30 seconds until it's fluffy. Add sugar and strawberries, beat on low until mixed. If the frosting seems too wet, add some more sugar. You can also "thicken" it up by putting it in the fridge for a little while so the butter hardens back up. You don't want it to be super stiff because you need to spread it on the cake, but if it's too runny, it will run down the sides of the cake and not stay on.

After the cakes are cool, level the top off so each cake it straight across the top (you can use a big serrated knife). Then frost the bottom, stack another layer, frost it and stack the top. Then frost the side and the top of the cake with remaining frosting. I've never run out of frosting and in fact always have a little the kids can lick when I'm done. Store this cake in the fridge or you'll end up with a runny mess due to the fresh strawberries. Once, I didn't put the cake in the fridge right away and the top half slide right off! I had to carefully put it back on top of the two other layers and then cover my finger marks by smearing the icing back in place! Of course, I HAD to lick my fingers!

No matter what you do, it will "weep" a little due to the fresh strawberries. I often save a few whole strawberries with their tops on to garnish the cake right before serving. This is seriously good cake, so if you take it somewhere, don't expect to bring home leftovers! And if you do take it somewhere, you may want to put some chopsticks through the whole thing to keep it together. Not that I would know anything about it sliding all over the cake carrier while driving it to my family's celebration, naah, not me.


  1. I saw your review of the strawberry cake recipe online, and have a question about it.

    One of the other reviewers said that the 1cup of vegetable oil was way too much. Have you found that to be the case? Or do you use the entire cup of oil? What brand of oil do you use, or does it seem to matter? Do you use a mixer or beat it by hand?

    I don't bake very often, so want to be sure I don't mess up.

    Love your website!


    1. Rossanne,
      I do use the full amount of oil and I usually bake with canola or vegetable oil. I think that much oil makes the cake AMAZINGLY moist. I usually make cakes with my mixer because I’m too lazy to mix by hand. It’s a very forgiving cake to make. Really the only challenge is the icing which can be too moist and juicy and not set up well. Having a cool kitchen, using ONLY the amount of strawberries called for, and letting it set in the fridge I think are the keys to getting the icing just right.

      I’m so glad you asked the questions. Let me know how it goes. I bet you are going to love it.

  2. What a beautiful cake! I am going to make it for sure....just need an occasion with enough people! Sometimes, I replace half of the oil with applesauce when there is so much called for (1 Cup does seem like a lot). I am your newest follower - nice blog!

    1. Let me know how the applesauce sub went. I'd love to hear.

  3. When you freeze this, do you freeze the cake frosted an all... as is... then wrap it up once its frozen? Then when you thaw it just keep it in the fridge to thaw overnight?

    1. I actually freeze the entire cake, icing and all. I usually put it in the freezer for an hour with nothing on it, then I take it out and tightly wrap it up with aluminum foil or plastic wrap (I've had good luck with both). Then when I want to serve it, I take it out and peel off the wrapping and let it sit on the counter for a bit. It's really yummy cold, so sometimes it doesn't defrost completely before it gets eaten!!

    2. THANKS!!! Have you tried or can you make this as cupcakes? I wonder with the paper liningin if it will run the cake part like not peeling off or taking the cake with it? I have made this twice and love it as a cake? But i must admit I made it as a square cake vs the round pans....

    3. I have not made it as cupcakes because I would think paper liners would take so much of the cake, since it's such a wet batter. But maybe it would succeed with the aluminum liners??

      Square pan is a great idea, I bet it's more stable. I'm gonna have to try that one next summer!!

  4. Just reading all the recipe variation from this and other sites. Was thinking about the frosting though. A lot of times I use half butter and half shortening for frosting. I love the butter taste but the "Wilton" way uses just shortening. I figure this holds up better and doesn't melt as easy. I'm going to try it��

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