I love strawberries! Raw strawberries, strawberry shortcake, strawberry cake. There’s so many options! About a month back I got the chance to make a strawberry cake for a baby shower. I was super excited to try my hand at a cake with fresh fruit incorporated and I was going to try out fondant for the first time! What I didn’t anticipate was going through THREE cake recipes before I finally found one that worked. Don’t believe me? Here’s a picture of my first attempt.
There were two common issues I ran into when making this recipe. The cake was either too wet or it was too dense. My hope going into this was to make the cake entirely from scratch, but after three failed attempts I said “screw it” and decided to try out one of the more common themed strawberry cake recipes I found. What I’m referring to is the idea of using a boxed cake mix and then adding other elements in. When I was originally searching for recipes that’s all I could find! I was getting so frustrated because I wanted a completely scratch cake, but it turns out that was the best option!
For this cake, I decided to make a vanilla buttercream to go with it because that’s the recommended type of frosting when using fondant. For your own purposes, feel free to use regular vanilla or even cream cheese frosting!
Cake—This will make 1 9×13 cake
- 1 box Betty Crocker French Vanilla Cake mix
- 1 box strawberry jello mix
- 1/2 c finely chopped strawberries
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 c vegetable oil
- 1/4 c water
- 1 c unsalted butter, softened
- 5 c confectioners sugar
- 1/4 c heavy cream
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350
- Spread a thin layer of butter on the bottom and edges of the pan. Add some flour to the pan and tap the sides to spread it so there is an even coating of flour
- For even more protection, put a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan
- Wash and finely chop the strawberries
- I used the food chopper attachment for my hand emulsifier
- If you use this method, don’t over puree the strawberries. There shouldn’t be too much liquid; it should be mostly solid
- In a large bowl, mix together cake mix and jello mix
- Add in egg, oil and water. Mix until combined.
- Fold in the strawberries
- The batter will be very pink! If it’s still not bright enough for you, add food coloring when you add the strawberries.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center
- Do not open the oven while it’s baking! Leave it shut until you check it at 20 minutes
- Allow the can to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely
- I put a piece of plastic wrap on my cooling rack before transferring the cake to prevent it from sticking to the rack when taking it off
- Allow the butter to soften at room temperature for 1-2 hours
- Add butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until creamy
- Add 4 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar, heavy cream and vanilla.
- Beat on low until roughly combined
- For this, I would turn the machine on for about 10s and then off and then back on. I kept doing this until the sugar was mixed enough that when I turned it on, I didn’t get a cloud of sugar puffing out of the mixer
- Beat on high speed for 3 full minutes
- Add more sugar if too thin or more heavy cream if too thick
- Taste the frosting. If it’s too sweet, add 1/8 tsp salt
- Scrape the sides and then beat again for 1 minute to make sure everything is fully incorporated
- Taste the frosting and add more salt if still too sweet
- I only needed 1/8 tsp
I am so happy with how this cake came out, especially since it was my first time using fondant! For this cake, I used Wilton’s White Fondant. Making the colors was a big process and it required a lot of gloves and arm strength. In case anyone is wondering, the mother is a huge fan of I Love Lucy so that’s how I got the idea of making it look like her iconic outfit. Her daughter’s name is going to be Lucille or LuLu for short so I personalized the apron with the babies name. Also, when scrolling on Pinterest for “Baby shower cake ideas” I saw the cute little onesie cake and figured that would be perfect. Everything came together into a beautiful and delicious cake!
Test Kitchen: Opinion and Changes
I found this final cake recipe on Food Network. Since it was my 4th try, I wanted a semi-reliable source rather than a random blog I found. The only change I made was using French Vanilla cake rather than White Cake mix. I think that the vanilla was definitely a good call since you don’t really add any other flavoring to the cake besides the fresh strawberries.
The frosting recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Trustful ol’ Sally always got what I need! For this recipe, no changes were required, but I did add in the recipe extra mixing of the frosting. After the 3 minutes, although my frosting was nice and fluffy, there was still butter stuck to the bottom of the mixer that wasn’t incorporated so I mixed it further to get a better consistency.
How do you feel about fruit in cake? Let me know in the comments below!