Fresh Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Fresh Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves: 10 to 12

I can’t imagine a spring birthday without a strawberry cake. It has been the cake of choice for my girls, and my guys love it, too. And we’re all in favor of this gluten-free version. I think it’s even more intensely strawberry flavored. Plus it’s pretty, fancy, fun–all the right elements for a great party cake.

For the cake:

  • Vegetable oil spray, for misting the pans
  • 2 teaspoons rice flour, for dusting the pans
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) fresh strawberries
  • 1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry gelatin (half of a 3-ounce package)
  • ½ cup vegatable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanila extract
  • Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (below)

For the frosting:

  • 1 large strawberry
  • 4 ounces (half of an 8-ounce package) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

To make the cake:

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly mist two 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray, then dust them with rice flour. Shake out the excess rice flour and set the pans aside.
  2. Rinse and drain the strawberries, then pat them dry with paper towels. Select the 6 prettiest berries for garnish and set them aside. Set aside one large strawberry to use in the Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting. Cut the green caps off the remaining berries and mash the berries with a fork or place when in a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth puree, about 10 pulses. You need ¾ cup of pureed strawberries.
  3. Place the cake mix and strawberry gelatin in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the strawberry puree, oil, eggs, and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth, 1 to 1 ½ minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops with the rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side.
  4. Bake the cake layers until they are golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer the cake pans to wire racks and let the cake layers cool for 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake layer and give the pans a good shake to loosen the cakes. Invert each layer onto a wire rack, then invert it again onto another rack so that the layers are right side up. Let the layers cool completely, about 20 minutes longer.
  5. Meanwhile, make the Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
  6. To assemble the cake, transfer one later, right side up, to a serving plate. Spread the top with about 1 cup of the frosting. Place the second cake layer, right side up, on top of the first layer and frost the top and side of the cake, working with smooth, clean strokes. To make slicing easier, place the uncovered cake in the refrigerator until the frosting sets, 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Just before serving, garnish the cake with the 6 whole berries or slice the berries and pile them in the center of the cake. Or slice the berries lengthwise 2 or 3 times, slicing up to but not through the green stem end. Gently spread out the berries to form fans and arrange these on the top of the cake.

To make the frosting:

  1. Makes: 3 cups, enough to frost a 2-layer cake, a 13 by 9-inch cake, or 24 or more cupcakes.
  2. Prep: 15 minutes
  3. Rinse and pat the strawberry dry. Cut the green cap off the strawberry and chip the berry into small pieces. Place the chopped strawberry in a medium-size mixing bowl and mash it with a fork until pureed. Add the cream cheese and butter and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, 20 seconds. Stop the machine and add the confectioners’ sugar. Beat with the mixer on low speed until the confectioners’ sugar is well incorporated, 15 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat the frosting until fluffy, 2 minutes longer. The frosting can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered. Let the frosting return to room temperature before using.

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