We’re a little late for this May Day cake, but no matter – it’s perfect for strawberry season. Posting date is May 22!
Strawberry Supreme Cake
Author: Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito
Yield: 1 8-inch (20-cm) three-layer cake • 10 to 12 servings
For the Strawberry Cake
- 8 ounces (225 g) hulled strawberries (about 2 cups)
- 2½ cups (315 g) cake flour
- ¾ cup (90 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (240 ml) ice water
- ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
- ½ cup (120 ml) well-shaken buttermilk
- 4 ounces (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pans
- ½ cup (100 g) vegetable shortening, at room temperature
- 1¾ cups (350 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
For the Vanilla Frosting
- 1½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- 1⁄3 cup (40 g) all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups (360 ml) whole milk
- 1⁄3 cup (75 ml) heavy cream
- 12 ounces (3 sticks/340 g) unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into small pieces
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Red food dye or gel
For the Strawberry Whipped-Cream Filling
- ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (60 g) finely chopped hulled strawberries
For the Assembly
- ½ cup (160 g) strawberry preserves
- Whole strawberries
Make the Strawberry Cake
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Butter three 8-inch (20-cm) round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour and knock out the excess flour. Place the strawberries in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until they are just short of a smooth puree (all the better if a few rough strawberry chunks are still evident). Set aside.
- Sift both flours, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ice water, milk, and buttermilk.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, add the egg, and beat until just combined.
- In three separate additions, turning the mixer to low to add the ingredients then up to medium for a few seconds to incorporate, add half the flour mixture, then the ice-water mixture, then the remaining flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar just until soft peaks form; do not overbeat. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter with a rubber spatula. Fold in the reserved strawberry puree.
- Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely. Remove the parchment.
Make the Vanilla Frosting
- In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened to the consistency of a light pudding, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool, at least 7 to 9 minutes (you can speed up the process by pressing bags of frozen berries or corn against the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl). Reduce the speed to low and add the butter, a few chunks at a time, every 20 to 30 seconds while the mixer is constantly stirring; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vanilla. Mix until just combined. Add a few drops of red food dye or gel and mix until satisfied with the overall color; we suggest a pale pink— not a hot pink—because we think pale pink is supremely elegant. If the frosting is too soft (i.e., it doesn’t seem like it will hold when applied), place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.
Make the Strawberry Whipped-cream filling
- Put a metal bowl and whisk or, if you prefer, the clean bowl of a standing mixer and the whisk attachment into the freezer to chill for a few minutes.
- Right before assembling the cake, pour the cream into the chilled bowl and beat with the whisk for about 1 minute (alternatively, beat on medium speed using a standing mixer). Sprinkle the confectioners’ sugar on top of the cream and continue whisking vigorously (or on high speed in the bowl of a standing mixer) until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and whisk until just incorporated.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chopped strawberries.
Assemble the Cake
- Place the strawberry preserves in a small bowl and stir or whisk to loosen them.
- Scoop about 1 cup (170 g) of the frosting into a piping bag fitted with the largest tip. Place one cooled cake layer on a turntable (or a serving platter if you don’t own a turntable). Trim the top to create a flat surface, and pipe a small border of frosting around the top perimeter of the cake. Spread half of the preserves into an even layer within the border, then top the frosting and preserves with half of the strawberry whipped cream. Spread into an even layer, top with the next cake layer, and refrigerate for about 5 minutes to set before proceeding.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator and trim the second cake layer, then add the frosting border, remaining preserves, and remaining whipped cream as before. Place the third layer on top and refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Trim the final layer for a completely flat top, or leave it domed for an old-school appearance. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake and place it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up. (This is known as crumb coating and will help to keep loose cake crumbs under control when you frost the outside of the cake.)
- Frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. Decorate the top border with the whole strawberries.
- Refrigerate the cake for about 5 minutes to set it before serving.
How to store: This cake will keep beautifully in a cake saver in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Let the chilled cake sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.