A 4th of July treasure! For the Strawberry Cake with Whipped Cream, white cake is topped with fresh strawberry puree, then frosted with stabilized whipped cream. Gelatin is the key for the puree and the cream.
I’ll get it out there right now: this was supposed to be a post about a strawberry marble cake.
I love marble cakes, usually using yellow and chocolate cake for a strong marble contrast effect. I thought with strawberry, we’d be sitting so pretty and I’d (I mean, we’d) be so satisfied.
After testing galore, using freeze-dried strawberry powder (no flavor, poor color), strawberry jam (sank to bottom), strawberry puree (weak flavor, weak color) . . . I can’t recommend a strawberry marble, or even an all-strawberry cake, made from scratch. There isn’t near enough flavor in the strawberry batter, and not near enough visual pink-white glory in the marble to make the flavor part less of a care.
What matters about this cake the most is what’s on the outside. Dan would say that’s always what matters most, with any cake: the topping, the frosting.
Fresh, in-season extraordinary strawberry flavor is a thrill here via the fresh strawberry puree topping (and why we can call this a strawberry cake), and the light, airy-yet-rich joy that is whipped cream—a strawberry’s bestest friend.
Both require a little something extra, which I discovered is the special thing to know and do with summer cake-baking: the addition of gelatin (not Jell-O), to give body and longevity to the berry puree and to stabilize the whipped cream so it doesn’t melt. Serve right from the fridge, or if you’re taking along to a party or pot-luck, you’ll worry not at all because the berry topping, and the whipped cream will be as sound after sitting out for a bit as it was direct from the fridge.
The other special thing: Pipe the whipped cream. Please try it? This one small move takes your cake into the world of exceptional. You do not, do NOT need to be a cake geek or a pro or a mega-talent to pipe your cream. Buy the little plastic Betty Crocker tips in the IGA or any big or small grocery store (I do, when I’m up north and don’t have my piping tips).
Cut a tiny bit off the corner of a Ziploc bag, and push the tip in (sometimes I cut too much and go to another corner instead). Fill the bag with cream, then go ‘round and round the perimeter of the cake, on a cake plate. Then pipe stars or whatevers around the perimeter on top. Then dot with red and blueberries. Ta-da!
Please be gentle with me about the cake itself here. I’m going to recommend you use any white cake you like. If that’s from a box or purchased at the store (angel food would work well too), you’ll be done with the cake in no time. If that’s from scratch, let me shake your hand.
Either way, do a little differently and bake the cake in one 10-inch round pan, no layers—just this a single lovely layer.
Happy 4th of July!
Strawberry Cake with Whipped Cream
We're focused on the toppings here: fresh strawberry puree and piped whipped cream--so come to this recipe with your 10-inch white cake already baked and ready to go. Both the strawberry puree and the whipped cream are stabilized with a little gelatin, so they'll hold up for a summer dinner oustide, and so the cake can be made ahead by a day. Go for it and buy plastic piping tips at the grocery store, along with a gallon ziploc bag, for a fabulous yet truly simple-to-do look.
For the cake:
- 1 10-inch white cake, completely cooled
For the strawberry topping:
- 1 pound fresh strawberries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon rose water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 packet gelatin
For the stabilized whipped cream:
- 1 packet gelatin
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon rose water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Strawberries and blueberries
Place the cake on a serving plate.
Make the strawberry puree:
Hull and coarsely chop the strawberries. In a blender, pulse them until they are fully pureed. In a small saucepan, combine the puree with the sugar, rose water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until reduced by almost half, about 20 minutes.
Bloom the gelatin: In a small bowl filled with 1/4 cup of cool water, very slowly sprinkle the half-packet of gelatin evenly over the water, letting each sprinkle soak in water before sprinkling more over top. Once the powder has absorbed the water, heat in the microwave for 15 seconds. Stir the gelatin into the strawberry puree. This can be made ahead and refrigerated; soften in the microwave for 15 seconds before spreading on the cake.
Spread the strawberry puree over the top of the cake, leaving an inch perimeter around the edge.
Make the stabilized whipped cream when you're ready to frost the cake:
Bloom the gelatin again: In a small bowl filled with 1/4 cup of cool water, very slowly sprinkle a full packet of gelatin evenly over the water, letting each sprinkle soak in water before sprinkling more over top. Once the powder has absorbed the water, heat in the microwave for 15 seconds.
In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat the cold cream with the sugar, rose water, and vanilla on high speed until it is thick and showing lines from the beater. Pour in the gelatin and continue to beat until the whipped cream is very thick and holds a stiff peak.
Using a piping bag or a gallon ziplock bag with a tiny bit of the corner cut off, put a star tip into the opening, then fill the bag with the whipped cream.
Starting at the base of the outside of the cake, pipe all the way around the cake. Do this again just above the first line, then again above the second line. Pipe stars around the perimeter of the cake on top in the area left free of strawberry puree. Top each star with alternating strawberries and blueberries.
Chill the cake until you're ready to serve.