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Last month was Valentines Day and I wanted to make a special cake! Chocolate seems to always be a valentine favorite, but I wanted something more special and I remembered the amazing Strawberry Cake that I made in my Sayulita kitchen last year. Rich, decadent, and oh, so delicious!
Beautiful, fresh strawberries are always available at our Sayulita Friday Mercado del Pueblo, which is where I bought enough to be able to make this amazing cake. You will need 18 ounces of berries.
TWO CAKE LAYERS:
-10 ounces fresh whole strawberries with stems and core removed - approximately 2 cups *these must be frozen, so pop them into your freezer until frozen solid. Make sure that you have reserved 8 ounces of fresh ones for finishing the cake.
-3/4 cup whole milk, room temp - I used 1⁄2 and 1⁄2 cream today and the cakes were the perfect texture
-6 egg whites - room temp
-2 tsp. vanilla
-2&1/4 cups flour
-1&3/4 cups white sugar
-4 tsp baking powder - Please sift to be sure that there are no small lumps
-1 tsp salt
-12 T butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened until VERY SOFT - this is no problem here in Sayulita. Our warm temperatures will make your butter very soft if you keep it out on the counter unwrapped for a half hour or so.
CREAM CHEESE ICING:
-10 T butter - very soft
-1 cup sifted icing sugar; called Glass in Spanish
-12 oz. cream cheese - Philadelphia, which is very soft
-8oz fresh strawberries for decorating
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
-Grease (2) 9" cake pans, then cut 2 parchment paper or wax paper rounds and place into greased pans
-Grease bottom and sides very well with extra softened butter and then sprinkle a bit of sifted flour over greased parchment paper. Tip pan so that bottom and sides of both pans have a nicely floured layer
-Tap out all excess flour. Your pans are now ready!
-Microwave strawberries until soft and juices have released - about 5 minutes
-Place in a fine mesh strainer and press fruit until no more juices can be extracted. You should have 3/4 cup of juice - Please reserve solids for adding to finished icing
-Bring the juice to a boil over medium high heat and reduce until you have 1/4 cup of juice - 6 to 8 minutes
-Whisk milk into juice to make strawberry milk
-Whisk strawberry milk, egg whites, and vanilla together
-Place flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in your mixing bowl
-Add butter 1 piece at a time and beat on low speed until only pea sized pieces of butter remain - about 1 minute
-Add 1/2 of milk mixture, increase speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy - about 1 minute
-Reduce speed to medium low, add remaining milk mixture, and beat until incorporated - about 30 seconds.
-Divide the batter into your 2 prepared pans
-Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry and clean
-Cool in pans for 20 minutes, then remove from pans and finish the cooling on your rack. Please insert pic of 2 baked layers here
CREAM CHEESE ICING:
-Cream together softened cream cheese and butter until well combined
-Add sifted icing sugar
-Add the pinch of salt and beat until nicely combined
-Stir reserved strawberry solids into your icing
YOU'RE ALMOST FINISHED - FINISHING THE CAKE:
-Place 1st layer on your serving plate and cover top with about 1/8 inch of icing
-Cover sides with a very thin layer of icing
-Slice fresh stemmed and cored strawberries. They will look like hearts!
-Place a thin layer of strawberries over the iced top and then place 2nd layer over 1st
-Spread remaining icing over top and sides so that entire cake is now covered
-Decorate as you desire
-Refrigerate to chill and firm icing
Slice and ENJOY! I promise you that this will be one of the most delicious cakes you will ever make and eat!
I look forward to sharing a delicious appetizer with you in my next column!