Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Sweetest Of Them All: Strawberries + Cream Birthday Cake
There's nothing more girly and pretty than a pink strawberry cake. I was feeling the urge to make something very pink for my mother in law's birthday - and the organic strawberry jam in the fridge was calling my name too. I've been suffering from a case of work life balance lately - I have so many ideas and things I want to do for photoshoots and cakes, recipes and flavour ideas - yet of course I am a wife and mother, too - sometimes I feel I could get so much more done and really live up to my potential if I could just "work full time" on my ideas (haha) - but then I laugh at this thought as soon as Teddy jumps on me to give me a sweet unprompted hug, or babbles out the new words he learned or wants to sit on my lap and have me read him a book. I have two days a week where we have childcare and I power-work - baking, photographing and madly blogging and making work for my freelance jobs. Weekends I attempt to still do cake orders but then that impedes on our time together as a family... I dunno.
Still, at least I found time to make this pretty cake for my mother-in-law! It delighted her - which delighted me. It was actually fun to make something so simple, pink and pretty to look at.
This cake tasted just like strawberry ice cream to me! Which I've realized is one of my favourite flavours. Up there with chocolate and peanut butter ice cream. So here's the recipe:
Strawberries + Cream Birthday Cake
For The Cake:
1 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup of strawberry preserves
2 cups of heavy cream
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For The Buttercream:
2 cups unsalted butter
4 cups of icing sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup of strawberry preserves
dash of cream
tiny amount of pink gel food colouring
pastel sprinkles - I used India Tree brand Nature's Colors Carnival Mix Sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7x2 inch round cake pans. I also cut parchment paper rounds to place in the cake pans to help with nonstick powers.
1. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy.
2. With the mixer on low, add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and strawberry preserves and mix until incorporated.
3. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt.
4. With the mixer on low, add the flour in three parts, alternating with the heavy cream until just mixed. Do not overmix!
5. Divide batter evenly into three greased, floured and lined cake pans.
6. Bake at 350 degrees on the center rack of your oven until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean - about 25 minutes.
7. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks.
8. Meanwhile, make the buttercream: beat all ingredients on high speed until light and fluffy!
9. Using an offset spatula, frost and fill cake layers, frosting the entire exterior of the cake. Using a cake icing smoother, smooth the frosting then place in freezer for 15 minutes to set.
10. Do a final frost of the cake, smoothing again with the icing smoother. Optional: pipe drop stars around the top for a border (you'll need a piping bag fitted with an open star tip) and lightly dust with pastel sprinkles! I added a fresh organic strawberry for decor.
Yeah that work/life balance thing... what do you guys do to make it "work?" Or do you find, like me, that's it's a constant process of negotiation? That seems pretty okay too. Whenever I'm feeling down and struggling a bit with feeling overwhelmed, it's nice to know I'm not alone - here are two great posts on the topic:
That Juggling Thing by Oh Joy, and then this post on blog reality vs REAL reality: I've Been Thinking About This by The Day Book. (my house is currently a post-vacation mega explosion - and You Will Know Us By The Trail of Teddy is my constant daily reminder that I have a toddler in the house! But I can't have that clutter in a strawberry cake photograph, right? Ha...)
Ok guys! Til next time... hope you're doing great...