Well hello blog world.
It’s been a while. How have you been?
Good? Good. Oh me? I’ve been, well, stressed, but I suppose thats nothing new. But I have some quiet time now, so I felt that I should show off a dessert I was quite proud of but haven’t gotten around to posting: strawberry cake with fresh strawberry filling and whipped orange zest frosting.
Things have been…well…slightly hectic lately. Grants to write, oral exams to take, experiments to do, horrifying surgeries to undergo. Have I talked about my surgery on my blog yet? I don’t quite remember…
To make a long story short, I have hip dysplasia. Yes, like the thing that dogs get… Anyway, it essentially means that the ball and socket of my hip don’t fit quite the way they should. I’ve been symptomatic for at least 4 years and have largely ignored it. But after a few painful days of being so stiff that I could barely walk, I finally got it checked out. I was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and told that, if I did nothing, I would likely develop osteoarthritis and need a hip replacement quite early on (think on the scale of late 30s to 40s).
Well, that’s sort of short. I’ll cut to the chase. My doctor recommended that I get a periacetabular osteonomy (PAO from now on) to restructure my hip socket. They basically cut out my hip socket, re-angle it, and screw it in to place. If you’re interested, check this out.
Enough of stupid sob story. Back to cake! My grandmother loves strawberries so I made her this strawberry filled cake in honor of her birthday.
You know what she did for her birthday? She went to Disneyland! She’s been asking my mom and me to take her for several years now, and this year, for her birthday, my mom drove her down to Los Angeles and took her to Disneyland! She hasn’t been to Disneyland in probably 30 years, so, needless to say, quite a few things have changed. While it may not be the same as she remembered, I think she had a good time, wouldn’t you say?
Did you know this is my first layer cake? I was quite happy with how it turned out. I even added some pretty piping around the edges. The original recipes I checked out recommended a strawberry or cream cheese frosting but I went for light orange zest whipped frosting for a bit of contrast.
Strawberry Cake with Orange Buttercream (adapted from Fresh Strawberry Cake)
Makes 1 two-layer cake
For the cake
- 16 oz frozen strawberries, thawed
- 1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 12 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
- 2-3 drops red food coloring, if desired
- 1 recipe orange zest buttercream
- In a medium saucepan, cook thawed strawberries and balsamic vinegar over low heat until strawberries fall apart and juice thickens slightly.
- Let strawberries cool completely and then puree in a blender or food processor (I got about 1 1/2 cups puree). Set aside for now.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour two 8-inch cake pans.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using the lowest setting on a hand or stand mixer beat in butter until mixture resembles small crumbs.
- In separate bowl, combine 3/4 cup of your strawberry puree with the milk, eggs, vanilla, and food dye, if using, and whisk until well blended. Reserve remaining puree to use as filler.
- Add wet ingredients to flour/butter mixture and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute until evenly combined.
- Divide the batter evenly among the pans and smooth tops.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes rest in pan for about 10 minutes and turn out onto wire racks. Let cakes cool completely.
- To assemble: Remove cake from baking pans. If the cakes are slightly uneven, use a serrated knife (i.e. bread knife) to make the cake layers level. Place one layer on a cake stand (or large plate) and frost the top with orange-zest frosting. Spread remaining strawberry puree over frosting. I also added some chopped fresh strawberries macerated in sugar and balsamic vinegar. Carefully stack the second layer on top of the first. Frost the tops and sides of cake, making sure to fill in the gap between the two layers. Top with more fresh strawberries.
For the frosting (adapted from The Best Frosting)
- 1 cup milk
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 Tb fresh orange juice
- 1 cup butter, room temp
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- Zest of one orange
- In a medium saucepan, whisk milk and together flour. Heat over medium and stir continuously until mixture thickens, about 7 minutes. It should look like a thick batter.
- Whisk in orange juice and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar until fluffy and white, 3-5 minutes. The sugar should be well incorporated and no longer gritty.
- Once the milk and flour mixture has cooled, add it to the butter and sugar mixture. Beat on high for 1 minute until frosting is smooth and very fluffy.
- Add orange zest and beat for another 20 seconds.