Are you having strawberry problems? I can tell that it’s strawberry season because three people have asked me questions about strawberry cakes in just the last two weeks!
Of course, since I had a cake order that required fresh strawberries in between each layer, once I started chatting about strawberry cake options with other people, I knew I had to use my leftover strawberries for a cake this week (not to mention that earlier this week was National Pick Strawberries Day followed directly by National Strawberries and Cream Day) #drooling
As I was working my way through adding fresh strawberries to a cake order two weeks ago, I realized that I use some pretty cool tactics that may come in handy for anyone who is reading my blog. So I decided to take some photos of how I hack cakes with strawberries in case you want to try some of my sweet moves in your baking this week.
So here are my tips for easily assembling a cake with fresh strawberries.
The first step is to make sure your strawberry slices are relatively even. When you place your strawberries on top of your filling layer, if one or even a few are significantly taller than the rest, it will result in some difficulty when you swipe some extra frosting on top to make your next cake layer stick (more on that later). Take your time and slice slowly if you need to.
Next up is that after you slice your strawberries (evenly) you’ll notice that these things are slimy. I mean like slither-out-of-your-hand-and-right-onto-the-floor (or in my case, my bare foot) kind of slimy. And if they can do that inside of your firm grip, imagine what kind of havoc they’ll wreak on an innocent cake layer, just trying to stand tall and proud on top of them. (HINT: it’s bad. You’ve heard of a landslide, but now imagine it with cake. A cake slide. It actually sounds kind of fun! But believe me, it’s not. There will be tears. From you. And maybe a few other people. But definitely from you.)
So how do you combat the slime?
Ok, no not really. That is a guaranteed way to destroy your cake, and I do not endorse this method.
In all actuality, you don’t even need fancy equipment to combat the slime. All you need is a sharpie and a paper towel. Why those materials? And how many paper towels, you ask? Good question. I’ll counter that with a question myself: how many cake layers did you make? Take that number and subtract one. That’s how many paper towels you’ll need. I made 4 cake layers, therefore I needed 3 paper towels. I made my cakes in 6” rounds, so I used my sharpie to trace the 6” cake pan on each paper towel and was ready! I took all of my strawberry slices and arranged a flat layer neatly inside the circles I drew. Don’t go arrange the strawberries all the way up to the edge because remember that cakes contract a bit away from the pan as they cool, and also you don’t want strawberries peeking out the sides of your cake, so leave yourself some space.
While the paper towels are absorbing some of the moisture from the strawberries, you can pipe your frosting dam and filling, or just your frosting layer - whatever you choose - on top of your first cake layer. My client asked for strawberry preserves topped with fresh strawberries, so I piped a circle of frosting on the outer perimeter of the cake layer then filled it in with the preserves. This wall will make it so much easier to frost the cake without any of the strawberry preserves or slices slipping out and ruining my plans.
Now that the filling is ready, I grabbed one of the paper towels and flipped it over so that the strawberries were face down in the preserves. I pressed them just a bit to ensure that they were stuck to the preserves, and then I peeled back the paper towel et voila! My fresh strawberry layer was done!
Side note: if for whatever reason you miscalculated how much space you needed to leave around the edge and now you have a strawberry hanging off the side, it’s ok to do a little rearranging so that all of your strawberry slices are tucked in.
Next, pipe a little more frosting over the top of your slices and smooth it out before placing your next layer of cake. No cake slides here!
Wash, rinse, repeat, then decorate the outside of your cake.
And there you have it, friends: my strawberry hack. I hope this helps you through this strawberry season!
Now here’s the delicious cake I made with my leftover fresh strawberries. Just a PSA for everyone, boxed strawberry cake mix is a LIE! When you make a cake using fresh strawberries, the cake does not turn out very pink. It's still a yellowish-golden cake color in spite of all the fresh strawberries that have been blended up and reduced to add to the cake batter. However, the taste is AMAZING!
I had two slices of this for dinner last night and I’m eying it for second breakfast today. If anyone is in the neighborhood and wants to offer their assistance with finishing off this cake, please let me know. We can do it at a safe social distance i.e. I will throw the slice at you from the lanai door and hope you catch it.
Happy eating, y’all!
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