Strawberry Lemonade Cake and Birthday Wishes

Hey Guys! Today is my birthday. I am 29 with 6 years experience. Well, technically I won’t be that until 1:51 pm, but close enough at this point, right?

I was back and forth on if I was actually going to make my birthday cake or not. Truthfully… it wasn’t because I didn’t know if I wanted to make my own cake, there were other factors involved. In the end, I decided… make the cake… screw everything else. So I went to the store in search of strawberries and lemons.

Look at everything I came home with. Yes, I did get the strawberries. But the lemons… Earlier this year I went to the store in search of limes and they didn’t have any. Not one. All they had was the bottled juice. Shucks… but I went with it. Now… when I’m in search of lemons, they don’t have any. Grrr…. why does it seem like everyone wants what I want when I want it? Oh, and if you were wondering, the store had a crapton of limes. haha. Touché. Nicely played store, nicely played.

Anyway, do you see what else I came home with? Seriously. I also meant to get the deodorant. I was out. I don’t like stinking. Just saying. But I also got iced coffee, birthday candles, chocolate chips, a cake pan, purple food coloring, 4 cheap pillowcases, and shoes for the little one that she picked out.

So now it’s time for the reveal of my birthday cake. I decided on Strawberry Lemonade. It felt summery. I also wanted French Buttercream on it. I’m kind of in love with French Buttercream these days. Next up on my list of things to try… Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Strawberry Lemonade Cake with French Buttercream

I’m not really sure why I chose Strawberry Lemonade, but that is what I chose. Now the French Buttercream. I’m totally in love with the French Buttercream so that made it easy for me. I kept wondering if the French Buttercream would taste good with a Strawberry Lemonade cake. The answer is yes, yes it does. Prior to choosing the Strawberry Lemonade cake, I thought about making a Chocolate cake with Chocolate French Buttercream.

From there I had to decide the best recipe to use. That’s when I decided to make my own. Well… my own as in using one and making the variations I wanted. It would either work or it would flop. This time, it worked! Yey!

The Vanilla Cake

I came across a Perfect Vanilla Cake recipe. Perfect huh? That’s always quite the statement to make. I figured, this gal went to the Culinary Institute of America so surely she knew what she was talking about, right? I bit. But like I said, I wanted strawberry Lemonade… I also wanted a 6″ round cake. When she made hers, she made a 7″ round.

When I looked at the cake recipe, you can break it down into measurements. I went with the 2 layer 8″ round cake but decided to make it into 6″ round cakes. Guys, it worked perfectly! I had 2 even layers of lemon cake and 2 even layers of strawberry cake.

For my strawberry cake, I made strawberry purée to add into the cake as well as adding Strawberry Emulsion. For the Lemon cake, I wanted lemon zest as well as lemon juice, but that didn’t happen (see above). So I used 4 tablespoons of lemon juice from a container. I really think it needed lemon emulsion. Otherwise, it worked great. It was just a subtle hint of lemon.

Flatness

I have worked so hard on getting my cakes to bake flat, that hubby walked in and asked if I had a cake top for him to try. He saw my nice flat cakes and grumbled at me that if I wasn’t going to have cake tops for taste testing, then I wasn’t allowed flat baked cakes.

Now… I too want to point out that this is not a good recipe for cupcakes if you want those dom tops because… they don’t exist.

Decorating

At the last minute, I decided to make a checkerboard cake. I thought it would be fun! It would also incorporate those strawberry and lemon flavors together to make a more uniform Strawberry Lemonade flavor. Right?

So… I screwed up splitting my cakes in half evenly. My top half was shorter than my bottom half. Then I broke one of the lemon flavors so I dumped those into a bowl and told hubby, taste away.

Finally, I finished off with a strawberry layer and had a strawberry layer left to put on. I didn’t want the top two layers exactly the same. I also didn’t want to throw out another layer. I wanted that 8 layer cake but at this point, I was at a 7 layer cake. So… I picked up the 6 layers, added in my 7th layer, then made hubby help me put the 6 layers back on top of that 7th layer. Yup, I did that.

 

Okay, hello YUM! The French Buttercream was a delicate flavor that enhanced the strawberry flavor. The lemon could have been a little stronger, but still… I got that summer vibe that I wanted. I topped it with fresh Strawberries and of course 35 candles. Of course, the candles totally hid my strawberries on top. Whoops. Oh well… you win some, you lose some.

One last Birthday Thought:

I love strawberries. When my mom was pregnant with me, I guess she ate a tub of cool whip and a quart of strawberries every night. There were 3 grocery stores in town and she would bounce around between them so they wouldn’t see the “pregnant lady” and roll their eyes. My mom was surprised I didn’t come out red or with red hair.

Strawberry Lemonade Cake and Birthday Wishes
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • For the Cake:
  • 16 oz all purpose flour
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • 22 oz granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 8 oz unsalted butter (1 cup or 2 sticks) room temp
  • 1½ tbsp real vanilla extract
  • 7 each egg whites large, room temp
  • 12 oz milk whole, room temp
  • 1 oz vegetable oil
  • ¾ strawberry purée
  • 1 tsp strawberry emulsion
  • 1 tsp lemon emulsion
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • For the French Buttercream:
  • 1½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 32 oz butter
Instructions
  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line the bottom of 4 -- 6" round cake pans with parchment rounds and spray sides with baking spray.
  2. Add flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt to stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine egg whites, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Whisk to combine, set aside.
  4. Cut butter in small pieces. Turn mixer on low speed and slowly add butter to the dry mix. Turn up speed to medium-low and beat until no chunks remain and the mixture becomes crumbly (resembling cornmeal).
  5. With mixer speed back on low, add ⅓ of the liquid to the dry batter then turn mixer up to medium speed until a light paste forms. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  6. Add half of the remaining wet ingredients and beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes. Scrape sides of the bowl.
  7. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.
  8. Divide batter evenly into two bowls.
  9. To one bowl, add strawberry purée and strawberry emulsion. You can also add a drop or two of pink food coloring to really turn the cake batter pink.
  10. Divide batter evenly between two of the cake pans.
  11. Bake in 350˚F oven for 37-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  12. Take out of the oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to fully cool.
  13. With the remaining batter, add lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon emulsion, and 3 drops of yellow food coloring.
  14. Bake in 350˚F oven for 35-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  15. Take out of the oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to fully cool.
  16. For the Buttercream: Add the sugar and water to a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat with a thermometer attached. Let the water/sugar mixture heat up to 238˚F (115˚C). About 4-6 minutes.
  17. Meanwhile, while the water is coming to temperature, add the 10 egg yolks to a mixer. With the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks on high speed about 5 minutes until the egg yolks become pale and thicken up.
  18. Turn the mixer down to low speed and slowly add the sugar/water mixture to the eggs, keeping the eggs moving so you don't scramble them.
  19. Once all the sugar water has been added, turn the mixer back to high speed and beat 5 - 6 more minutes until the mixture becomes pale yellow and thickens up while cooling down.
  20. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time mixing 15-20 seconds between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary to make sure the mixture is completely mixed together.
  21. Assemble the cake: If planning on doing the checkerboard, you'll need a 2" and 4" circle cookie cutter. place the 2-inch cookie cutter in the middle of each cake, then cut the 4-inch circle.
  22. Next switch the middle (the 4-inch cake circle) between the two layers of cakes. Now you have a cake layer - Strawberry-lemon-strawberry and lemon-strawberry-lemon.
  23. Place a layer of buttercream on the first layer, add the second layer. Add more buttercream and go to the first combination. If the outside is strawberry, the second layer lemon, the third layer will be strawberry.
  24. Add buttercream to each layer plus the additional layer until all layers are onto of each other.
  25. Next cover the cake in a crumb coat.
  26. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to allow crumbcoat to set. Then add the outside layer of icing in a thick layer. Using a straight edge spin cake while smoothing icing. This is a semi-naked cake so allow some of the cake to peek through if you want a semi-naked cake.
  27. Top with strawberries.
  28. Serve, eat, and enjoy!

 

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