While we’ve been know to use a package of our favorite jello mix here and there – they add great flavor, color and usually a nice, thick texture – there’s something really refreshing about going back to basics and making a cake from scratch. Specifically, a lovely, summer strawberry cake. This one bakes in a 9×13 pan, with lots of fresh strawberries tucked into both the cake batter and the frosting. Nothing fake to be found here, just real flavor (and color) from real fruit! We love this and you will too, promise.
To get a light and fluffy cake that’s satisfying to bite into, without being heavy, we used cake flour, baking powder and baking soda. The leaveners give this cake great lift, the Greek yogurt keeps things moist, and the strawberries and lemon juice keep things feeling extra fresh. Win-win-win. We wanted the pink from the strawberries to really shine through, so we just used egg whites instead of whole eggs, to keep the yolks from coloring the batter; we added in a little extra butter to make up for the missing yolks.
Now, if you really want to amp up the flavor and color of this recipe, you could make a strawberry reduction by simmering one pound of strawberries for 20-30 minutes, then pour 1/2 cup of that into the batter instead of the diced strawberries, but that felt a little fussy, so we stuck with diced berries instead. Similarly, you could use freeze-dried strawberries in the frosting, which would make it taste amazing (although not necessarily better) and look super vibrant, but again, not really necessary when you’ve got summer’s finest berries folded into the mix.
This is a versatile batter that you can use just about any way you like: as seen here, in a 9×13; in a jelly roll pan; in two, 9-inch cake pans, you name it! We love this way best since it leaves us with a substantial cake we can sink our teeth into, and with a nice proportion of frosting to cake – it’s all about striking the right balance! In either the batter or the frosting (or both) you can add in a bit more lemon juice to pump up the brightness of the flavor, but we are completely addicted to this cake just the way it is. Try it and you will be too!
2 1/2 cups cake flour…
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