Good Question: Help Me Make a Fluffy Strawberry Cake

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Spring is here, strawberries are about to arrive, and Maya has a special request. Can you help?

I am about to be inundated with strawberries, and it’s also about to be my birthday and I’d like to bake myself a cake to share with friends. One of my favorite cakes growing up was a box of pink strawberry cake mix with fluffy white frosting, but now that I’m an adult I wonder if there isn’t a way to have my cake and eat it without all the processed sugars, fats, preservatives and food dyes! Does anyone out there have a recipe for a strawberry cake that actually uses strawberries?
Something light and fluffy with little bits of strawberry and that precious pink I remember? Google leads me to endless pages of boxed white mix with strawberry jello – EW! – and many recipes are more similar to a quick bread/carrot cake than they are to birthday cake.

So anything light, fluffy, and homemade would be much appreciated. Also, I’m really looking for Strawberry Cake, not just to put strawberries in the layers on another cake. If anyone out there can help me I bet it’s you guys! Thanks!

Maya, a strawberry cake sounds perfect for the season. Making the fluffy pink cakes you remember from childhood with fresh strawberries sounds appealing, but also slightly challenging. Fresh strawberries (all berries, really) have a high moisture content and they break down quickly while baking. You can simply try adding two cups of fresh chopped strawberries to a regular yellow cake recipe; see how that goes. It may turn the cake a little soggy, however, and it also probably won’t disperse the strawberry flavor evenly throughout the cake.

And you almost definitely will not get that same pink color without resorting to some kind of artificial coloring. We speak from experience: many naturally red or pink juices that you think would dye a cake actually turn brown or dull when mixed with leavenings or exposed to heat.

If you’d like to try, here is a basic cake recipe to use:
Recipe: D.I.Y. Yellow Cake

For the icing, a simple whipped cream or sweetened whipped cream with a touch of cream cheese would be easy and elegant:

If you are willing to compromise a little on the recipe and use flavored gelatin (a very good way to get stronger flavor) just this once, I will share a recipe a little later today that will give you a cake that is much closer to your childhood memories.

Readers, any thoughts?

(Image: Flickr member ralph and jenny licensed for use under Creative Commons)