There’s nothing better than the peak of berry season where every crate of these fresh fruits tastes like candy.
There are few things more satisfying than spending early mornings at the farmer’s market picking out the best fruits and vegetables for a week of delicious meals. But as much as I love having a fridge full of the freshest produce, I always want to make sure that nothing goes to waste. Sometimes (a lot of the time) a get a little overambitious with the berries, as a self proclaimed fruit queen, and end up with a few more than I can eat all by myself. So, how does one make use of all the crates of fresh fruit stored in the fridge? Turn it into the perfect summertime indulgence.
Summer is the season where you want bright, fresh flavors in your desserts. That’s why fruits make the perfect add-in. I love making fruit incorporated desserts with produce at the peak of the season, and I was super excited to whip up a little fresh strawberry buttercream with real strawberries. It turned out to be one of the best buttercream recipes I’ve ever made. This buttercream tastes and smells just like sweet, creamy strawberry ice cream. Plus all those pretty speckles of strawberries are a definite show stopper for any summer party. A delicious edible centerpiece.
If your sweet tooth is as big as mine, cake is just an accessory to the frosting. But as most people like their frosting accompanying layers of actual cake, I created the perfect whole wheat vanilla recipe that makes this sweet strawberry frosting shine. The combination of classic spongy, soft whole wheat vanilla cake with real strawberry buttercream makes an incredibly decadent dessert you can serve up all summer.
Many layer cakes have I tried and failed. It’s a deceivingly difficult task balancing and sorting three layers of spongy cake with finicky frosting. I’ve found the secret to a structured cake is keeping everything chilled so that no components are slipping and sliding. To make the layers of the cake, add almond milk, coconut oil, vanilla, and sugar into a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is completely melted. Set this mixture aside to cool.
Then in a large mixing bowl, sift together all of your dry ingredients and combine. Once the liquid mixture is cooled, transfer it from the saucepan to the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Make sure to stir enough that the mixture is smooth, but don’t over-mix as this will make for a dense cake.
The trick to baking an even cake is creating a base of even layers. For me, this worked best when weighing out all three cake pans to ensure even amounts of batter went into each one. You’ll also want to make sure that your cake tops that aren’t mounded by leveling them off once they’re baked and cooled.
For the strawberry frosting, I wanted to get those pretty specs of berries throughout, so I pureed fresh berries and mixed them in with my all time favorite buttercream recipe to create this strawberry buttercream.
When you’re ready to start assembling, level off your cakes with a sharp chef’s knife. Lay out all three cakes and cut across evenly, removing the top mound from each. Once you have those, you can start stacking the cakes with layers of frosting in between. Then, once all three layers are stacked, frost around the sides creating a crumb coat and let the cake chill in the fridge for 15 minutes before adding a final layer of frosting.
To decorate your layered strawberry cake, you can top it with anything from fresh of freeze dried strawberries to a chocolate ganache drizzle.
Fresh Strawberry Frosting and Whole Wheat Layer Cake
Takes , Serves 8.
Whole Wheat Cake
- 1 Cup All Purpose Flour (120g)
- 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (226g)
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ Cup Organic Cane Sugar (100g)
- 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- ½ Cup Almond Milk (4oz)
- 4 TBSP Coconut Oil
- 4 Flax Eggs*
- 2 Cups Vegan Butter (454g)
- 2 TBSP Almond Milk
- 2 TBSP Pure Vanilla Extract
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 12 Cups Organic Powdered Sugar (750g)
Real Strawberry Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line the bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
- To a medium saucepan, add cane sugar, vanilla extract, almond milk, and coconut oil. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift in all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Slowly pour the melted sugar mixture into the dry ingredients. At this time, also add flax eggs. Stir mixture until just combined.
- Pour mixture evenly between three 8-inch round cake pans and bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted at the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely.
- For Real Strawberry Frosting: In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat butter at medium speed for about five minutes until completely smooth. While mixer of off, add almond milk, vanilla extract, salt and powdered sugar. Beat for another five to seven minutes until mixture is light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- For Assembly: Trim the top of each cake layer to create an even, flat base. Place the first layer of cake on a serving platter of choice. Spread about 1 cup frosting on top of this layer. Add the next layer and top with 1 cup frosting. Add the third layer and cover the top and sides of the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting to create crumb coat. Refrigerate cake for at least 15 minutes, until firm. Add a final layer of frosting to the sides and top of the cake.
* To make a flax egg, mix one TBSP of flax meal with 2 TBSP of warm water. Let this mixture rest for around five minutes to form a gel-like consistency.