This cake became an overnight sensation at my restaurant in Fort Smith, Arkansas. I had been watching the Sandra Lee on Food Network one Sunday evening. She was making this fabulous looking strawberry cake. I was intrigued with the recipe and decided to make it and try it out on customers the next day.
By the end of that day we had orders for five cakes. So I made two more to have in the shop for the next days lunch crowd. At the end of Tuesday we had 17 orders for the cake. By the time the weekend came, we had made over 30 cakes.
As Mother’s Day approached the orders grew and grew. Every time I answered the phone they would ask, “is this the place that makes the strawberry cake?” The saturday before Mothers day we decorated over 175 strawberry cakes. I had red fingers for a week! Even though it has been eight years since we sold the business, I still have people who remember the cake and requests for the recipe.
I changed Sandras recipe a bit. I made homemade icing instead of the canned. I also added a thin layer of the icing on each layer before adding the strawberry spread and fresh strawberries. I found it helped the cake stay stable. (It is a very heavy cake)
If the berries are very ripe it’s best to assemble the cake the day you are planning to serve it. It’s also helpful to partially freeze the cake before you cut the layers making sure to wrap in plastic wrap- not foil.
I garnished the top of these cakes with sliced berries that I would “flower” out like petals, with a whole berry that had been garnished like a fan placed in the middle. What makes this cake a hit is the strawberry nectar and the layers of yummy strawberry preserves and fresh strawberries. You can find strawberry nectar at Hispanic markets or in the juice isle at Walmart. Here you go!!!
Butter, for greasing pans
Flour, for flouring pans
1 (18.25-ounce) box strawberry cake mix
1 (11.5-ounce) can strawberry nectar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Filling and Frosting:
1 pound fresh strawberries, cleaned
1 cup strawberry jam , divided
2 (16-ounce) container strawberry frosting ( I make my own- See below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans. Combine cake mix, nectar, eggs, and oil in large bowl. Beat with a hand mixer for 2 minutes, or until well blended. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on cooling racks for 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling rack and cool completely.
Thinly slice enough strawberries to yield 1 1/4 cups. Using a serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half, forming 4 layers in total. Place 1 cake layer, cut side down, on a serving platter. Spread 1/3 cup jam over top of cake layer. Arrange 1/4 cup of sliced strawberries in a single layer atop jam. Top with second cake layer, cut side down. Repeat layering with jam and sliced strawberries. Top with third cake layer, cut side down. Repeat layering with jam and sliced strawberries. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down. Spread frosting evenly over top and sides of cake to coat completely* Arrange remaining 1/2 cup sliced strawberries and 1 whole strawberry decoratively atop cake. Refrigerate cake for 40 minutes. Serve cake with remaining whole strawberries.
* you can crumb coat the cake, i.e. a very thin layer of frosting that you let set up for a few minutes in the fridge (20 min) and then finish frosting with no crumby mess!
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 TBLS strawberry extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
a dab of red food paste to color icing to pink
|1.||In a large bowl, cream the butter, and strawberry extract. Blend in the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered until ready to decorate.To have extra icing for garnish and decorating I usually double this recipe.|