My refrigerator hasn't been treating me with much respect lately and it decided to freeze two pounds of fresh organic strawberries that I had just bought. There was no way I was going to throw the soft, mushy berries in the garbage so I had to improvise. I think my fridge was secretly telling me it wanted to house a strawberry cardamom layer cake rather than fresh strawberries!
Adding any kind of a syrup, puree or thin sauce to a layer cake is a great way to ensure your cake will be moist and delicious until the last slice is gone. It also adds an extra layer of flavor and texture. Drizzling the top of the cake with the same syrup, puree or sauce also makes for a nice and very simple presentation.
Step 1: For the Strawberry Puree
I'm not sure how I survived in my kitchen before I had my immersion blender. I absolutely love it and find myself using it all the time. I highly recommend getting one if you can!
There are several ways to make fruit puree. I show two methods in this instructable:
Puree with Immersion Blender - Add 2 lbs cut fresh fruit in a deep cup and blend until smooth. Set aside until needed. That's it!
Puree on the Cook Top - In a medium sauce pan over medium heat cook 2 lbs fresh fruit until juices/sugars release and fruit is soft and mushy. Remover from heat. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. It won't be as smooth as with using the immersion blender but it will work. Set aside until needed.
You could also use a regular blender or a food processor, however, I imagine you will be scraping down the sides of the container several times to get a smooth consistency.
Step 2: For the Cake
Strawberry Cardamom Layer Cake
For the cake:
1/2 c. Strawberry purée
1 1/2 c. All-purpose flour
1 t. Baking powder
1 t. Ground cardamom
1/4 t. Salt
1/2 c. Butter
1 c. Sugar
1/4 c. Milk
1 t. Vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. Set aside.
In a medium bowl sift flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment beat butter until light and pale. Add in sugar and continue beating on medium speed. Add milk, vanilla and eggs one at a time. Mix until incorporated. Mixture will be lumpy.
Add in flour mixture a little at a time and continue beating until all flour mixture has been added.
Add in strawberry puree and mix until incorporated and batter is smooth.
Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
Bake 16-18 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto wire rack to complete cooling.
Step 3: For the Strawberry Frosting
While the cake is baking make the frosting.
For the frosting:
1/4 c. Butter
4 oz. Cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. Strawberry purée
5-6 c. Powdered sugar
In a medium mixing bowl combine butter and cream cheese well. Add strawberry puree and stir. Add in powdered sugar (1/2 cup at a time) until mixture is thick enough to hold its shape.
Step 4: Cake Assembly
For this step you will need piping tips and couplers. You can use sandwich bags or piping bags. Either will work for this application.
After the cakes are completely cool cut the top off of one of the cakes to make it flat. Then, because you can't resist, eat what you just cut off. Oh yeah, share some with your kids or they will be really upset!!!
Pour and spread a generous layer of strawberry puree on the cut cake. Let it stand for a few minutes until the cake absorbs the puree into the small air pockets. Add more puree if necessary.
In one hand turn the other cake upside down and frost the bottom of the cake with the other hand. Turn it over and place on top of the cake with puree to make a sandwich. Refrigerate approx 30 minutes to set the puree and frosting so it doesn't run out the sides.
Remove from the fridge. Frost the top and sides of the cake generously. Smooth a bit with a spreading knife.
Using a #3 round Wilton tip and a sandwich bag fill with a small amount of puree. Drizzle over the top of the frosted cake just for decoration.
Using a #12 round Wilton tip and a piping bag fill with remaining strawberry frosting. Pipe large mounds around the top and bottom edge of the cake without stopping between each mound.
Slice and serve.