What makes you think of summer? The pool? Sweet Iced tea? For me, it’s always been lemonade. I don’t know why, but I adore a glass of cold, tangy lemonade. The best part is that there are so many fun flavors! You could mix it with tea for an Arnold Palmer, or throw in fresh strawberry puree for a sunshiny treat!
We’ve recently moved and this past weekend we decided to have some family over for a cookout. I’ve been so thrilled about the recent weather that I decided to make a dessert representative of my summer lovin’. What better than a strawberry lemonade cake?
Yeah, you read that right. Strawberry lemonade in a cake. Please don’t drool on your phone.
Layer cakes have been my new learning opportunity (I like to use that phrase rather than challenge, but they aren’t as simple as one might guess). I was extremely pleased with this one though, the layers baked perfectly flat, making my amateur self look like a cake stacking professional!
**Baking Tip: Line the bottom of your cake pans with parchment paper before greasing them, this will help your cakes to come out nice and easy**
Stacking this cake was no challenge, but I did freeze my cake layers overnight to be sure they were extra cold to work with when decorating. (This helps when it’s blazing summer weather outside.)
Here is the official recipe for the cake and buttercream. The cake recipe is from Two Peas and Their Pod, but I made the buttercream slightly different.
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
2 1/2 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1/3 cup cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk
8-10 large strawberries, hulled and sliced
For the Strawberry Buttercream Frosting:
2 cups softened butter (I use half salted, half unsalted)
7-8 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of fresh strawberry jam
3-4 fresh strawberries, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray two 9-inch round baking pans with baking spray.
2. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, place the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Beat until light and fluffy.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients and set aside.
4. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, combining thoroughly in between. With the mixer still running, add the lemon juice. (batter will look curdled, but it’s not). Add one third of the dry ingredients and 1/2 cup of the buttermilk. Mix, then stop and scrape the sides of the bowl. Repeat, adding another third of the dry ingredients and the remaining 1/2 cup buttermilk. Mix, then stop and scrape. Add the remaining third of the dry ingredients and mix until completely combined and the batter is light and fluffy.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool before removing from the pans.
*This is where I chose to freeze the layers overnight, and I continued with step 6 the next morning.*
6. While the cakes are cooling, make the strawberry buttercream frosting. Cream the butter for a couple minutes, and add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached. Mix together on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the jam and strawberries and mix on high speed until the frosting is very fluffy and pale pink in color, with flecks of strawberry.
Optional: I added a touch of Wilton pink Icing coloring, to intensify the beauty
7. Invert one of the cake rounds onto a cake plate; generously spread with frosting and top with strawberry slices. Repeat with the remaining layer of cake and frosting. Frost the sides of the cake with your desired method. (I used a Wilton 2D tip to create rosettes) Put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow the frosting to set. Serve at room temperature.