Strawberry cake is probably not something we crave often. But this cake has become one of my favorite desserts. I use a combination of freeze dried strawberries and fresh strawberries to bring out that strawberry flavor – no artificial flavors at all! The strawberry buttercream is so tart and refreshing; I had to embrace it in three layers instead of just a top coat. With no cream cheese, peanut butter, or chocolate incorporated into this dessert, you can eat a generous slice of this without feeling exhausted for the rest of the day. This gluten free strawberry cake is a great dessert to serve throughout the spring and summer!
While gluten free cake baking isn’t too dissimilar from regular cake baking, there is still an exact science to the method. Every step is dependent on the previous step; one mishap along the way can compromise the entire cake. Be sure to read through all of the instructions carefully before starting, and let your ingredients come to room temperature! I suggest you prepare the strawberry puree a day in advance, to make sure it has thickened and cooled completely before you use it.
You want to take your time when creaming the butter and sugar, and slowly incorporate each egg white. But once those ingredients are mixed well, you want to mix in the rest of the ingredients until just combined. This will preserve the air pockets in the batter and help the cake rise. Gently fold the strawberry puree in to keep whipping the batter as the puree is incorporated.
Frosting a cake
When it’s time to frost the cake, I suggest you start with a crumb coat. This is a very thin layer of icing – of which most is spread off and discarded – but it will keep the top of each cake secure and prevent crumbs from spreading. My three-tier carrot cake uses the same method, but that cake is even trickier to work with than this one!
Gluten Free Strawberry CakePrint Recipe
- For the strawberry puree:
- 4 cups fresh strawberries, stems removed and sliced in half
- 1/2 cup water
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- For the cake:
- 2 3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour, spooned and leveled
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup freeze dried strawberries
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 egg whites and 1 whole egg, room temperature
- 1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 drops red food dye
- 3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 3/4 cup strawberry puree, room temperature
- For the buttercream frosting:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup strawberry puree, room temperature
- 1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-4 cups confectioners sugar
Prepare the strawberry puree at least 2 hours or up to a day in advance. Pulse the strawberries in a food processor until smooth and all of the chunks are gone. Combine all of the puree ingredients in a medium sauce pot over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then let it simmer for about 20 minutes until the mixture has reduced by about half, stirring frequently. Transfer the puree to a heat-proof container and let it cool to room temperature, then let it chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line the bottom of three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper, then generously grease the bottom and sides of the pans with non-stick cooking spray.
Make sure all of your wet ingredients are brought to room temperature before beginning- it is vital!
Use a chopper or food processor to pulse the freeze dried strawberries. Prepare the portion for the cake and the frosting separately, to maintain the right proportions.
Sift the flour, corn starch, and freeze dried strawberries into a medium bowl. Whisk in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer or large mixing bowl, cream the butter on low speed for a few seconds, then beat in the sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the whole egg and beat for one minute. Then add the remaining egg whites one at a time and beat for one minute each. Scrape down the batter from the sides of the bowl occasionally.
Beat in the yogurt, vanilla extract, and food dye for another minute until well-combined.
Now, add half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined- only a few seconds. Add half of the milk and beat until just combined. Repeat for the rest of the flour and milk- do not overmix!
Gently fold the strawberry puree into the batter.
Pour about 2 1/4 cups of the batter into each cake pan. Use a spatula to spread disperse the batter evenly and smooth over the top of the batter. (If you only have one cake pan, be sure to store the remaining cake batter in the refrigerator while the first cake is cooking. Remove it from the refrigerator when the timer goes off to bring it back to room temperature before baking the next cake.)
Bake each cake by itself for 25 to 27 minutes, until the middle of the cake springs back up when you gently press down, and a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
Let all of the cakes cool for 15 minutes in their cake pans before flipping over on top of a cooling rack. Let them cool completely before leveling the top of each cake.
Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream. Cream the butter on low speed for a few seconds, then beat in the strawberry puree, freeze dried strawberries, and vanilla extract. Incorporate one cup of confectioners sugar at a time, until you get your preferred thickness and texture. Store the buttercream in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Use a cake leveler or a long cake knife to trim off the dome of each cake so that you have three flat surfaces.
Now it's time to frost and layer! For cakes, I like to do a crumb coat of frosting first. This means that you spread about 1/4 cup of frosting on top of each cake set the crumbs and keep them from spreading around while you frost. Cover the top completely and scrape off any excess frosting so that you have a very thin layer of icing. Let that frosting layer on the cakes set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Once they have set, you can spread a heaping 1/2 cup of the frosting on top of each cake, then layer them on top of each other. You can either reserve some of the frosting to frost around the sides as well, or keep all of the frosting on top of each cake.
Top the cake with extra strawberries, whipped cream, or sugar flower pedals like I did on mine 🙂