It’s Mother’s Day this weekend for which this fluffy layer cake with fresh strawberry filling and cream cheese frosting is just perfect! And piped vintage ruffles are involved as well.
This year I’ll be about 8 hours away from my mom at Mother’s Day. Although I’d love to send my mom a cake as well, this Strawberry Ruffle Cake is for my mother-in-law since she is living here in Calgary where we are.
When I started to bake and experiment again since our return to Canada, my mother-in-law showed me an old (Mennonite) recipe book (from 1976) from which she has been baking for a looong time.
It’s not really a cookbook. Just a lot of type-writer typed pages stapled together. Oh, and it is in German. But there are things like snicker-doodle cookies and Lady Baltimore cake. So I am certain a lot of the recipes are American/Canadian.
One of the cakes in the booklet is “Sternlicht-Torte” which basically means Starlight Cake. It is my mother-in-law’s go-to white cake recipe. She loves white cake! But she is a lone star in a family of chocolate lovers. For this reason she doesn’t get to make it very often, because usually it means she has to eat it all by herself.
For Mother’s Day I thought I would treat her to her favorite starlight cake. (I couldn’t stop humming the Starlight Express songs while baking the cake).
Another thing about the recipe booklet – it doesn’t specify baking times, temperature or pan size. In some recipe (like this one) not even the method!
Making this cake was a real adventure. I only wanted a 6-inch round cake. So I made the batter (while making up the method) totally prepared having to make cupcakes from the rest. But it turned out to be the perfect amount for three 6-inch layers. (My bottom layer only is smaller because I had to level it more than the others. I opened the oven door too early and one layer sank in).
I loved how light, fluffy and moist the cake came out. This just might become my go-to white cake recipe as well.
For the filling and frosting I wanted to make something light an fresh – strawberries are just perfect for that.
While looking for a strawberry filling recipe, I came across Natasha’s Strawberry Layer Cake. Funny enough, the strawberry filling in her cake is simply pureed strawberries (at chunky apple-sauce-like consistency).
Reading through her post I was intrigued by her cream cheese frosting. Neither side of our family is very big on buttercream and Natasha’s frosting recipe doesn’t use any butter at all. Just cream cheese, whipping cream and sugar.
First I was afraid without butter the frosting might not be stable enough to hold up for piping, but the ruffles came out beautifully. And I even added a little strawberry puree to the frosting to flavor and color it.
Another bonus of no butter in the frosting is that it doesn’t harden up very much in the fridge. So even if you don’t let the cake come to room temperature before eating it, you don’t have to chew the buttercream.
A little more about the piped ruffles.
Almost 2 years ago I posted another ruffle piping tutorial. Those were tighter, neater ruffles. While for this vintage cake I wanted to try vintage, shabby-chic style ruffles.
These are also created with a petal piping tip (eg. #104). The fat side of the tip touches the cake while the thin side points outward. I piped ruffly lines from top to bottom, each time overlapping a little with the thick part of the previous ruffle.
On the top I piped a few hearts with the same petal tip – starting and ending at the bottom tip of the heart. Again, the fat side touches the cake, while the thin end point outwards.
I also used a few white sugar pearls to decorate the top and the side.
- 1-1/2 cup (300 g) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup (112 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 2-1/8 cup (210 g) cake flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup milk
- ¾ lb (340 g) strawberries
- ½ cup (125 ml) heavy whipping cream
- 8 oz (230 g) cream cheese, softened
- ⅓ cup (75 g) sugar
- few drops red/pink food coloring
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease, line and flour three 6-inch cake pans.
- With your electric mixer beat together sugar,eggs and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add softened butter and continue beating on high speed until pale in color and very fluffy.
- In another bowl sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture in 3 additions alternating with the milk. Start and end with flour.
- Divide batter between 3 cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean. Don't open the oven before 20 minutes.
- Cool cakes for 10 minutes in cake pans. Loosen sides with a metal spatula and invert onto a wire rack. Remove parchment paper and invert back - so the tops are up.
- If not using the cake right away, you can wrap the cooled layers in plastic wrap and store in the fridge or freezer.
- Wash and hull strawberries. Cut in halves or quarters and place in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse about 10-15 times until the consistency looks like chunky apple sauce.
- Leave 2 tablespoons of strawberry puree in the food processor and puree until really fine. Press through a strainer to remove seeds.
- Beat together cream cheese, sugar and 2 tbsp of strained strawberry puree until smooth (1 min.) If you prefer a darker pink hue add a few drop of food coloring. Add whipping cream and whip until fluffy (2 min.)
- Level the cake layers and place first layer on a cake plate or stand. Spread half of strawberry puree over top. Carefully spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture over the strawberries. Place second cake layer on top and spread remaining strawberry puree and another thin layer of cream cheese filling.
- Very thinly frost the top and outside of the cake with an angled spatula. Place remaining frosting in an icing bag with a petal tip (I used Wilton #104).
- With the fat side touching the cake pipe vertical ruffles around the cake. Start from the top going to the bottom. The thin end from one ruffle should slightly overlap on the thick side of the previous ruffle.
- Pipe hearts (or flowers) on the top. Decorate with optional sugar pearls.
- Store cake refrigerated due to the cream cheese frosting.
*If you want to make a larger cake, you can double the recipe and bake in 8- or 9-inch cake pans. Or you can bake the batter in just two 8- or 9-inch pan for a wider but not so tall cake.
** You can make your own cake flour with all-purpose flour and corn starch: Per 1 cup of flour replace 1 tbsp of AP flour with 1 tbsp corn starch.