It's Mother's Day this weekend for which this fluffy layered Mother's Day Strawberry Cake with fresh strawberry filling and cream cheese frosting is just perfect! And piped vintage ruffles are involved as well to add that special touch that your mom deserves!
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.
Making My Mother-in-Law's Favorite Cake for Mother's Day
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 snickerdoodle 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. Better said, she gets to eat it all by herself!
For Mother's Day, I thought I would treat my mother-in-law 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 recipes (like this one), not even the instructions are included! That's a bold move from the Mennonites!
The Journey of Making This Cake Was Epic!
Let me say: making this cake was a real adventure. As such, I only wanted a 6-inch-round cake. So I made the batter (while completely winging it with the method) totally prepared and 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 after being inspired by my mother-in-law!
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 a recipe called Natasha's Strawberry Layer Cake. Funny enough, the strawberry filling in her cake is simply pureed strawberries (at chunky apple-sauce-like consistency).
Making the Frosting, Piping, and Adding Color
Reading through Natasha's post, I was intrigued by her cream cheese frosting. And for good reason, since 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. Thumbs up!
First, I was afraid without butter the frosting might not be stable enough to hold up for piping, but the ruffles came out beautifully. What's more, I even added a little strawberry puree to the frosting for flavor and color.
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 points outwards.
I also used a few white sugar pearls to decorate the top and the side.
Strawberry Ruffle Cake (for Mother’s Day)
For the Starlight Cake:
- 1-½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 2-⅛ cup cake flour
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
For the Strawberry Filling:
- ¾ lb strawberries
For the Cream Cheese Filling/Frosting:
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- ⅓ cup sugar
- few drops of red/pink food coloring
For the Starlight Cake:
- 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.
For the Strawberry Filling:
- 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.
For the Cream Cheese Filling/Frosting:
- 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 tablespoon 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.
Pin this Strawberry Ruffle Cake recipe for later?
A Couple Useful Notes Regarding the Recipe
*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 tablespoon of AP flour with 1 tablespoon corn starch.
Other Recipes You Might Enjoy
- Vanilla Raspberry Cake
- Vegan Chocolate Mousse - 2 Ingredients, Dairy Free, Paleo
- White Chocolate Macadamia Cake
- Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
To prevent strawberries from running on a cake, you can consider several options. One popular method is to apply a thin layer of frosting on the cake before adding the sliced strawberries. This helps create a barrier that can prevent the juices from seeping into the cake layers. Additionally, refrigerating the cake after adding the strawberries can help set the frosting and minimize any potential running.
Typically, there are approximately 2.5 to 3 cups of whole strawberries in a pound. However, this can vary slightly based on the size of the strawberries and how they are sliced or chopped.
Creating a cake in the shape of a strawberry can be accomplished by using a specially designed strawberry-shaped cake pan or by sculpting the cake into the desired shape using a regular round or rectangular cake. After baking the cake, you can then use frosting and food coloring to achieve the distinct red color of a strawberry and to add detailing such as seeds and leaves.
One interesting fact about strawberry cake is that it has been enjoyed for centuries, with variations appearing in different cultures around the world. The use of strawberries in cakes dates back to ancient Rome, where they were incorporated into various sweet dishes, including cakes and pastries.
A secret ingredient that can enhance the flavor and texture of cakes is often buttermilk. Buttermilk contributes a tangy richness and moistness to the cake, making it tender and fluffy. It also helps create a more tender crumb and can add a subtle complexity to the overall flavor profile of the cake.
The concept of incorporating strawberries into cakes can be traced back to early European culinary traditions. Over time, the popularity of strawberry cakes spread across various regions, leading to the creation of diverse strawberry cake recipes and variations tailored to different cultural preferences and tastes.
The exact origin of the first strawberry cake is not definitively documented, but early forms of strawberry cake were likely created in Europe, where strawberries were first cultivated. The use of strawberries in baking and desserts has a long history in European culinary traditions, and recipes for strawberry-based cakes have evolved over the centuries.
People enjoy strawberry cake for its delightful combination of sweet and tangy flavors, as well as its vibrant and inviting appearance. The natural sweetness of strawberries, when incorporated into the cake, adds a fresh and fruity dimension that complements the richness of the cake itself. Additionally, the bright red color of the strawberries can make the cake visually appealing and inviting for special occasions and celebrations.