Strawberry Cake

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Irene's strawberry cake recipe
Photo by Max Kelly
Image by Max Kelly

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Makes one (9-inch, 3-layer) cake

    For the strawberry syrup:
  • 1 cup strawberry puree*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • For the cake batter:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3¼ cups cake flour, plus more for tossing strawberries
  • 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 whole eggs plus 3 egg whites
  • 2¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blended oil
  • ½ cup room temperature milk
  • ⅔ cup strawberry syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 cups frozen strawberries, thawed, drained, and lightly chopped
  • For assembly:
  • 2½ cups room temperature butter
  • 2½ cups room temperature cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • 1-2 cups strawberry jam

  • *Thaw and blend frozen strawberries to make the strawberry puree.

1. Make the strawberry syrup: In a pot, combine strawberry puree and sugar with ½ cup water. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then strain and set aside.

2. Make the batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray three 9-inch cake pans with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, cake flour, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, vanilla, oil, and milk. Stir wet ingredients into flour mixture until well-combined. Fold strawberry syrup into cake batter.  

3. Lightly toss chopped strawberries in flour, then gently fold into cake batter. Portion batter into prepared pans. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Continue to bake until a cake tester comes out clean. Set cakes aside to cool. 

4. Assemble the cake: While cake is cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix cream cheese on low until smooth. Add butter and mix to combine until mixture is creamy and shiny. Add powdered sugar, salt, lemon juice, and food coloring (if using). Mix until fluffy. 

5. On a cake stand, place one strawberry cake. Spread with ½ cup to 1 cup strawberry jam, then top with another cake. Repeat with remaining jam and cake. Ice completed cake with cream cheese frosting.

From Irene’s Takes the Texas Diner Scene Global

At Irene’s in Austin, a true diner meal can’t conclude without a slice of some decadent dessert. That can only mean one thing at Irene’s: strawberry cake. “It’s what my mom made for my birthday every year,” Chef-owner Andrew Curren says of the pink confection of this strawberry cake recipe has developed a hardcore fanbase among Austinites. His wife, Irene’s pastry chef Mary Catherine, elevated the original Jell-O powder and boxed cake mix concoction to make a technique-driven strawberry cake recipe with high-quality ingredients (and no preservatives).

  • From Andrew Curren, Irene's, Austin

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