Monday, April 6, 2015

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Cake

If kitchens have a life of their own, then mine was feeling a deep sense of contentment this past weekend. My family was coming over and I wanted to make an old-fashioned country dessert for our Easter brunch. I found the perfect vanilla cake recipe in Barefoot Contessa Parties. This cake is light, moist and delicious. I topped both layers with the vanilla buttercream icing from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook and then decorated them with strawberries. It couldn't have been easier and my family loved it. This is the perfect dessert for springtime celebrations. I love how fresh and old-fashioned it looks.

Vanilla Cake

3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 and 1/2 sticks) at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans.

Cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. On medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream, zests, and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well. Stir together the flour, cornstarch, salt and baking soda. On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine just until smooth.

Pour the batter evenly into the pans, smooth the tops with a spatula, and bake in the center of the oven for 40 - 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 30 minutes, then remove to wire racks and let cool to room temperature.


Traditional Vanilla Buttercream

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pint of strawberries

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of the sugar, the milk, and the vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency and extra-creamy.

Cover the bottom cake layer with half of the icing and decorate with strawberry slices. Repeat with the top layer. Put one whole strawberry in the center.


My kitchen in the late afternoon after everyone has left. All cleaned up, it feels peaceful and happy after a day of cooking and celebration. A gift of flowers and the remnants of an easter basket make me smile. At this moment, all is right with the world... 

I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend.
What is your favorite dessert to make for springtime celebrations?


  1. If looks could kill....well, that cake is both beautiful and simple. I agree with you. The old fashioned kind of layer cakes have somewhat fallen out of favor for the sheet cakes and that sheet stuff you wrap them in. Yours looks perfect.

    1. Donna, I agree. I also do a pumpkin layer cake this way, with the sides bare and just the tops frosted. Not so fancy that way, just simple and old-fashioned looking.

  2. Looks so good, beautiful. My spring/summer signature dessert is a strawberry rhubarb clafoutis that I learned to make in the south of France about 16 years ago.

    1. Kathy, will you make it for me?

    2. Yes I will - absolutely. I loosely translated it from a French magazine one summer day in Grasse when it was too hot to do anything else.

  3. Sunday this cake looks scrumptious! I have made the cake before but typically I use whipped cream and strawberries. I will have to try your version the next time.

    I hope you had a fabulous Easter! I am sure it was fabulous to have your family there!

    Have a beautiful day!

    1. Elizabeth, I also loved the cake you made for Easter. Just beautiful! I hope you had a good one also!

  4. I saw this on your Instagram feed on Easter Sunday and have committed to making it this spring. Strawberry Shortcake is always my spring 'go to' dessert, so this one will be perfection!

    1. Me too, especially now that strawberries are starting to be good!

  5. Beautiful cake and lovely kitchen. That vase.. The cascading flowers...perfect.

  6. Looks vibrant and delicious! I used to despise strawberries but I've somehow recently developed quite a fondness for them. This looks like the perfect way to eat them.

  7. Cake looks delicious. You can't beat a strawberry!

  8. Yes, I've made that cake. So light and delicious.