This is going to be very strange... but I don't have any pictures to go with this post. It seems wrong to post without pictures, but between the 12-hour shifts and some other plans, it was all I could do to get the cakes made (I also made a Cinnamon Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting -- you can find the recipe here...) before falling into bed.
Basically we had a going away party for a girl from work and she requested strawberry cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting. I had never made a strawberry layer cake before but I turned to Food Blog Search to find a recipe and quickly discovered that most people have never made a strawberry layer cake. Lots of strawberries on cakes, and strawberry cupcakes, and strawberry shortcakes, but no strawberry layer cakes. Well crap.
I finally figured though that cupcakes are just small cakes so I would just adapt one of those recipe. I found a promising looking recipe on Genesis of a Cook and made a small test batch. The cupcakes were very good, although the strawberry flavor was subtle you could still tell it was strawberry, and with strawberry cream cheese frosting the flavor came through nice and strong.
When I made the real cake I tripled the recipe, but I did change it a bit. In the first version the strawberries were cooked down with some sugar -- in my final version I defrosted some frozen berries and then pureed them, making sure to leave some chunky bits. Again, the flavor was subtle, although it did come through a bit more after cooling completely, but still definitely strawberry. My big problem was that the finished product seemed to have a gummy texture, although I only tried a very small corner, so that might have just been my imagination.
The other problem I had with the recipe was the frosting. Despite having my cream cheese chilled and my butter at room temp -- it was a gloppy, sloppy mess. I had to put the whole thing in the fridge for a few hours to make it even close to manageable. Luckily, when I let it come to room temp before serving the frosting retained some of it's shape instead of reverting to the disaster it was before a stint in the fridge.
Here is the small batch recipe -- triple it for two 9x2 cakes and a couple of cupcakes.
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup pureed strawberries
Frosting -- this is more than enough frosting for two 9x2 layer cakes, so you might want to cut it in half... unless you just want to eat the frosting...
1 stick butter room temp
8 oz cream cheese chilled
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
strawberry puree to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Grease muffin pan.
Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the strawberry puree (I think I ended up adding a bit more than 1/2 cup...) and mix well. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until they disappear. Divide into muffin pan and bake for about 10 minutes.
For the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese in the mixer until well blended. Add the powdered sugar and mix well. Add the vanilla and then the strawberry puree a little at a time until you have the flavor and consistency you want -- probably between 1/4 and 1/2 a cup.