In my effort to work on more layer cakes, I was really excited to try a new take on a funfetti cake by turning it into a strawberry funfetti cake! Although lighter on the strawberry flavor (since I wanted to use real strawberries, not extracts or Jello mix) the cake is very moist and perfectly sweet and tart. With layers of strawberry funfetti cake filled with strawberry French buttercream and covered in classic vanilla buttercream, this was a really fun cake to make.
I learned to make the French buttercream in my online class by Erica Obrien. It’s actually very easy, and more foolproof than meringue buttercream. French buttercream makes a very good cake filling because it’s thinner and custard-like, but it’s not ideal for icing a cake (unlike an American buttercream or meringue buttercream). Basically, don’t be intimidated because it’s easier than you think. Personally, any dessert with French in the title intimidates me…is that weird?
Make sure you use very fresh strawberries if possible because I find that they just taste better. If you must use frozen, you’ll still have to defrost the berries before you can puree them. Now, let’s make a cake!
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup strawberry puree
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two 6-inch cake pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
In the bowl of your mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Turn the speed to low and mix in the vegetable oil, strawberry puree, vanilla and lemon juice until just combined. Add each egg and mix. Stir in the sprinkles until just combined.
Divide the batter among the greased pans and bake for about 25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pans before removing.
For the French buttercream filling:
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar + 1 tbsp
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 10 strawberries, purred and reduced
- Dash of lemon juice
First, puree approximately 10 strawberries and pour into a small saucepan. Add 1 tbsp of sugar and a dash of lemon juice. Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally until the strawberries thicken. Reducing it helps remove access water and make the flavor more concentrated, which is ideal for mixing with frostings and fillings. Let cool once reduced and it appears syrupy.
Beat the egg yolk in your mixing bowl with a paddle attachment on high speed until they’re lighter in color and resemble a pastry cream (they should no longer look like yolks).
In a small saucepan on the stove, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium until it reaches about 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer, stirring occasionally. It should form a syrup.
Add a little of the sugar syrup to the egg yolks, avoiding the sides of the bowl or the paddle. Beat on high speed for several seconds, stop and add more syrup. Mix again on high speed until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Add the butter in batches while mixing on high speed until it forms a smooth but very soft filling. Pour in the cooled strawberry puree and mix to combine. If desired, you can add red or pink food coloring.
For the icing, I used one large batch of my vanilla buttercream recipe. Then I dyed the frosting light pink and added about 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles.
To assemble the cake, level the 6-inch layers and fill each layer with the strawberry French buttercream. Frost the outsides of the cake with the vanilla buttercream and top with swirls of buttercream and strawberries! Cut into it or move to the fridge until ready to serve (remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes-1 hour before serving so that it has time to soften.
I will say that the one thing I wish I did differently was dye to cake. Looking at it, it’s not obvious that it’s strawberry, so when I make this again, I will definitely color the cake with some pink food coloring before baking so it looks even better when you cut into it!