This was one of those "cake lust" moments that could not be defeated by a first round failure--I'm no quitter. Oh, there would be cake alright, and it would be strawberry as I had originally craved it: two-layers, plenty of yummy frosting and filled with fresh fruit. My troubles with my cake dud yesterday seemed to have something to do with the addition of whole wheat pastry flour. I was going for a bit "healthier" version what with my Eat to Live plan and all. Well, scratch that--no cake worth its salt should be made healthy--unless its the carrot cake--maybe then playing around with some wheat additions would be tolerable. But not this one.
It seems so odd to me to find that most cakes in the strawberry category are met with a box of white cake mix and/or a box of strawberry Jell-O. As I researched this phenomenon, I was not alone in my dismay. I read many discussion threads whereby the desperate search for a cake worthy of fresh strawberry flavor, sans the "ick" and processed food additions--was met with many a cooks scrambling to come up with their own rendition.
In one instance, someone recommended taking a Paula Deen Hummingbird cake and simply adding strawberry puree in place of the other fruits called for. In another cake--Paula Deen again, a strawberry substitution in place of banana was suggested. Then there were those "bread" recipes. I was not big on baking a strawberry bread, I wanted a cake of the strawberry persuasion--nothing less would suffice.
Then I hit cake nirvana on cakecentral.com! I know I've visited this site before, plenty of times in fact. (Any reader of this blog knows how I heart cakes.) And it was here that I came across a quite good looking cake-maker's strawberry cake--albeit, non-vegan, but I could tell this caker knew cakes (it was submitted by "anricat"). So I adapted the recipe by first making vegan adjustments. Second, by tasting the batter as I went along to determine how many fresh strawberries would be needed to supply the sufficient amount of "pink" without watering down the batter too much (their recipe called for frozen strawberries--no way--not for this girl). Also, I opted to skip the food coloring in the batter--my cake sort of was pink when I placed it in the oven, but after slicing, I saw I really needed to ratchet up the pink factor. So I made a pink frosting to accompany this beauty with just a few teeny drops of red food coloring. This makes a huge difference in the cake's appearance in my humble opinion. This cake is now ready for a party or brunch!
Vegan Strawberry Cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup vegetable margerine
1 1/3 cup Florida Crystals or other "healthy" sugar
3 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 4 tablespoons warm water (equiv. of 2 eggs)
4 oz. of vegan sour cream
1 1/2 cup puree of fresh strawberries (a pint and a half should do it)
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray two-8" round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper. Slice your strawberries up and place in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar (this helps them soften up a bit.) Set aside. Prep your Ener-G egg replacer and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, cream the margerine with the sugar and set aside. Add the egg replacer to this and mix well. In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Puree your strawberries so that they mixture is pretty smooth--pour them into a small bowl. You'll still have a few chunks, that's okay. Whisk your strawberry mixture with the sour cream and vanilla. Next, in alternating additions, add about a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mix well. Next add a third of the berry mixture, mix well. Repeat this--ending with the flour mixture. Be sure to just hand mix after the final addition of the flour--this will help create less gluten formation. Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Vegan Pink Buttercream Frosting
4 tablespoons vegetable margerine or Earth Balance butter
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 cups powdered sugar (or more depending on thickness you want)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 drop red food coloring (or any amount you want depending upon your "pink" craving)
In a large bowl cream the margerine and shortening with about a 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar. Then add the extracts. Continue mixing with blender, adding the powdered sugar until desired "fluff" has been met. Add a drop of red food color until desired "pink" has been met! Frost the cake only after it cools completely!
I stored my cake in a cake keeper on the kitchen counter. YUM!