Before I begin the tedious task of moving post from my old blog to this one, I’m going to quickly make some notes on a cake I baked last weekend.

The idea was to create a strawberry cake that included neither a cake mix or jello powder. In other words: 100% from scratch. After googling around a bit I realized that I must be the first person ever to consider this alternate to the old boxed-up standbys, else it is an impossible feat? There are almost no from scratch strawberry cakes anywhere on the internet. Seriously, WHY?!

I improvised by taking what was essentially a 1234 cake ratio and adding to it some pureed strawberries and vanilla extract. A fairly simplistic approach, but dependable nonetheless. I’m not a knowledgeable baker by any means, so I don’t feel qualified to tweak the basic formula too much.

Overall, the consistency was good, the cake was moist and not too dense, and a desirable texture. I was a little bit concerned about the seeds being in the cake, but opted for the lazy route instead of straining, and the seeds turned out to be a non issue anyway as they were basically unnoticable.  I also poured some of the extra juice from the strawberries into the batter, which ensured the cake had plenty of moisture, but next time I may try to incorporate the juice differently.

The finished result was quite a tasty cake. It actually reminded me a little bit of carrot cake in flavor, texture, and color (why would this be??) but with strawberry undertones. Unfortunately, not the bright and summery strawberry flavor I had anticipated, but still good. After sitting a day or so in the refrigerator, the strawberries eventually seemed to soak in a bit more and take on a more dominant flavor. It also wasn’t the bright and summery pink color that I had anticipated…the dough browned as it baked. The one change I would definitely make next time would be to use fresh berries rather than frozen…even though frozen ones are cheaper, they lose a lot of water when they defrost and turn to a gloppy mush. This is fine for some purposes, but I think that using fresh strawberries will definitely contribute to a better color and more strawberry flavor in a cake.

While it was a good cake, I’m not sure I will do the same thing again. I’m actively trying to brainstorm better ways to go about making a 100% from-scratch strawberry cake! what I’ve come up with so far:

1) perhaps begin with a recipe for a good old-fashioned milk cake, and infuse the strawberries and juices into the milk (strawberry milk) along with pureeing and adding them directly into the batter. Perhaps this will help the strawberry flavor to become more fully incorporated. Building off that idea, I could even make a tres strawberry leches cake, although I think that will probably lack some of the strawberry flavor i want.

2) I have a delicious recipe for banana cupcakes; perhaps I could work some strawberries into that. Strawberry-banana cupcakes? hey, it works for smoothies…

3) use some of the leftover/drained-off strawberry juice to cook down into a syrup. This could most likely take the place of the “strawberry extract” that is called for in some recipes.

4) Forego the strawberry batter and copy the delicious strawberry cake (tort truskawkowy) I enjoyed as a student in Poland.

While the batter itself is not strawberry-flavored (its a simple sponge cake soaked with lemon juice and water after baking), the layers between are strawberry cream. Still lots of flavor and an absolutely delicious cake.

I really do want to figure out a A+ strawberry cake recipe sooner or later….there must be a way! Anyone already have a good recipe, perhaps one handed down from the days before cake mix and jello was all the rage? Surely someone’s grandmother is in possession of it…unfortunately, not mine. This is why I should start buying some very old cookbooks, eh?

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