Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sweetest Of Them All: Strawberries + Cream Birthday Cake

There's nothing more girly and pretty than a pink strawberry cake. I was feeling the urge to make something very pink for my mother in law's birthday - and the organic strawberry jam in the fridge was calling my name too. I've been suffering from a case of work life balance lately - I have so many ideas and things I want to do for photoshoots and cakes, recipes and flavour ideas - yet of course I am a wife and mother, too - sometimes I feel I could get so much more done and really live up to my potential if I could just "work full time" on my ideas (haha) - but then I laugh at this thought as soon as Teddy jumps on me to give me a sweet unprompted hug, or babbles out the new words he learned or wants to sit on my lap and have me read him a book. I have two days a week where we have childcare and I power-work - baking, photographing and madly blogging and making work for my freelance jobs. Weekends I attempt to still do cake orders but then that impedes on our time together as a family...  I dunno.
Still, at least I found time to make this pretty cake for my mother-in-law! It delighted her - which delighted me. It was actually fun to make something so simple, pink and pretty to look at.

This cake tasted just like strawberry ice cream to me! Which I've realized is one of my favourite flavours. Up there with chocolate and peanut butter ice cream. So here's the recipe:

Strawberries + Cream Birthday Cake


For The Cake:

1 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup of strawberry preserves
2 cups of heavy cream
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For The Buttercream: 
2 cups unsalted butter
4 cups of icing sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup of strawberry preserves
dash of cream
tiny amount of pink gel food colouring
pastel sprinkles - I used India Tree brand Nature's Colors Carnival Mix Sprinkles

Make It: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7x2 inch round cake pans. I also cut parchment paper rounds to place in the cake pans to help with nonstick powers. 

1. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy.
2. With the mixer on low, add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and strawberry preserves and mix until incorporated.
3. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt.
4. With the mixer on low, add the flour in three parts, alternating with the heavy cream until just mixed. Do not overmix!
5. Divide batter evenly into three greased, floured and lined cake pans.
6. Bake at 350 degrees on the center rack of your oven until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean - about 25 minutes.
7. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks.
8. Meanwhile, make the buttercream: beat all ingredients on high speed until light and fluffy!
9. Using an offset spatula, frost and fill cake layers, frosting the entire exterior of the cake. Using a cake icing smoother, smooth the frosting then place in freezer for 15 minutes to set.
10. Do a final frost of the cake, smoothing again with the icing smoother. Optional: pipe drop stars around the top for a border (you'll need a piping bag fitted with an open star tip) and lightly dust with pastel sprinkles! I added a fresh organic strawberry for decor.

Yeah that work/life balance thing... what do you guys do to make it "work?" Or do you find, like me, that's it's a constant process of negotiation? That seems pretty okay too. Whenever I'm feeling down and struggling a bit with feeling overwhelmed, it's nice to know I'm not alone - here are two great posts on the topic:

That Juggling Thing by Oh Joy, and then this post on blog reality vs REAL reality: I've Been Thinking About This by The Day Book. (my house is currently a post-vacation mega explosion - and You Will Know Us By The Trail of Teddy is my constant daily reminder that I have a toddler in the house! But I can't have that clutter in a strawberry cake photograph, right? Ha...)

Ok guys! Til next time... hope you're doing great...

xo Lyndsay


Neha said...

Yummy! I'm going to try this, for sure : ) You and Ms. Sugar Penguin, I don't know how you ladies juggle so well - there's a little Wonder Woman in all of us, I think.

Coco Cake Land said...

@neha - oh neha you are very sweet! ^__^ the juggling all appears seamless online... but there's always little tornadoes behind the computer's facade!! ^__^

Anonymous said...

Ooh it's so pretty and sounds so delicious, I'll have to give it a try! Also, where's that beautiful cake stand from?

Unknown said...

I struggle with this all the time and been meaning to write about t (but no time, ha!) just when I thought I had a balance with my first girl, I go and have another baby... ;)
I know my success could be greater and I could do so much more (I have notebooks of ideas!!), but since I want to be at home and raise these lil cherubs and I get to be there for everything- that helps me most days. Then there is wine for the other days ;)

michelle lopez said...

I love this so hard. I recently struggled taking pictures of a tall layer cake — it looked so ugly! But your photos of this look great. The cake looks delicious and I love your photos.

Coco Cake Land said...

@visualheart aw thank you nicole! the cakestand is from minted.com! ^__^

@laurel - yes... i am certain it's such a common theme for bloggers in the creative fields... i would love to hear your take on it, especially with two now! i agree - seeing them change and grow daily is so special... xo

@michelle- oh thank you so much! oh i hear ya about getting irritated at photos or not getting a photo the way you imagined in your head!! too bad we didn't live closer we could have photoshoot practice days! ^__^

Emily said...

I was excited to read a little bit about this from you, Lyndsay, as in my head I always imagine your life of beautiful cakes and blogging to be some sort of organized sugar ship and 100% fun! Of course this is not the case with anyone. I feel like the ubiquitous of beautiful styled images on IG and blogs has created this pressure in all of us to almost LIVE a styled life, whether we directly realize it or not. And that pressure can create so much stress and lead to breakdowns and feelings of inadequacy - like we aren't doing something right because we aren't living with perfect style and ease in every moment in comparison to the oh so perfect lives we imagine our online photo heroes to have conquered. It's all really silly when we step back and look at it, but it is so easy to get bogged down by that pressure. It happens to me like oh um every week! :) I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts in a genuine way, but more so just want to applaud your amazing talent. You may not be completely fulfilled on the scale you aspire to, but I think that's part of the journey - to just keep going, keep reaching, keep making. You are truly talented and inspire so many, and I hope each day you feel successful in that simple thought. It really is an amazing accomplishment! XO!

Coco Cake Land said...

@emily - i just sent you an email - but thank you so much for your words of encouragement and insight, and for your very sweet words about my work! xoxo

Laura @ Blogging Over Thyme said...

I just discovered your blog via Pinterest--oh my gosh, it is beautiful! Love your style and photographs.

This cake is GORGEOUS! And I totally know what you mean in terms of life/work balance, it is a hard hard thing. I still struggle with it!

Coco Cake Land said...

@laura - oh thank you so much! glad you stopped by. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Lyndsay,
did you create a beautiful cake for your mother in law. The color combination that you have chosen is great. I find your pictures very pretty! In every detail!
I wish that you'll make your own balance between time for family, time for work and time for yourself. I'm very chaotic, but I got used to it.
I wish you all the best.

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