I whipped up this cake half for Valentine’s Day and half just to keep myself occupied over the long and cold weekend we had here. After having been in Vermont for six months I suppose it was about time I saw -30F windchills. I opted to stay inside most of the weekend. I got a lot of work done and also napped and watched way too much Netflix and tried not to think too much about school.
But I did take some time in the kitchen too– I made an amazing orange tomato soup with herbed red quinoa, along with this vanilla almond strawberry cake. Ok, so the name’s a little clunky, but the flavors definitely aren’t!
There’s a flavorful vanilla cake with some added almond extract, some strawberry jam and strawberry sugar cookies, a strawberry malt soak, vanilla bean whipped cream, and the best strawberry buttercream. (And shhh this time I used frozen strawberries that had been soaked in champagne for an even more elegant and sophisticated frosting!)
I adapted the cake recipe from a vanilla almond cupcake recipe here. I essentially doubled the recipe to make two 9in round cakes. I loved the flavor of this cake and it transitioned from cupcakes nicely. It did bake up a little uneven, and I may have overcooked it by just a minute or two– I found it a bit dry. Perhaps next time I will torte it (I definitely think it is sturdy enough to hold up to this) so I have four layers and add more whipped cream and jam for moisture.
I made a quarter batch of strawberry sugar cookies from this site, but I used strawberry puree instead of dried strawberry powder and added a little strawberry extract too. To be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed with the cookies and would probably skip them next time. They were mildly sweet and very airy, so if that’s the kind of sugar cookie you like I would recommend them, but they weren’t flavorful or interesting enough to be worth making such a small batch for a cake. I bet they’d be nice on their own with some of my strawberry frosting though! I also used storebought strawberry jam, some vanilla bean whipped cream from my Cinnamon Cupcakes, and a strawberry buttercream that I also used in my Strawberry Moscato Cake.
Vanilla Almond Strawberry Cake
*I recommend making the strawberry puree for the buttercream and cookies first so it has plenty of time to cool. Then I made the cake, the cookies, and the fillings.
For the Cake..
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 T baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup heavy cream (or other milk, but use cream for extra richness)
- Line two 9in round cake pans with parchment and preheat oven to 350.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, at least five minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla bean paste and almond extract with the last egg.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- Measure out the cream or milk.
- Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
- Divide batter between the two pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake just begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester comes out clean.
For the Cookies (Note: This makes way more cookies than you will need but cutting it down anymore made the amounts silly. You could always decorate the cake with them, or frost them with extra buttercream for another treat.)
- 1 cup flour
- 2/3 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 tsp baking soda
- 2/3 tsp cream of tartar
- pinch salt
- 3 T butter, softened
- 2 T strawberry puree or jam
- heaping 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a small bowl.
- In a mixer cream the butter and sugar for a couple of minutes, then add in the strawberry puree.
- Add the egg and mix for two minutes.
- Add dry ingredients and mix to combine.
- Drop spoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes
For the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
*You probably only need a half recipe for this cake unless you decide to torte the cakes to make four layers
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, very cold
- 1 T vanilla bean paste or seeds from one vanilla bean
- 3/4 to 1 cup powdered sugar (to taste)
- Whip the cream in the chilled bowl of a stand mixer until soft peaks form.
- Add vanilla bean paste and then add powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time, whipping just briefly after each addition.
For the Strawberry Buttercream.
- 1 pound fresh (or frozen and thawed) strawberries
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Puree the strawberries in a blender until you have puree.
- Cook the strawberries over medium heat in a sauce pan for at least 20 minutes until the volume is reduced by half. (I went 40 minutes to get a thicker consistency and a stronger strawberry flavor.) Let cool completely.
- Cream butter for five minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add in 2 T of puree, the vanilla extract, and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Continue to beat.
- Repeat adding 2 T of puree (or a bit more if you wish) and 1 cup of powdered sugar twice more, for a total of 6T puree and 3 cups powdered sugar.
For the Strawberry Malt Soak
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 T strawberry puree
- 2 T malt powder
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.
- Level the cakes, if needed. (I needed.)
- Poke holes in the tops of both cakes. Spoon strawberry malt soak over the cakes. Be generous.
- spread a good layer of strawberry jam on top of the first layer of cake
- Crumble some strawberry sugar cookies over the jam
- Add 1 cup of vanilla bean whipped cream over the cookies.
- Add the second layer of cake and frost with the strawberry buttercream.