Strawberry Cake: An Old-Fashioned Treat

Guests will be tickled pink by this fresh berry dessert.
Old-fashioned strawberry cake, photo by Jay Swift

Old-fashioned strawberry cake, photo by Jay Swift

Photo by: Image courtesy of Jay Swift

Image courtesy of Jay Swift

Toasted coconut flakes add some texture and contrast to this from-scratch strawberry cake.

If you have the willpower to resist a slice of strawberry cake, you're a better person than I. Oh I'm not talking about those pretty pink box mixes frosted with fluffy icing straight out of the container—the ones that put dewy strawberries on top to fool you into thinking they're homemade. I'm talking from-scratch, old-fashioned, multi-layer strawberry cake. The kind that bake sale ladies put up front to catch everyone's attention. And rightly so.

At 4th & Swift restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia, pastry chef Louie Banes has the genuine recipe and a great food memory to go with it. "This cake was made by my father for my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary," he says. "My grandmother loved it so much she put it in the recipe book she compiled for all her children and grandchildren." 

Banes put his own spin on a few details to make it even more authentic. "The original recipe called for red food coloring and for the strawberries to be diced and put into the cake," he says. "I omitted the food coloring and pureed the strawberries, then folded them into the cake."

According to Banes, the cake is moist, the icing is sweet and the coconut "gives contrast in flavor and texture to the sweet icing." As if you needed more reasons to salivate. 

Six-Layer Strawberry Cake

Courtesy of pastry chef Louie Banes, 4th & Swift, Atlanta, Georgia

  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry liqueur
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cups fresh strawberries, pureed
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the frosting: 

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 boxes confectioner's sugar (1 pound each)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 cups coconut flakes, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8" by 2" cake pans, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda and salt. 

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and remaining sugar together until stiff peaks form. Fold into cake batter in three additions. 

Divide batter into the three cake pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 28-30 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Once baked, let cool completely. 

To frost: 

In a large bowl, beat together butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Slowly add milk and beat until smooth. Trim the cakes to even them out and cut each cake into two layers. 

Layer each cake with frosting and sliced strawberries. Frost all layers with the remaining frosting and garnish with toasted coconut flakes. Pipe rosettes on top of cake and decorate with fresh strawberries. 

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