Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Cream Frosting

August 31, 2010

Friends, I am coming off a most exciting, fun, and food filled weekend.  I was lucky enough to participate in the IFBC (International Food Blogger’s Conference) here in Seattle.  I found some of the content helpful, some of it inspiring, some of it not relevant to what I do, and some of it simply boring.  Pretty standard for a conference, right?  For me, the real value and the tremendous fun came in hanging out with some really wonderful people eating, drinking, laughing, and talking with one another.  In addition to hanging out with old friends, I got to make some new ones  including Megan from A Sweet Spoonful and Sarah from Lettuce Eat Kale.  I am excited to know two more lovely women in the Bay area!  And I finally finally got to meet Peabody.

I kicked Randy and the boys out strongly suggested Randy take the boys up to Lopez so that I could invite some women to stay with me and he graciously accepted my suggestion.  That freed up some beds in our house so that Cheryl, Tracy, Denise, Joy, and Kristina could stay at Hotel Dana Treat.  I was so thrilled to be able to not only share our house with them, but also meals at some of the best restaurants Seattle has to offer.  We had sandwiches and incredible views at Matt’s in the Market, perfectly proportioned toppings on perfectly charred pizza crusts at Delancey, and an unbelievable, no-holds-barred tasting menu at the new hot spot Staple and Fancy.

I baked some treats for my fellow food bloggers (including these cookies) – of course I did – but alas, this strawberry cake was not for them.  I actually baked this cake to bring to a Sunday night dinner with friends.  Normally, I make something much more simple for a casual dinner – especially on a Sunday.  But John and Lauren’s son Jaden is a dessert lover of the highest order and I feel it is my duty to keep sophisticating his dessert palate.  Also, Randy and I had just celebrated our 8th anniversary and Randy loves strawberries.  I don’t think I gave strawberries their due this summer so I made this cake for him too.

As I mention on a semi-regular basis, layer cakes and I are not the best of friends.  In general, they would not be invited to my birthday party (as my 3 year old is fond of saying).  I would make an exception for this cake because it was very well-behaved.  It is still a layer cake, meaning that the cakes need to be baked, split, and filled.  Frosting needs to be made and the whole thing needs to be assembled without looking like the leaning tower of Pisa.  But the filling is nothing more than jam and fresh strawberries and the frosting is made from cream cheese and butter (no multi-step buttercream here), and really the whole thing was just a joy to make.  And to eat.

One Year Ago: Mixed Berry Spoon Cake

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Cream Frosting
Bon Appétit
12 servings

Whenever I make a cake like this one, I always make the cake part days ahead and freeze them once they are cool.  I allow them to thaw out overnight before proceeding with the recipe.

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
½ cup seedless strawberry jam
¾ cup heavy whipping cream

3 cups cake flour
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
3 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
7 large eggs
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
6 tbsp. plus 1/3 cup seedless strawberry jam
2 pounds strawberries, hulled, sliced, divided

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl.  Beat in sugar, then jam.  Beat cream in medium bowl until peaks for.  Fold whipped cream into frosting.  Cover; chill until firm enough to spread, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325ºF.  Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans with 2-inch high sides.  Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda into medium bowl.  Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy.  Add eggs 1 at a time beating to blend after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Add sour cream; beat 30 seconds.  Add flour mixture in 3 additions, beating to blend after each addition.  Divide batter between prepared pans.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.  Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes.  Run small sharp knife around pan sides, then turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely.

Using large serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half.  Place 1 cake half, cut side up, on cake plate.  Spread 2 tablespoons strawberry jam, then ¾ cup frosting.  Top with ¾ cup sliced berries, arranging in a single layer.  Repeat 2 more times with cake layer, jam, frosting, and berries.  Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down.  Spread 2 cups frosting over top and sides of cake in thin layer to coat completely.  Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.  Stir remaining 1/3 cup jam to loosen.  Spoon teaspoonfuls onto top and sides of cake, then use back of spoon to swirl jam decoratively into frosting.

(Do ahead:  Can be made 8 hours ahead.  Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.)  Serve cake slices with remaining sliced strawberries alongside.


  1. I am so jealous of all you IFBC-goers! Next year I’m going to choose between that conference and BlogHer Food. Or maybe Foodbuzz. Oy. I am so jealous of all the amazing bloggers you got to meet! From all of your tweets it sounded like a blast.

    I have never successfully made a layer cake except for the chocolate layer cake I posted last week. and that only occurred because I clicked my heels together three times in just the right way at just the right time. This looks splendid though. Strawberries definitely deserve their due credit and you did them some serious justice here.

    Comment by Joanne — August 31, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

  2. I admire your dedication to the layer cake!! I am terrified. Yours always looks perfect, natch. oxox

    Comment by brooke — September 1, 2010 @ 12:01 am

  3. That’s some gorgeous cake, lady!
    I read one blogger’s entire report on the IFBC, it looked interesting and some not so interesting, as you said.

    I just saw your pic on 5 Second Rule’s site.
    How generous of you to put up total strangers at your home!
    You are a good egg.
    Sorry I missed it.

    Comment by stacey snacks — September 1, 2010 @ 12:59 am

  4. I think I’ll have to give this a go – I have a 3 year old’s birthday in a couple of weeks, and I love the idea of making ahead and freezing the cake part. Thanks!

    Comment by Amanda@easypeasyorganic — September 1, 2010 @ 2:21 am

  5. awesome cake,a slice please for my start of the day!:)

    Comment by alison — September 1, 2010 @ 5:15 am

  6. Highlights of the weekend? Meeting you and the gals. Conference aside, what a treat! So sorry I couldn’t make it for dinner Monday night. My sister and her boyfriend were pretty dead-set on barbequing and, geesh, the weather turned out to be pretty amazing. Anyway, back home now. Blah.

    Thank you for all of the organization and generosity, Dana. Let us know when you come to the Bay Area! Would love to show you around!

    Comment by Megan Gordon — September 1, 2010 @ 5:38 am

  7. Wooooaaaahh. That looks absolutely delightful! Why didn’t I have someone like you in my life when I was growing up? I’ve still never baked a whole cake. I’m terrified. But you make it look so easy…

    Comment by Angharad — September 1, 2010 @ 2:05 pm

  8. Dana – It was such a pleasure to meet you at IFBC and to have dinner with you at Delancey (even if we didn’t have much time to talk across the table)! Thanks so much for letting me crash your little party and go to dinner… I had an amazing time.

    I’ve been looking through your blog… and your photographs and recipes are absolutely lovely. I will definitely be back and can’t wait to see more!

    Comment by Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — September 1, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

  9. what a beautiful cake. I love layered cakes, especially strawberry flavored ones! The simple decorating is so pretty as well :)

    Comment by megan @ whatmegansmaking — September 1, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

  10. What fun…..and this cake looks yummy!

    Your post is nice distraction. Jackson ended up with an intestinal obstruction (caused by the surgery and radiation back in 2005) and he is now recovering from emergency surgery. Thankfully all is going smoothly and Children’s now has wi-fi in all the rooms to help keep me entertained. :)

    I’m going to fill my afternoon visiting your friend’s blogs!

    Comment by Kelly — September 1, 2010 @ 7:10 pm

  11. Sounds like you ladies had such a fun weekend! Wish I could’ve made my way out there for the conference. Maybe next year! In the meantime, I will continue to ogle over the fact that you make layer cakes. On Sundays.

    Comment by fresh365 — September 1, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

  12. I was feeling really good about your hostessing powers until I realized that you didn’t serve me strawberry layer cake.

    Now I’m depressed and a little bitter.

    (But mostly depressed.)

    Comment by Cheryl — September 1, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

  13. That is one yummy-looking dessert, Dana. If I’d known of your baking prowess I’d have commissioned a birthday cake!

    It was so lovely to meet you and to get to know you a little in between sessions — and mad dashes in search of food.

    And thanks, too, for your generosity in including me in the mix with your party posse @ Delancey. Quite the delicious dinner & a fun gaggle of gals too.

    When are you coming to the Bay Area? Would love to return the favor and take you on some edible adventures in my neck of the woods. Just lemme know.

    Comment by sarah henry — September 1, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

  14. Mmmmm this looks good! Someday I want to stay at Hotel Dana Treat. And not just for the food, but that is a good thing to, but you are seriously an amazing person. I can’t wait to see you again. I can’t believe it’s been a year…too long!

    Comment by Katie @ goodLife {eats} — September 2, 2010 @ 1:38 am

  15. I am sorry missed the conference wish i could have met all of you but i signed up too late and it was sold out. Nice dessert too. I am glad i found our blog.

    Comment by Delishhh — September 2, 2010 @ 4:23 am

  16. I so wish I could have attended IFBC. Sounds like I missed a great time as I knew I would! This is a cake I would definitely invite to my birthday party. This is perfect. Strawberries and cream cheese and jam. Love it.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — September 2, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

  17. At the last minute I decided that I’d buy an IFBC ticket and they had already sold out. Oh well, there’s always next year. I should make more trips to Seattle as my best friend has just moved there, so hopefully we’ll finally get to meet! As for the strawberry cake? Looks beautiful.

    Comment by kickpleat — September 2, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

  18. I looove how the jam is swirled all over the cake! Sounds like IFBC was an amazing time. :)

    Comment by Ashley — September 9, 2010 @ 1:01 am

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