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Sincere Acts of Sweetness

June 30, 2008

Strawberry Nostalgia Cake

Today's was Linda's five year anniversary at our company. She's currently the office admin for our team, which is at least 200+ people. Today, we "surprised" her (I think she knew what was going on) by having a little party to acknowledge her career milestone and for all of us to say thank you for being so awesome.

To make Linda's anniversary even more special, one of the other admins, Rebekah, very cleverly found out her favorite dessert. Linda went into great detail about how when she was a little girl, she would get super excited when she would see an angel's food cake tin cooling upside down on top of a bottle. She said she knew her mom was making this cake. It's very simple, but the best desserts usually are.

I was a little nervous to make such an iconic cake from her childhood, but when she saw it waiting for her on the conference room table, she knew exactly what it was! She could hardly wait until she could get a bite. After she had a piece, she said she had to hold back the tears because it made her think of her mom, those many years ago. That's when I started to get all verklempt!

Strawberry Nostalgia Cake
Yield: Depending on large you cut the slices, you could serve 8 to 16.

1 Angel's Food Cake (here's my favorite scratch recipe, from a box mix, or store bought)
1 to 2 pints fresh strawberries (I highly recommend getting them organic and locally grown. The flavor is just so much better!)
1 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional)
1/4 cup of water
1 pint whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons powdered sugar

Wash and hull the strawberries. Dice 12 to 18 smallish ones and store in the refrigerator. Mash the remaining strawberries into a small bowl using the back of a fork, sprinkle with 1 tablespoons of sugar if desired. Give it a good mix, cover and leave them on the counter. Let them macerate at least an hour.

Make/buy an angel's food cake. Trim off any "skin" (this is what I refer to is the thin, light brown outermost layer of the cake. It should just roll off or might need some coaxing with a knife.) You should have a pretty, mostly white cake. Using a serrated bread knife, cut the cake in half vertically. Set the top aside.

Using a small paring knife or your fingers, cut or dig a tunnel around the perimeter of the cake, about 1/4 away from the sides (if you cut it too close to the sides of the cake, your filling will not only ooze out, but it will weaken the sides and the cake could fall). Discard/eat the little pieces of cake. Repeat process with top layer if you want, but don't cut too deep. Set the cake side.

In a chilled bowl (I prefer metal) using chilled beaters or whisk attachment, whip the cream on the highest speed until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and sugar and mix again until stiff peaks just start to form. Scrape down the bowl. Remove 1/2 cup of whipped cream, cover, and refrigerate. On medium speed, add a tablespoon of the mashed strawberries and mix until cream turns pink. Add another tablespoon, mix again and repeat 2 more times. You probably won't use all the strawberries making the strawberry whipped cream. The goal is to get the whipped cream pink and strawberryish, without deflating the cream.

Put the bottom of the cake on a cake board or serving platter. Fill the tunnel with strawberry whipped cream. Just fill it enough that there is a layer of cream, but you should still be able to see the cake peaking through. Fill the tunnel again, but this time with the diced strawberries (if you have extra slices that didn't fit, just toss them into the mashed strawberries and save it for when serve the cake). The top of the strawberries should be even with the top of the cake, or just slightly below. Top with more strawberry whipped cream. Put the top of the cake back on top.
Frost the cake with the whipped cream, being sure not to forget the center of the cake and refrigerate immediately. Wait at least 20 minutes or enough time for the whipped cream to set. Remove the cake from the fridge again and frost just the top of the cake with the reserved plain white whipped cream. Store in the fridge overnight and try to keep it there until you're ready to serve. Serve with any left over strawberries.

Would I Make This Again: Yes! It was so pretty, light, and summery. The cake didn't get too soggy and had a not-too-sweet, nostalgic quality to it. I would love to make this for a dessert to serve to guests after a BBQ or in the dead of winter (using frozen berries) when I'm really longing for summer. I'd also like to try this with other fruit, or a combination of a few. 4 out of 5 stars.


  1. Hi, Julia!
    You are a baking fool! I can't believe how much you are able to accomplish especially as your recipes are not "throw some stuff together" easy. Don't take that the wrong way. There are several of your recipes on my "to do" list. I'm trying to bake at least once a week if not twice. It's hard.
    I wanted to give you an update on my Wilton class. I've graduated and am on to class II. My advice is take the class but research the instructor. Sit in on a class. You are so experienced, I wouldn't want you to get unlucky and get one like I have. I'm not sure I'm going to continue on with her. Good luck and thanks for the yummy recipes and pix you post!

  2. I didn't get to sample the finished product, unfortunately, but I did get to try the "organic and locally grown" strawberries Julia managed to track down for this recipe and they were fabulous just by themselves! I'm sure the cake was even better!

  3. Wow! This is beautiful and sounds delicious... plus I love the name. I feel nostalgic every time I eat a Strawberry cake. Lucky Linda :)

  4. My Sunday School teacher when I was little used to make this cake, only I think hers used sweetened condensed milk somewhere in it. Yours is probably a thousand times better! Your recipes all look and sound fantastic. I've just tagged you for a "meme". The rules are posted on my blog! --Lulu

  5. Ingrid Girl, you have no idea. On top of making this cake, I also made enough strawberry short cake for 50 people. Yes, 50. I also make home made whipped cream but grossly over estimated the amount I needed and make twice what I needed! It was worth it though. Thank you for the tips about the Wilton class. I found a place last week that I might try. I'll let you know how it goes. :-)

    Mandy - you're too sweet. :-)

    Heather - I love your version of this cake! I am so scared to try anything with alcohol though. I think I'll need to come over and try some of yours :-)

    Lulu - Aww! I'm so glad I could bring back some memories for you. It's hard to go wrong with condensed milk and cake though. I might have to give that a try sometime. And thanks for the meme! I've never done one before and will need a few days to think of something to post about.

  6. Julia,

    I absolutely LOVE your site. I am so NOT A BAKER so mostly I just drool at your creations :)

    But this cake is so easy, how could I possibly mess it up?! I am going to serve this for a few BBQ's we are having in the upcoming couple of months - this will be my "signature" dish... If the trial one comes out ok! ;o

  7. crazy4shabbychic - Thank you for taking the time to tell me that! This is the perfect non-baker recipe. I really think you'll love it. Please be sure to stop by and let me know how it turned out!

  8. OMG this looks soooo amazing! I may have to make this, but with blackberries instead of strawberries! Gorgeous!

  9. I just found your site today. Oh what memories this cake brought back. This was my "specialty" when I was in high school. I used to make it with peaches also. Enjoying your blog!


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