Strawberry Mascarpone Cake

A delicious, rustic, 3 layered Strawberry Mascarpone Cake using freeze-dried strawberries to create a deep strawberry flavor with a hint of vanilla and a buttery tender crumb.

Thinly frosted, naked, 3-layered Strawberry Mascarpone Cake on a wooden cake stand with fresh strawberries and white flowers on top | URBAN BAKES

I love the element of surprise with fresh strawberries. Some can be juicy sweet while others can send a jolt of tartness to the side of the cheeks when bitten into. Either way, they’re great on their own and surely fun to unleash a little baking creativity. And while this fruit is in its Summer prime, I couldn’t help but use it to my advantage to make this delicious, rustic, layered cake that’s (nearly) 100% naturally pink.

Sliced Strawberry Mascarpone Cake with fresh strawberries and white flowers | URBAN BAKES

The goal was to create a pink cake as best as possible using natural ingredients and without the need for gelatin or food color. The reality is, for the amount of batter used to create a 3 layered cake, the TINIEST amount (and I mean, tiny like a dot) of red food color was needed. Without it, the cake will be more peach than pink. The pink-ish color is able to come through when light-colored ingredients are used. Using egg whites vs whole eggs, clear vanilla extract vs regular vanilla extract, and American butter vs grass-fed butter are just a few ingredient swaps to help achieve a more natural pink cake.

When it comes to butter, I highly recommend using American butter as opposed to its counterpart because it has less butterfat thus, making it more pale yellow/beige. Note that most European and grass-fed butters generally have a higher butterfat percentage which in turn, creates a deeper yellow hue.

The topmost ingredient used to achieve a true strawberry flavor and color, is freeze dried strawberries! Incorporating this into the cake mix was game changer. It’s natural, no added sugar, has a long shelf life and can be eaten as a snack or mixed into smoothies, drinks, yogurt, and even cake batter and frosting!

Note that because of its fruit sugar content, the broken down pieces and powder form of the freeze dried strawberries can be slightly sticky and clump together. When this happens, simply use a fork or knife to break it apart and it will easily loosen.

Thinly frosted, naked, 3-layered Strawberry Mascarpone Cake on a wooden cake stand with fresh strawberries and white flowers on top | URBAN BAKES

The freeze dried strawberries are both sweet and tart with loads of strawberry flavor. It’s the perfect ingredient to use if you’re trying to avoid a good amount of gel food color or gelatin as seen in this previous strawberry cake.

To further amplify the fruit flavor, use a generous spread of your favorite jam or preserves between each cake layer and place thinly sliced fresh strawberries over the jam. The mascarpone frosting is also sweetened and flavored with freeze dried strawberries and has a unique creamy, almost buttery taste and mouthfeel, with a note of strawberry. Certainly surprising yet beautifully delicious!


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Thinly frosted, naked, 3-layered Strawberry Mascarpone Cake on a wooden cake stand with fresh strawberries and white flowers on top | URBAN BAKES

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Thinly frosted, naked, 3-layered Strawberry Mascarpone Cake on a wooden cake stand with fresh strawberries and white flowers on top | URBAN BAKES

Strawberry Mascarpone Cake


  • Author: URBAN BAKES
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 8 inch cake 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

 

A delicious, rustic, 3 layered Strawberry Mascarpone Cake using freeze-dried strawberries to create a deep strawberry flavor with a hint of vanilla and a buttery tender crumb.


Ingredients

Scale

STRAWBERRY CAKE

  • 2 1/2 cups (310 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (80 grams) freeze dried strawberries, separated
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg whites (175 grams), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) clear vanilla extract, separated
  • 3/4 cup (180 grams) milk
  • red food color (optional)

STRAWBERRY MASCARPONE FROSTING

  • 2 cups (480 grams) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (58 grams) powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) mascarpone cheese, room temperature

OTHER

  • 1/2 cup (152 grams) strawberry jam or preserves
  • 8 oz (227 grams) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 8 oz (227 grams) fresh whole strawberries



Instructions

  1. CAKE: Heat oven to 350°F (180°C).  Evenly spray the bottom and sides of three 8-inch (20 cm) round baking pans with baking spray with flour; set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. 
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the freeze dried strawberries on high speed until a powder begins to form. Stop the food processor and scrape down the sides. Continue to pulse until all of the dried strawberries have broken down into a powdered state.  The powder will be very sticky and clump together.
  4. In a bowl fitted to an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and 1 cup (40 grams) freeze dried strawberry powder on medium to high speed until fluffy and light pink in color, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Slowly add the egg whites and beat until well blended.  Add sour cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until just combined. 
  5. Slowly add in the flour mixture alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Continue to mix on low to medium speed until just combined. The batter will be a light peach color.  To achieve a more vibrant pink tone, add a smidge of red food color.  Divide batter equally among the prepared pans. 
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry or with a few dry crumbs.  Leave cakes in the pan to rest for 10 minutes before removing onto a wire rack to cool to room temperature. 
  7. FROSTING: In a bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, mix heavy cream, powdered sugar and 1/4 cup (20 grams) freeze-dried strawberry powder on low to medium speed for 1 minute.  Gradually increase speed to medium-high and continue to mix until soft peaks begin to form.  Add in mascarpone cheese and remaining vanilla, continue to mix until stiff peaks form. Taste test and if more sweetness or strawberry flavor is needed, add another 1/4 cup strawberry powder.
  8. ASSEMBLY:  Spread about 1/2 cup of strawberry mascarpone frosting on top of the bottom cake layer. Leave the edge of the frosting slightly higher than the center to create a shallow dip for the fruit jam or preserves to rest inside.
  9. Spread about a 1/4 cup (76 grams) jam or preserves on top of the frosting about 1/2 inch from the edge. Lay slices of fresh strawberries on top. 
  10. Place a second cake layer above the fresh strawberries and repeat the process of spreading frosting, spreading jam/preserves, and layering fresh strawberries once more. Place the third cake layer on top. 
  11. Spread a coat of frosting on the top and sides of the cake.  While turning the cake stand in one direction and steadily holding a bench scraper with the other hand, remove excess frosting from the sides to slightly expose the cake layers. 
  12. Use the remaining freeze dried strawberries to sprinkle the top of the cake. Arrange fresh strawberries on top. Use small fresh flowers to fill in any gaps between the strawberries. Halving or quartering a few large strawberries can also help fill in any gaps and create a more charming look. Slice and ENJOY!

Notes

  • Cake is best served at room temperature and should be stored covered in the fridge. 
  • Depending on the number of pans baking at once, this could increase the need to add more baking time.  
  • To sprinkle large pieces of freeze dried strawberries, you can skip the food processor and crumble a few dried slices in your hand.
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Cake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: strawberry cake, strawberry mascarpone cake, freeze dried strawberries, strawberry powder for cakes, mascarpone frosting

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