Sunday, June 6, 2010

Easy Layer Cake with Custard & Strawberries

There are many reasons why I only make cupcakes. First of all, they are undeniable cute. Second of all, they're individually portioned which make them nice and simple. But mostly, they are much easier to make undeniable cute then cakes are. I've struggled with making layered cakes ever since I can remember! Frosting them just takes a certain 'je ne sais qois.'
When my family asked me to make a cake for my Grandpa's 80th birthday, I knew I was in for some trouble. Then, I found this recipe for a layer cake that was unbelievably stunning yet loaded with tricks to help make a beautiful cake. Covering the sides in cookies and topping the cake with chocolate covered strawberries made for a VERY impressive cake that had all of its flaws hidden; score!
Since the recipe did require lots of individual components, I decided to simplify the recipe for sake of time and stress. I used a boxed mix, blasphemy I know, but it did the job fabulously and rather than making a pastry cream, I used my tried and true custard recipe that I've used a numerous amount of times (see here, here, here, here, here). Of course, making all of these components did take some time, but the results were everything I could have imagined and more.

Everyone at the party, including myself, loved this cake! It was super moist and full of yummy flavors. But I might be biased because I just simply love, love, love this custard. The strawberry filling provided the perfect amount of fruity freshness and zing that the cake needed. Also, I loved how instead of using a traditional buttercream frosting, this cake used whipped cream instead. The whipped cream was the perfect accompaniment to the cake, as other frostings would have been much too sweet. Although, since it did use whipped cream, this cake is a bit more fragile than others and needs to be refrigerated and eaten as soon as possible. Anyways, I'd say this cake was a HUGE success and my family has already asked for more!

Easy Layer Cake with Custard & Strawberries

Yields: One 2 or 3 layer cake, depending on how thin your layers are

Adapted from here.

1 box of Betty Crocker French Vanilla 'Super Moist' Cake

Pirouette Rolled Wafers, in Chocolate and Vanilla (for decoration)

Preheat the oven to 350 F, 325 F if using a dark or nonstick pan. Prepare the batter according to the directions. Grease 2 or 3 8-inch round cake pans with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and golden brown, about 25 - 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes before inverting. Let cool completely. Using a serrated knife, even the cake layers out to create cakes of even width, set aside.

For the custard:

1 small box of instant 'vanilla pudding'

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped

Mix the package of pudding, milk and heavy cream together until it begins to thicken, about 5 - 7 minutes. Fold in the vanilla or scraped vanilla beans. Let refrigerator about 10 - 15 minutes.

For the frosting:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat the whipping cream in a stand mixer until soft peaks form. Fold in the sugar and vanilla. Continue beating until peaks are stiff.

For the chocolate covered strawberries:

6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

3 oz. white chocolate, chopped

10 large strawberries

Put chocolate in separate microwave safe bowls. One at a time, melt the chocolate in the microwave in intervals of 30 seconds, stirring each time. Heat and stir until smooth. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Hold the strawberries by the stems and dip each one into the semisweet chocolate, tapping any excess chocolate off. Place on baking sheet. Dip a fork into the white chocolate and drizzle over the dipped strawberries. Let set.

For the strawberry filling:

1 1/2 cups trimmed and sliced strawberries

1/8 cup granulated sugar

1/8 cup water

1/2 tbsn. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tbsn. cornstarch

Mix everything besides 1 cup of strawberries in a medium pot over medium heat. Let simmer for 15 - 20 minutes until strawberries have broken down a little and mixture has thickened. Turn off heat and mix in remaining strawberries. Transfer to bowl and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate until cool.

To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on the surface you want your final cake to be on. To prevent a frosting mess, you can put pieces of parchment paper around the edges to 'catch' the excess frosting. Use the whipped cream to pipe a 'barrier' of frosting around the top edge of the cake. Spread half of the custard on the cake in the ring, then top with the stewed berries. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat until you have your last layer on. Spread the rest of the custard on the top of the cake. Frost the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream, covering the custard as well. Decorate the top of the cake with the chocolate covered strawberries and the sides of the cake with the straw cookies.

I made two, and frosted the other one this way: dusted in cocoa powder:


  1. WOW!! This looks delicious!I love how there are those cookies around the cake! Great job!!
    Would you mind checking out my blog? :D

  2. So pretty! I haven't made a layer cake before, but this recipe looks manageable.

  3. omgosh this looks so good

  4. i just joined a "wine & dine" club & think that when it's my turn to make a dessert i'll try this!!
    it just looks incredible!! & you write in a way that makes me think anything is possible!!
    very inspiring!!
    plus i love your photos!!
    how do you get such lovely tones in your pics??

  5. @ winterjourney: make it please! it's really, really delicious!

    and about the photos, i'm not sure haha i just point, adjust and shoot :)

  6. Very elegant. You always have such nice style.

  7. I made this cake for Father's Day and everybody loved it. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Made this today for my mom's birthday! It turned out amazing and everyone loved it! Thanks for the recipe!

    My results can be found here:

  9. Delicious and easy, we made it today. Just make sure you use *instant* pudding or you will be sorry.

  10. pudding mix for custard... smh