Strawberry-Orange Layer Cake


Celebrate strawberry season with this towering showstopper.

Strawberry-Orange Layer Cake
Makes 1 (8-Inch) Cake
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4½ cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup whole milk, room temperature
  • ¾ cup full-fat sour cream
  • ¼ cup orange liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups fresh strawberries, diced
  • Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: fresh strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with baking spray with flour. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together sugar and orange zest by hand. Add butter; using the paddle attachment, beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, sour cream, liqueur, and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture in three additions alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition; when final addition of flour mixture is almost completely combined, add diced strawberries, and fold with a rubber spatula. Divide batter among prepared pans (about 3½ cups each).
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
  5. Level cooled cake layers, if desired. Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate. Spread 1½ cups Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting on top. Top with second cake layer, and spread 1½ cups frosting on top. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting on top and sides of cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with strawberries, if desired. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 7 cups
  • 2 cups quartered hulled fresh strawberries
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8½ to 9½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. In a small saucepan, combine strawberries, ¼ cup water, and granulated sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until strawberries have almost entirely broken down and sauce is thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl, and let cool completely.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add butter, vanilla, and salt, and beat at medium-high speed until smooth and no cream cheese lumps remain, 3 to 4 minutes. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 8½ cups confectioners’ sugar, about 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase mixer speed to medium-high, and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Using a rubber spatula, fold in cooled strawberry jam. If frosting becomes too soft with addition of jam, beat in up to remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar to thicken frosting. Use immediately.



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