Recently I was set with the task of creating a birthday cake for a strawberry shortcake lover. “Surprise me,” he said. I wanted to make him something he would love that wasn’t just your run of the mill strawberry shortcake, delicious as that may be.
Inspiration time. Do you remember those strawberry shortcake ice cream bars? I just love them. The crumb on the outside and the sweet strawberry and creamy vanilla on the inside is just magical and summery and fresh. Mm!
Here it is, my version of the Strawberry Crunch Cake.
Note: I love cakes from scratch, however there is something to be said for the ease of a boxed cake mix sometimes. I have a couple tricks for making your boxed cake taste like you slaved over a scratch recipe!
-Follow the box making these substitutions and you’ll notice a major difference! Use softened butter instead of vegetable oil, milk instead of water, and add up to 1/2 cup whole milk vanilla yogurt (the extra fat in the whole milk yogurt makes the cake extra fluffy and moist.) This makes for a very moist, tender cake that holds up to layering and decorating quite well. Yeah, I know I said “moist” twice, but it really is. so. moist! To those that hate that word, just relax, you’ll forget you hate the word when you eat the cake.
So the choice is yours. Go ahead and make the boxed cakes exactly as directed OR follow my tips. Either way, you’ll end up with a killer cake!
Strawberry Crunch Cake
- Two 8 in. round strawberry cake layers, baked and cooled
- Two 8 in. round white cake layers, baked and cooled
- (I like to chill my layers before decorating, in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour or in the freezer wrapped tightly overnight)
- 12 Golden Oreo cookies
- 12 shortbread cookies
- 3 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 1 cup freeze dried strawberries
Strawberry French Vanilla Mousse Filling:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- One 3.5 ounce box instant french vanilla pudding
- 1/4 cup strawberry jam
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- Prepare the strawberry crunch: In the bowl of your food processor or blender, pulse Golden Oreos and shortbread cookies until they are in coarse crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until combined. Add freeze-dried strawberries and pulse until combined.
- Prepare filling: In the bowl of your mixer, beat whipping cream on medium/high speed until it just starts getting thick. Turn speed down to low. Add strawberry jam, mix until incorporated. Add pudding mix. Increase speed and whip for about 1 min, until mixture thickens. (Mixture will be a bit grainy until the pudding sets, it will be silky smooth when you cut into your cake…don’t worry)
- Assemble: Place one strawberry cake layer on a plate or cake stand and frost generously with 1/3 of strawberry filling. Repeat, alternating layers until assembled.
- Prepare Vanilla Buttercream Frosting: In the bowl of your mixer, beat softened butter until light in color and fluffy. Add vanilla. With mixer on low, slowly add powdered sugar, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Add milk. Once incorporated, turn mixer on medium/high speed and whip for about 3 min. Frost the outside of your cake.
- Add strawberry crunch: Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the top of the cake and pat into the frosting gently to keep it in place. Cupping some of the crumb mixture in your hand, work your way around the cake, gently pressing the crumb mixture into the frosting. As you can see, I left some of the frosting exposed around the middle of the cake because I liked the look of it, however, there is enough of the crumb mixture to cover the entire cake. If desired, repeat until entire top and sides of cake is covered in crumbs.
Adapted from http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/strawberry-crunch-cake/