strawberry cake with tahini caramelized honey frosting

strawberry cake with tahini caramelized honey frosting

 

You don’t need a celebration to make a layer cake: just a heady dose of motivation. It’s the motivation that carried me through the grueling process of college applications that ended just a few weeks ago, and that’s still driving me through the end of second semester, as finals come and go. I’m ready to relax for a bit. Going 100% all the time is draining, and it’s time for some recuperation. Hopefully once second semester starts and my classes lighten up I’ll have more time for myself: time in the kitchen, time with friends, time spent reading (something I’ve always wanted to do more of). I’m so excited to work more on the blog; I haven’t been able to post much at all due to a lack of time, and scrambling to find moments to bake and photograph was difficult. Especially since I’ll be saying goodbye to Just Ash Eats come May when my hosting expires—I won’t be renewing it due to leaving for college—I want to make the most of my time here.

So we’re starting off this flurry of new recipes with this beauty: a fluffy strawberry cake layered with the tastiest tahini caramelized honey buttercream and fresh strawberry jam. It stands tall and proud, the layers of cake and frosting beautiful in their nakedness. The frosting’s seriously crack. I finally tried making flour buttercream, where a cooked pudding of milk, flour, and sugar is beat into a butter/tahini mixture before the liquid gold of caramelized honey get’s streamed in. It produces a silky smooth frosting that’s lighter than traditional buttercream, with a rich, complex flavor from the tahini and caramelized honey; all the better to eat more of it. The cake isn’t artificially strawberry, like the bright pink cakes found in grocery stores, but instead shines with strawberry flavor from the reduced strawberry jam that gets folded into the batter.

And rather than the other layer cakes I’ve made in the past in the Momofuku style, this one is relatively uncomplicated. There’s only three components: the cake, frosting, and strawberry jam (which is so easy to make). So you could really whip this cake up in a day, and I promise it’s worth it. Like a sandwich, this cake is so much more than the sum of its parts.

strawberry cake with tahini caramelized honey buttercream

strawberry cake lightly adapted from sally's baking addiction

Course Dessert
Servings 12 people

Ingredients

for the cake

  • 1 lb strawberries frozen are ok
  • 2 1/2 cups (250 g) sifted cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

for the frosting

  • 4 1/2 tbsp (48 g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (227 g) whole milk
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 227 g) unsalted butter
  • 6 tbsp (96 g) tahini
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (113 g) honey

for the strawberry jam

  • 1/2 lb (8 oz) strawberries frozen are ok
  • 2 tbsp (25 g) granulated sugar

for the cake soak

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp strawberry jam

Instructions

for the cake

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the strawberries on low, stirring occasionally and mashing them up into a smooth puree as they cook for about 20-30 minutes, until thick and reduced. Take off heat, and let cool completely before using.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13 pan and place a sheet of parchment paper at the bottom.

  3. Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.

  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on high speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.

  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, on medium speed until incorporated. Turn up the speed to high and beat for 5 minutes, until the mixture has lightened in color and expanded.

  6. Beat in the buttermilk and vanilla extract until combined. On low speed, mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in the milk until just combined. Fold in 1/2 cup of the reduced strawberry puree.

  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pan before turning out.

for the frosting

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, sugar, salt, and flour until smooth. Cook the mixture over medium heat until thickened. Spread on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool to around room temperature before proceeding (the freezer can help speed this up).

  2. Clean the saucepan, then pour in the honey. Over medium-low heat, let the honey cook until deeply caramelized and thickened; it will smell fragrant. Take off the heat and let cool.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and tahini together on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the cooled flour paste one tablespoon at a time, making sure that it's incorporated completely before adding more. Once all the mix has been added, continue to beat the buttercream on high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

  4. With the mixer running on low, stream in the slightly cooled caramelized honey until incorporated. The heat from the honey will melt the buttercream slightly, so place the mixer bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes until it firms up again.

for the strawberry jam

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the reserved reduced strawberry puree, 1/2 lb strawberries, and sugar over low heat for about 15 minutes (or until jammy and thickened), stirring occasionally. Take off the heat and let cool completely.

for the cake soak

  1. Mix together the milk and strawberry jam until combined.

for assembly

  1. Using a 6-inch cake ring, stamp out two circles and two half-circles from the sheet of cake. Save the reserved cake scraps.

  2. Tape an tall acetate sheet into a cylinder 6 inches in diameter; alternatively, use a sheet of cardstock covered in parchment paper (basically anything stiff enough to hold it's shape and not flop over). Place inside the cake ring on a plate.

  3. Place the two half-circles of cake inside the cake ring. Fill in any gaps with the cake scraps, tamping it down into a flat layer.

  4. Using a pastry brush, soak the cake with the strawberry milk. Spread 1/3 of the tahini caramelized honey frosting evenly over the cake, then 1/2 of the strawberry jam. Place the second layer of cake over the jam and repeat this process.

  5. Spread the last 1/3 of the tahini caramelized honey frosting evenly over the last layer of cake. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 12 hours or overnight until set. Let defrost in the fridge for a few hours before consuming.



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