Friday, July 1

Old - {Strawberry Cake with Rose-Scented Buttercream}

I pulled an old CD out of my case a few days ago.

I hadn’t listened to it in quite some time, I realized, as I slid the red and white disk from its sleeve.

It came into my care about ten years ago; a well-loved hand-me-down from an older brother who lost interest. Misuse and poor care over the years have resulted in battle scars and altered playback, but most of the tracks still read well, particularly the hits. Through the tracks, the subwoofer in my trunk sounds its fatigue over the bassline. With ease and grace, the pollen and petals on the tired Tiger Liles beside me fall to the seat; butterflies in the passing breeze of a carelessly open window.

It’s broken – this environment – but it’s comfortable. The nostalgic nature of hearing old songs casts a dreamy glow on everything, making it ok that the CD is skipping. That the bass is faltering. That the flowers are slowly – beautifully – gracefully – dying.

Like an old favorite CD, once misplaced but never forgotten, T came back into my life a little over a month ago. Misunderstandings and a fight came of the rough playback, but we found ourselves comforted by what was made stronger between us because of them. Eventual easing into interlocked fingers and innocent kisses over manicured rows of strawberries smoothed the track, ceased the skips in our communication and tripped, instead, the beat of my unsuspecting heart.

He’ll be leaving soon, that boy, for bigger and better things. He’ll pack up his car and leave just as before.

Things will change.

It’s going to hurt.

But I can live with it.

As a wise friend once said, “never regret a decision you’ve made. Always remember that, at some point, it was exactly what you wanted.”

He couldn’t be more right.

Strawberry Cake with Rose Scented Buttercream
I was inspired to make this cake after discussing strawberry reduction with Stella of Bravetart. In addition to their flavor, the reduced berries impart a pleasantly subtle shade of pink to what would otherwise be a white cake. As a note, I found the cake to be delicious as is, but the crumb is a bit heavier than I was hoping for it to be. Next time I’ll replace the sour cream with milk to loosen the batter and make incorporating the egg whites a little easier. I hope you’ll enjoy this cake as much as I did!

Printable Recipe

Strawberry Reduction inspired by Bravetart

1 1/2 c (230 g) sliced strawberries
1/8 c (25 g) sugar

Combine in a small saucepan. Cover and let sit at room temp for one hour to pull the juices out of the berries.

Set saucepan over medium–low heat and, stirring frequently, reduce to 1/2 cup, about 30 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool to room temp.

Strawberry Cake adapted from Chocolate Chic
Makes enough batter for one 9” round cake, or two 6” round cakes.

1 1/3 c (190 g) cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c (118 ml) strawberry reduction
1/2 c (118 ml) sour cream
4 (160 g) egg whites
6 Tbls (85 g) butter, room temp
5/8 c (125 g) sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350F. Oil and line one 9” round cake pan or two 6” rounds.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the strawberry reduction and sour cream. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks, being very careful not to overbeat. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the batter.

In another large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Add 1/3 of the strawberry and sour cream mixture, mixing just to combine. Add half of the dry ingredients, mix to combine and repeat; ending with a final addition of the strawberry mixture.

Scoop about 1/3 of the whipped whites into the bowl of batter and mix to incorporate. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites in three additions.

Pour batter into prepared pans, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in pans for ten minutes, then remove from pans and wrap with plastic wrap, refrigerating until well-chilled, at least two hours, before frosting.

Rose-Scented Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Please click here for a step-by-step guide to making Swiss Meringue Buttercream and troubleshooting tips!

1 1/2 c (300 g) sugar
7 egg whites
27 Tbsp (381 g) unsalted butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
Few drops rose water

In a double boiler, cook the egg whites and sugar over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved (test by rubbing some between your fingers. If it's completely smooth, it's done). Pour into another bowl (a stand mixer is preferable) and whip on high speed until room temp. Then, on a medium-low speed, add the butter, waiting until each piece is completely incorporated before adding the next. The buttercream may turn into a soupy curdled mess during this process, but if you continue beating it for a few minutes it will become light and fluffy. Add the rose water and vanilla, beating to combine.


  1. your cakes always look like works of art, it gives me great inspiration to try and replicate these works of art.
    Of course I can't get them to look the same.
    Oh you remember the multicolour cake to posted why back when, well I made it for a friends birthday and he when mad, he loved it.
    thanks for the amazing ideas and inspiration

  2. Oh Kaitlyn I don't even know what to say, other than your cake is just too beautiful for words and your writing made me long to be young and enjoying the Summer again. I remember so many things, but mainly romances and friends and feeling free.

    But one day you get old like me and settled but with that settledness comes...contentment. Being truly happy with who you are inside and out. There's comfort in knowing that I'm exactly where I always wanted to be.

    Just remember when your T leaves again that you have so many more things to experience and that the sadness will only be fleeting. I promise you this.


  3. Such a delicious way to use an excess of strawberries. Love your friends shop too by the way. I am majorly obsessed with cupcakes!

  4. Where do I get rose water??? I want to make this cake!

  5. I'm glad you guys like the cake!

    KitchenTherapy, thank you! Also, I'm thrilled to hear the cake went over so well. Thank you for letting me know!

    Kristan: Aw, thank you sweetheart! I am someday looking forward to settling for that very reason. It must be very comforting indeed! But for now I suppose I'll just have to learn to appreciate the comings and goings of life... And its boys ;)

    Alice, thank you! Also, Jordan will be so thrilled to hear that. I am WAY impressed by the work he's done!

    Anonymous, in all honesty, you can make the cake without the rosewater and it will be just fine! I bought mine at a cake supply shop, but you could probably find some at an Oriental Market if you're fortunate enough to have one nearby. In any case, I hope you'll like the results!

  6. Kaitlin-

    Love, love, LOVE your blog! This cake looks absolutely divine. Do you think it can just be used as a white cake recipe without the strawberries? What about subbing in melted white chocolate somehow? I'm on the hunt for a white chocolate white cake (no egg yolks) and so far having no luck...... :)

  7. Your cakes always look amazing! I really wish I had your talent for baking and icing etc.

  8. I feel heartbroken that strawberry season is over, here in Kentucky. We always want those fleeting things...

  9. That looks beautiful! And I love that it's all natural :) And I also love that quote!

  10. A touching & beautifully written post. I'm sure everything will work out for the best... Hugs! I love your cake! Like every other one of your cakes I've seen, it looks and sounds extraordinary! Thanks for sharing :)

  11. Strawberry cake is a favorite - I bet the rosewater icing really pops with it. The pictures are beautiful, too! So glad I found your blog. :)

  12. What a beautiful post. This was a wonderful read, thank you for sharing it :) As for the cake...YUM!

    (PS - have you ever seen the movie The Music Never Stopped? For some reason I think you may like it).

    xoxo Maria

  13. What a lovely cake....and the posts are always beautifully written. There can be so much bitter-sweetness in life and relationships. Take care.
    So happy to have a few strawberry plants still producing in my garden. I would love to try this cake and the strawberry reduction.

  14. I'm going to try this with some strawberry jam I made and strained. Looks delicious!

  15. Delicious! This looks so yummy! (Love the photographs) xo

  16. Hi Kaitlin,
    Just want to let you know I made this little Strawberry cake and it was divine. I was in a bit of a rush so I made a normal buttercream with a hint of rose water. It made it a little too sweet so will definitely make the Swiss Meringue buttercream next time. Its a perfect time for this cake as strawberry season has just started hear on the East coast of Australia. So thankyou once again for a wonderful recipe, love your blog! Jacqui Riley - Divine cakes

  17. This cake looks amazing!! I am enjoying your blog. I am happily following you now. :)

  18. Your photos are ridiculously gorgeous and make me hungry! This cake sounds fabulous, I love anything with strawberries so I'm a fan already :)

  19. Thanks so much for your super kind words, everyone. About the cake/photos and my predicament!

    Emily, it might work out ok, but I would suggest looking at Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake. I have heard many, many good things about that one!

    Bachman's, I'll look into it! Thanks for the suggestion!

    Jacqui, I'm glad that you liked it! Thanks for letting me know :)

  20. Hi Kaitlin. This is an amazing blog and it has been an absolute pleasure to read! It has definitely inspired me to dream again... three years in student accommodation with ovens that switch off half-way through (reason given: energy conservation), slices taken while the cake was cooling and too much improvisation to allow perfectionism and I could weep as I bake yet another safe flop-proof recipe. I cannot wait to push the boat out. So... if you don't mind me asking how do you get that wonderful effect with the icing? I looked at your step-by-step tutorial but you ended with a smooth finish, which is lovely but... I have fallen in love with how you've done this particular cake. I am at my parents' home for the summer and would love to give this a go!!! It's probably really simple but I haven't managed to quite nail it when I've tried. Thanks so much! Keep writing!

  21. Hi there,

    This cake looks amazing. I see that your cake has 4 layers and the recipe makes one 9 inch or two 6 inch cakes, did you make double the recipe or are your layers half the depth of the 6 inch cake (does that even make sense? Sorry, I'm not having an eloquent day)?


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