This one is a bit more complicated than my usual recipe but it sounded so good, I just had to share it.
Strawberry Lemonade Cake
2 pounds strawberries
vegetable shortening (or butter, for greasing pans)
flour (for pans)
1 3/4 cups salted butter (divided, softened)
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract (divided)
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup whole milk
red food coloring (optional)
1 ounce freeze-dried strawberries (1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup lemon curd (store-bought)
lemon slices (optional, for serving)
lemon zest (curls, optional, for serving)
Hull and stem 1 1/2 pounds of the strawberries, then pulse berries in a food processor or blender until pureed. (Save the remaining strawberries for serving.) Pour puree into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until reduced to 3/4 cup, 20-40 minutes. (The texture of the mixture will look like tomato paste.) Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 3 (8-inch) round cake pans. In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat ¾ cup butter and the granulated sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add mayonnaise and beat until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) vanilla.
In another bowl, stir together 3 ½ cups flour, the baking powder, and baking soda. Alternately add the flour mixture and 3/4 cup milk to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Beat in the cooled strawberry puree. Add a few drops of red food coloring if you like.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bang pans on a work surface a couple of times to remove any excess air bubbles.
Bake cake layers, switching pan positions halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean and cakes spring back when lightly pressed in the center, 24-33 minutes total. Set pans on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of pans and turn out cakes to cool completely (about 1 hour).
While cakes bake and cool, make strawberry-lemonade buttercream: In a food processor, whirl freeze-dried strawberries into a fine powder, scraping down inside of the container. (You’ll have 4-5 tablespoons.)
In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment and a clean bowl beat the remaining 1 cup butter at medium speed until creamy. Add the strawberry powder, 1 tablespoon milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat until combined. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat until smooth and spreadable.
To assemble the cake, with a long serrated knife, trim cake layers to make them level if you like. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate. If you like, tuck strips of waxed paper under the cake layer to protect the cake stand. Top cake layer with about 1/2 cup buttercream and spread evenly to the edges. Top with 1/4 cup lemon curd, and spread almost all the way to the edges (but not all the way — that would make it hard to frost the edges of the cake). Place a second cake layer on top of the first, and repeat with more frosting and lemon curd. Place the third cake layer on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream. Remove strips of waxed paper.
Just before serving, decorate the top of the cake with the remaining strawberries (whole and cut in half), and if you like, lemon slices and lemon zest curls.
Recipe courtesy of Yummly.
Hope y’all enjoy!