JosÃ© works at the Red Cross and every chapter hosts a thank you dinner for their volunteers each year. Volunteers are the lifeblood, backbone and foundation of the Red Cross: without them the Red Cross could not fulfill it’s mission.
This past Saturday we baked cakes for the Central Texas Chapter’s Red Cross Volunteer Recognition Dinner – and our super-easy Strawberry Cake is the hands-down winner. Despite how absolutely simple it is to make.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (not margarine)
- flour for dusting pans
- 2 boxes of Strawberry Cake Mix (preferably Pillsbury Moist Supreme)
- 2 11.3 ounce cans of Strawberry Nectar (we use Jumex Strawberry Nectar)
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 jars of Strawberry Preserves (we preferÂ Bonne Maman Strawberry PreservesÂ but any high quality preserve should work)
- 2 containers Strawberry Frosting (we use Pillsbury Creamy Supreme)
- A strawberry for garnish (optional)
- 3 9″ cake pans (preferably 3″ deep)
- Preheat oven to 350Âº F. Position rack in middle of oven.
- ButterÂ bottoms of 9″ cake pans, line with parchment, lightlyÂ butterÂ and flour pans. Set aside in a cool place.
- Combine cake mix, strawberry nectar, eggs and oil in mixing bowl fitted with paddle attachment. Start slowly to combine ingredients then mix at medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Evenly divide cake mix between cake pans.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. Test with a cake tester before removing from oven. (These are thicker than normal box cakes so you have to be careful.)
- Transfer pans to wire cooling racks and coolÂ in the pan for 10 minutes.
- Run a knife around the outside edge of each pan, flip each layer onto a wire cooling rack,Â remove parchment sheet if necessary, and then flip them back onto their bottoms. You want the layers to cool top-side-up.
- Allow to cool completely.
Prepare the frosting (just before assembly)
- Scrape both cans of frosting into a large mixing bowl.
- With either a hand mixer or the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, beat until light in color – about 30 seconds.
- AddÂ 1/4 cup of strawberry preserves and beat at high speed for about a minute to thoroughly combine.
Assembling the cake
- Using a serrated knife remove domed tops fromÂ 2 of your layers – these will be the bottom and middle layer.
Give your cakesÂ a steady once-overÂ and choose the layer with the most uniform dome. Set this aside to use as your top layer.
- Spread 1/4 cup of frosting in center of serving platter and place one of your flattened layers on the platter. Press down slightly and wiggle it to anchor firmly.
- Spread about 1/2 cup (half of a freshly opened jar) Strawberry Preserves on bottom layer and spread evenly ALMOST to edges leaving a 1/4″ safe zoneÂ at the edge to prevent filling from oozing out before you frost.
- Top with second flat layer and spread with 1/2 cup Strawberry Preserves.
- Place last layer, dome side up, on top.
- Spread frosting onto cake (you’ll probably have a little left over).
- Garnish with strawberry.