The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A strawberry butterfly cake

My little girl is no longer so little. She celebrated her 3rd birthday last week, but she is the size of a 4 or 5 year old and speaks like one too. I often forget that she is still so little and sometimes expect so much from her. I can't believe it's been 3 years since I laboured in the hospital and had my all-natural unmedicated birth experience (which I was told was not possible after my firstborn was delivered via emergency ceasarean years ago). She was an easy baby who loved to sleep (she still loves her sleep), and she's clever in a different way to my boy's brainy smartness. She's turning out to be a very girly girl, and her request for her birthday cake was simple and girly: a pink and purple butterfly strawberry cake. This Betty Crocker butterfly cake recipe seemed simple enough to execute, and I made a strawberry cake using two recipes. I followed this recipe, and used Chocolate Moosey's idea of reducing the strawberry to produce a more intense flavour and colour (but I reduced it much further than she did). Fresh strawberries were not available at the supermarket, and I could not find the frozen variety, but thankfully one of the cake supplies store I went to sold tubs of frozen pureed strawberries. The strawberry buttercream frosting was a lovely pink colour, and fortified the strawberry flavour of the cake. I was pleased with how well the cake turned out, and I was complimented on the cake at my girl's party. Homemade cakes are a rarity in Hong Kong (kitchens here are tiny and tabletop ovens are a bit of a luxury), and in fact I've never been to a birthday party where the cake was homemade. One dad at the party told me that he wasn't going to have any cake until his wife told him that I made it. I made the strawberry cake again for my girl's class when they celebrated her birthday in kindy, and the principal declared that she had two servings!

I really enjoyed making and decorating this butterfly cake, which was as easy to make as the other pink cake I made last year. I wonder if my third baby will be requesting pink cakes for her birthday like her sister! The recipe below is for a round two-layer strawberry cake. For cutting and decorating into a butterfly cake, please refer to This Betty Crocker butterfly cake recipe.

The cake shortly after I finished decorating it:

Strawberry Cake


2 1/4 cups (225g) sifted cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup (115g) butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup (200g) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (240g) pureed strawberries
1/2 cup (115mL) milk

1 cup (225g) butter
3.5 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60mL) reduced pureed strawberries


1. In a large saucepan, bring pureed strawberries to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the strawberries cook down to about two-thirds of the volume. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Use 1/2 cup of the reduced puree for the cake and reserve the remaining 1/4 cup for the frosting.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. In a large bowl, sift together flour and baking powder.
4. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
5. Add the eggs to the creamed butter, one at a time, mixing well each time. Add vanilla.
6. Add the flour in three additions, alternating with the milk and strawberry puree (in two additions), beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat only until the ingredients are incorporated, and do not overmix.
7. Divide the batter between the two round greased and lined cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes or until the tops are brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes then invert cakes onto cooling racks to cool completely.

1. Using a hand mixer, mix together sugar and butter on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
2. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons of strawberry puree and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more puree if needed for spreading consistency.

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