Summer came and went and in the meantime I have managed to completely neglect this blog. Has anyone noticed that? Oh well, this past month I’ve been avoiding the thought altogether. I’ve been blissfully ignoring my failures and my shortcomings. Instead of worrying about my abandoned blog that I usually put so much effort into, I have been going to the beach and taking long walks. So much so that I have decided I no longer belong to big cities. I belong to a small beach town somewhere, where nothing happens and I can surf and eat all day.
Despite my lack of posts, I have been cooking and baking and working on new recipes all summer long, so there’s plenty of content coming your way! I’m very excited to share them all and I just had to start with this wonderful strawberry cake before summer is officially over. Inspired by and adapted from this Sicilian Whole Orange Cake and Claire Saffitz’s Strawberry Layer Cake, this cake is the best of both worlds.
The orange cake is the perfect balance of fruity and citrusy, and it’s incredibly moist and soft. Use a big, juicy orange, but instead of adding the whole thing into the batter, we’re only adding the zest and juice. I start by rubbing the sugar and orange zest together so the zest oils infuse the sugar, enhancing the flavors. It’s a quick, but essential step.
I borrow Claire’s layer stacking technique, because it’s genius in its simplicity: place whole strawberries evenly around the bottom layer in order to keep the top layer elevated and the cream doesn’t get squished out as you slice the cake.
The recipe might look slightly complicated when you first go through it, but only because I tried to add as many details as I could, so you’ll see it’s actually quite simple. The beauty of this cake is how rustic and unfussy it looks. Splitting it into two layers is the harder part, but that’s also surprisingly easy once you give it a try.
Strawberry Orange Layer Cake
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (250g) sugar
- 1 1/2 cup (275g) all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/3 cup (100g) butter, softened
- 1/3 cup (100g) plain Greek yogurt
- 1 large orange, (300g), zest and juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 pounds (680g) strawberries, hulled (about 4 cups)
- 1/4 cup sugar (50g)
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups heavy cream (454g)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, or spray with baking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, place the sugar and orange zest. Using your fingertips, rub them together – this helps bring out the oils in the zest, adding more flavor.
- Add the butter and beat with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the egg whites one at a time, beating until well combined and fluffy. Add vanilla.
- Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour mixture alternating with the yogurt, mixing just until combined. Stop and scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Add orange juice to cake mixture and stir until evenly combined. Add batter to prepared pan.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes (depending on your oven), but test with a cake or skewer to make sure the cake is done. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Macerate the berries: Select 5 of the largest strawberries you have, trim them so they’re all the same height, and set aside. Slice the remaining berries lengthwise. Toss the sliced berries into a large bowl with the sugar, vanilla, and orange juice. Allow to sit until juices have accumulated, about 15 minutes.
- Whip the cream: Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using a hand mixer, beat the heavy cream, starting on medium-low and increasing the speed gradually to high as the cream thickens, until you have soft peaks. Refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the cake.
- Split the cake into two layers: Using a serrated knife, score a horizontal line all around the side of the cake at the midway point. Using the same knife, carefully cut through the cake along the indentation. Lift the top layer off the cake and set aside.
- Assemble the cake: Arrange the 5 trimmed berries that you set aside hulled-side down over the bottom layer, placing one in the center and the other 4 spaced evenly around – these help keep the top layer elevated so you don’t squish out all the cream as you slice the cake. Spoon two-thirds of the sliced berries and any juices over the bottom layer, arranging them around the 5 berries. Spoon half the whipped cream over the berries.
- Place the top layer onto the bottom layer, cut-side down. Spread the remaining whipped cream over the top and spoon the remaining berries and juices on top. Serve.
If you want to try another delicious strawberry cake, this one is super easy. If you make this Strawberry Orange Layer Cake please be sure to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you and I love responding to every comment. And don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram. I’d love to see your photos!