My go-to cold treat in the summertime is a strawberry milkshake – I’m addicted to them. I know, they’re not exactly low-calorie, but they are absolutely delicious, especially when it’s so hot outside.
There is a little restaurant I frequent (this one) that makes the best ones (along with other amazing sweet treats) and serves them up just like a 50′s diner would — in a super-tall glass with lots of whipped cream and a cherry. Yes please! It was during a recent visit that I was inspired to make a cake that would taste similar to the sweet strawberry treat that I love so much.
The flavour in the cake layers comes from the strawberry syrup. I didn’t want it to be overpowering or too sweet, so I only added 6 tablespoons, which allows the fresh strawberries in the frosting & buttercream to stand out. Before serving, allow the cake to stand at room temperature for an hour or so, so that the buttercream will soften. Happy baking!
Sweet Strawberry Shake Cake
6 large egg whites (180 grams), at room temperature
1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 tbsp Nestle Strawberry Nesquik Syrup
4 cups (15 oz) cake flour, sifted (+ extra for the cake pans)
2 cups (15 oz) granulated sugar
1 tbsp + 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (+ extra for the cake pans)
2 tbsp vegetable shortening
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour four 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the egg whites, 1/4 cup of the milk, the vanilla and the Nesquik syrup. Sift the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar, baking powder and salt and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to combine. Add the butter, the vegetable shortening and the remaining milk. Mix on low speed just until the dry ingredients are moistened and then raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes (90 seconds). Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg mixture in 2 parts, beating for 30 seconds on medium speed after each addition. Divide batter up into your four pans (about 14 oz each, if you’re weighing them), smooth down the batter with the back of a spoon and place in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes. Once the cakes are baked, let them cool in the pans for about 15 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Strawberry Frosting (for the filling)
Slightly adapted from Frostings
1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4-5 cups confectioners’/powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
Place the strawberries in a blender or a food processor and puree. Pour into a small pot, place it over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer until the puree thickens, about 5-8 minutes. Allow to cool.
** Note: I’ve made this frosting twice, once where I cooked the pureed berries in a pot and the once where I just pureed the berries and added them right to the butter mixture (see next step). Both taste great, but you may have to add a little more confectioners’ sugar to the frosting to thicken it if you don’t puree the berries. It’s completely up to you which way you choose to go! **
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for 2 minutes on medium speed. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar to the butter, Alternate adding the strawberry puree with the confectioners’ sugar until completely combined. Add the salt, lemon juice and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Set aside.
Whipped Cream Filling
2 cups heavy/whipping cream
Place the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or use a hand-held mixer). Whip on high speed until the cream thickens and holds stiff peaks. Easy!
Strawberry Buttercream (for the outside)
For a picture-by-picture tutorial on this type of buttercream, click here
8 egg whites (I use boxed & pasteurized whites)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 lbs (3 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries
1 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice (for wiping the bowl & utensils)
Wipe the bowl of a stand mixer, the whisk attachment and a hand-held whisk with a little white vinegar or lemon juice to remove any residual oils. Any oils in your bowl or on your utensils can prevent your egg whites from whipping properly, resulting in wasted product – not good!
Place the egg whites, sugar and salt into the mixer bowl and place it over a pot of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water, but is just resting over it. Whisk constantly, until it is warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved completely (the mixture should feel smooth when rubbed between your fingertips). Remove the bowl from the heat and attach it to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low speed and working up to high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 10 minutes in total. The mixture should be fluffy and glossy, and the bowl completely cool.
Turn the mixer down to medium-low speed and add the butter, a few cubes at a time, mixing well after each addition.The buttercream may curdle at first (and look quite gross), but keep mixing and it will come together. Once all of the butter is mixed in, add the vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until all of the air bubbles are eliminated. Scoop about 1 cup of the buttercream into a small bowl and set it aside.
Puree the strawberries in a blender or a food processor, until smooth. Pour the puree into a fine-mesh sieve and using the back of a spoon, press out as much of the juice and pulp into a bowl is possible. This eliminates all of the seeds, allowing for a perfectly smooth buttercream. Pour the puree into the bowl of prepared buttercream and mix on low speed until incorporated.
For picture-by-picture help on how to stack a cake, check out this post.
Use a serrated knife to slice the tops off of the cake layers so that they’re level. Place one cake layer on a cake turn-table (or a plate, whatever you’re comfortable with). Fit a piping bag with a large, plain piping tip, fill the bag halfway with the strawberry frosting (not the swiss meringue buttercream) and pipe a border around the edges of the cake. Spoon a little more of the strawberry frosting into the middle and spread an even layer, right to the border that you piped. Next, spoon in some of the whipped cream and smooth it out, so that it stays inside the border that you piped with the strawberry frosting. Carefully place the next cake layer on top and repeat with the next two cake layers. When you get to the last cake layer, turn it upside-down (so that the bottom is facing up) and place it on top of the cake layers. Use a palette knife to give the whole cake a very thin, even coat of the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream, then place the cake in the fridge to firm up, about 1 hour.
After the cake has chilled, frost the whole cake with the rest of the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream. Fit a piping bag with a small stair tip, put a little of the left over white buttercream in the bag and pipe a border around the base of the cake (the cake must be on the plate you’ll be serving it on when you do this). Next, fit another piping bag with a large tip of your choice (I used a 1E) and pipe a border around the top of the cake. Top with cherries and sprinkles.