Red Velvet Strawberry Cake

Recipe Courtesy of Sarah Holden

  • Preparation Time60 mins
  • Cooking Time80 mins
  • Serves10
  • DifficultyMedium
Nonstick cooking spray
60ml hot coffee
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
280g all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
200g granulated sugar
240ml vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons red gel food colouring
180ml buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Filling

One 7g package unflavoured gelatin
570g cream cheese, at room temperature
230g confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
80g sour cream
680g strawberries
  1.    Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. Cut two 22-by-3 1/2-inch strips of parchment paper. Spray a 7-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with parchment and fit one of the strips of parchment around the inside of the pan, so that the parchment sticks up above the edge. Spray again with nonstick spray.   
  2. Whisk together the coffee and cocoa powder in a small heatproof bowl until the cocoa has dissolved. Set aside to cool.   
  3. Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the granulated sugar and vegetable oil on medium speed. Add the eggs, vanilla and food coloring and mix until well combined. Mix in the cocoa mixture. Mixing on low speed, add the a third of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.   
  4. Add half the buttermilk. Add another third of the dry ingredients, mix until combined, and then add the remaining buttermilk.   
  5. Stop the mixer. Stir the baking soda and vinegar together in a small bowl (it will bubble up). Immediately add it to the batter along with the remaining dry ingredients and mix for 15 seconds.   
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, set the pan on a baking sheet tray and bake until the top springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick comes out clean, 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes, then remove the sides and slide the cake off the bottom to cool completely on the rack.   
  7. Once completely cool, use a large serrated knife or a cake knife or cake leveler to trim off any doming on top of the cake. Slice the cake horizontally into 2 even layers.   
  8. For the filling: Sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl. Set aside to bloom for 5 minutes.   
  9. Mix the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high until creamy and smooth. Transfer 3/4 cup of the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and set aside in the refrigerator. Microwave the bloomed gelatin until melted, about 20 seconds. Beat the gelatin into the remaining cream cheese along with the sour cream. Mix until smooth.   
  10. Set aside 5 of the prettiest strawberries for decorating the top of the cake. Remove the green tops from the rest of the strawberries. Trim the berries if necessary so that they are similar in height when standing up on the trimmed end.   
  11. To assemble the cake, set one layer of cake on a cake board or flat serving platter. Unlock the clean ring of the springform pan and place it around the cake layer. Take the second strip of parchment and wrap around the cake inside the ring so that it is standing up, then lock the cake ring so that it hugs the parchment against the cake.   
  12. Spread 1/3 cup of the cream cheese filling over the cake layer. Slice a strawberry in half vertically and press the cut halves up against the parchment so that they touch at the bottom. Repeat until you have a ring of berries around the inside of the parchment. Take the remaining whole berries and fill in the interior of the ring, trimmed side down (you may not use all the berries, depending on their size).   
  13. Spread the rest of the filling over the berries, making sure that it fills in the gaps between them.   
  14. Gently tap the cake on the counter to eliminate any air pockets. Place the second cake layer on top, making sure the parchment is around the sides, and gently press down. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the filling is chilled through and set, at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours.   
  15. When ready to serve, unlock the springform ring and lift it off the cake. Peel off the parchment strip, being careful not to pull it straight out but rather peel it gently away from the sides of the cake. With the reserved frosting, pipe 14 stars in a circle around the top edge of the cake, then pipe 10 stars in a smaller circle, and then 2 large rosettes in the center. Cut the reserved 5 strawberries in half vertically, leaving the green tops on, and place 7 strawberry halves in every other gap between the 14 piped stars. Arrange the remaining 3 strawberry halves on the rosettes in the center of the cake. Slice and enjoy!