ANNE BYRN / THE CAKE MIX DOCTOR
Serves: 10 to 12
Prep: 35 minutes
Bake: 18 to 22 minutes
Cool: 25 minutes
Vegetable oil spray, for misting the pans
2 teaspoons rice flour, for dusting the pans
2 cups (16 ounces) fresh strawberries
1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix
3 tablespoons strawberry gelatin (half of a 3-ounce package)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly mist two 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray, then dust them with the rice flour. Shake out the excess rice flour and set the pans aside.
2. Rinse and drain the strawberries, then pat them dry with paper towels. Select the 6 prettiest berries for garnish and set them aside. Set aside one large strawberry to use in the Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting. Cut the green caps off the remaining berries and mash the berries with a fork or place them in a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth puree, about 10 pulses. You need 3/4 cup of pureed strawberries.
3. Place the cake mix and strawberry gelatin in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the strawberry puree, oil, eggs, and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops with the rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side.
STRAWBERRY CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Prep: 15 minutes
Makes: 3 cups, enough to frost a 2-layer cake, a 13x9 inch cake, or 24 or more cupcakes
1 large strawberry
4 ounces (half of an 8-ounce package) cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, shifted
Rinse and pat the strawberry day. Cut the green cap off the strawberry and chop the berry into small pieces. Place the chopped strawberry in a medium-size mixing bowl and mash it with a fork until pureed. Add the cream cheese and butter and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, 20 seconds. Stop the machine and add the confectioners' sugar. Beat with the mixer on low speed until the confectioners' sugar is well incorporated, 15 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat the frosting until fluffy, 2 minutes longer. The frosting can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered. Let the frosting return to room temperature before using.
The Cake Mix Doctor Says
You want just a whisper of strawberry in this frosting recipe because if you add to much strawberry you have to add more sugar to get the frosting to pull together. This frosting needs a large strawberry without a lot of juice. Save the juicy strawberries for slicing and serving on top of the cake.