Margles has been telling me for months she wanted a “pink cake wif stwawbewwies” for her birthday. She also asked for a unicorn. A pink strawberry cake was definitely the easier request to fulfill:
But I also managed to blow her tiny mind with this mylar beauty:
Birthday expectations: MET.
(Call me in ten years when she wants the 2026 equivalent of a Taylor Swift concert and we’ll see how I’m doing on that. I doubt they sell those at the Petite Party Studio.
I’ve made pink cakes and I’ve made cakes with strawberries and I’ve made cakes with strawberry frosting, but I’d never done a pink strawberry cake before. I dug through Pinterest for far too long without finding anything that I was thrilled about. I’d just have to cobble something together myself.
Turns out I’m a decent cobbler.
1) I basically never use jello, so I didn’t realize it has sugar already in it. My first attempt was excessively sweet because I added more sugar than you want to know. Oops. I remedied that in pink strawberry cake part two, electric boogaloo. (That’s right. I made it twice. That’s how much I love you people.) It’s still sweet, but more appropriately sweet than sickeningly so.
2) I basically never use jello, so I totally understand if you aren’t into it either. It’s in both the cake and the frosting, and is the only source of pink in either. You could use a few drops of food coloring (or maybe beet juice if you’re all about whole natural goodness?) but the cake wouldn’t be the same. See, the gelatin gives the frosting some structure, so even though it’s pretty light things don’t fall apart. It also adds some good texture and extra strawberry flavor to the cake. I was worried it would taste like a sno-cone or strawberry flavored cough syrup, but the end result is more subtle than I expected. Plus it’s pretty.
You ready for a recipe? I thought so.
Pink Strawberry Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake rounds.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and gelatin. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium high until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, add eggs and yolks one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add half the flour mixture and mix. Mix in buttermilk, scraping down bowl as needed. Add remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined.
In a small bowl, stir together strawberries and flour until they are all coated with flour. Gently stir into cake batter until evenly distributed.
Divide batter evenly between two cake rounds. Bake 38-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
Pink Strawberry Frosting
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 of a 3 oz pkg of strawberry gelatin
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
In a stand mixer (or with hand mixers and a medium bowl) beat together 1 1/2 cups of cream and gelatin on high until very stiff peaks form. Scrape into another bowl so you can use the stand mixer again (or use a second bowl if you’re using hand mixers. (No need to wash the bowl first; it’s all getting combined.) Beat together remaining heavy cream, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy and fully combined. Fold pink whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until fully incorporated. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. (If you make the frosting first, it’ll be ready to use once the cakes have cooled.)
Frost cooled cake, garnish with fresh strawberries, and serve. Keep leftovers covered and refrigerated.