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A Springy Strawberry Cake… With a Surprise Inside!

If you had asked me a year ago what the term “ombre” meant, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. I took four years of French in high school, so I would have be able to tell you it was French, but that four years apparently didn’t help the definition stick with me. Fast forward to 2013 and enter the newest (and addicting) social medium, Pinterest. Chances are if you’re a regular Pinterest browser, like me, you’ve seen that the latest trend for everything from hair to cakes is “ombre,” a French term meaning “shaded.” When the Test Kitchen staff here at Land O’Lakes caught onto this trend, we decided we’d hop on board and develop an ombre cake. This recipe,  Strawberry Ombre Cake, is special not only because it is ombre, but because some of the red color comes from fresh strawberries. So, not only is this cake beautiful, it is also extremely delicious. And, while it might look a little intimidating, you only need one bowl to make the cake (and one bowl for the frosting). Let me show you how easy it really is to make.

Start by pureeing strawberries in a blender. You could also use a food processor if that’s what you have.

When it’s completely blended, it will look like this:

Place 1 cup of the pureed strawberries in a large bowl.

Add the cake mix…

… and melted butter.

Then separate three eggs, so you are left with just the whites. This is my method of choice for separating eggs, but you can also purchase an egg separator at a kitchen supply store.

Add the egg whites to the bowl…


… and three drops of red food coloring.

Mix until well blended.

Now the fun part: creating the layers. Since this is the batter for our lightest layer, remove 3/4 cup of batter from the bowl and spread into a greased and floured 8-inch round baking pan.

For the next darkest layer, add five drops of red food coloring to the remaining batter in the bowl.

See how it’s slightly darker than the last layer?

Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

Bake the two pans for 9–12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you have more 8-inch round baking pans, you can keep going with the layers, if not, wait until these two are done baking, clean the pans and re-grease and flour.

Continuing with the layers, add nine drops to the third layer…

… and 12 drops to the fourth.

Here are the third and fourth layers side by side:

Bake and cool as directed above. While those are baking, prepare the fifth and final layer, which has an additional 15 drops in the remaining batter. I seem to have forgotten to snap a picture of this layer. Hey, it happens to the best of us food bloggers! (You’ll see it when you scroll down a bit.)

Now, for the amazing strawberry cream cheese frosting! Place 1/4 cup of the remaining pureed strawberries, 1/2 cup butter, and cream cheese in a large bowl.

Beat until well mixed.

Then, add the powdered sugar and mix until you reach a consistency like this:

Now, to assemble the cake: start by spreading about 1 tablespoon of frosting on a cake plate. This will help the layers stay in place and not slide all over while you’re trying to frost it.

Start with the darkest layer (the fifth) on the plate, bottom side up.

Spread about 1/2 cup of frosting on top of this layer.

Now, repeat this with the next four layers, ending with the lightest layer.

Use the remaining frosting to frost the entire cake. I like to start by piling all of the frosting on the top, and pushing it to the edge until it spills over. This makes it easier to frost the sides.

Garnish with fresh strawberries. Beautiful!

The real magic comes when you cut into the cake. Who wouldn’t love to get this surprise when cutting into a cake?

This Strawberry Ombre Cake would be perfect for a baby shower, birthday party, or just a fun weekend baking project. Try it out for yourself, and make sure to come back and let us know how it turned out. Also, check out the Spring Brochure on our website for other great spring recipes.

Mallory is a product specialist in the Test Kitchen at Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.


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    Hi, I'm Becky. I'm eager to share my best ideas and favorite recipes from my 20+ years in the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen. I'm also excited to help with any questions you have about cooking and baking with Land O Lakes® products. Some of the questions and answers will be published in our newsletter, The Measuring Cup®. Please use the short form below to ask your questions, or share your tip or memory.

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