Baking Outside The Box – Strawberry Cake

Baking Outside The Box – Strawberry Cake

Before I moved to the Netherlands in 2010 I never imagined baking a cake from scratch. I thought it was normal to bake a cake out of a box. All the dry ingredients perfectly measured and provided for you. All you had to do is add some eggs, butter and water. My cakes always came out perfect.

Well, in the Netherlands they don’t sell Duncan Hines nor Pillsbury. How was I going to bake cakes then???!! I just didn’t.

Few weeks later while at a friend’s party I was served a piece of her birthday cake. It was my first piece of cake in a while, and it sure was delicious. I asked her where she had purchased it and surprisingly she told me she had baked it herself. Before I left her party that evening she had printed out a copy of her cake recipe and kindly gave it to me. Since then I’ve been baking all my cakes…from scratch!

The recipe is from Ina Garten’s Parties cookbook. The ingredients and instructions are all simple, and the whipped cream filling and the fresh strawberries give this cake a light and fresh twist. And what’s so great about this recipe is that although it makes two 8-inch cakes, you can use just one of them (should 2 cakes be too much) and store the second cake in the freezer for up to 6 months. I usually bake a few in advance and freeze. When I need a cake on short notice I usually take one out of the freezer.  While it is thawing (around 30 minutes) I use that time to make the filling and prepare the strawberries.  Don’t worry, the second cake that was frozen comes out just as good as the unfrozen cake.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Parties!

Strawberry Country Cake

: 6 to 8
: 1 hr
: Easy

A delicious strawberry cake with whipped cream.


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1.5 sticks) at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sour cream at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspooon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (1/2 pint), chilled
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 celsius).
  • Step 2 Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans.
  • Step 3 Cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  • Step 4 On medium speed add in the eggs (one at a time), then the sour cream, zests, and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well.
  • Step 5 In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda.
  • Step 6 On low speed slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine until just smooth. (Do not overmix to avoid a hard cake.)
  • Step 7 Pour the batter evenly into two 8-inch pans and smooth the tops with a spatula.
  • Step 8 Bake in the center of the oven for 40-45 minutes.
  • Step 9 Let cool in the pans for 30 minutes before removing them onto wire racks to continue cooling to room temperature.
  • Step 10 TO MAKE THE FILLING for 1 CAKE:
  • Step 11 Whip the heavy cream with a hand mixer until firm. Then add the sugar and vanilla.
  • Step 13 Slice one of the cakes in half with a long, sharp knife so that you have a top half and a bottom half.
  • Step 14 Place the bottom slice of the cake on a serving platter, spread with half of the prepared filling, and scatter with some sliced strawberries.
  • Step 15 Cover with the top half of the cake and spread the top of the cake with the remaining filling. Decorate with strawberries.