I don’t know if necessity is the mother of invention here so much as desire. I had beautiful strawberries. I needed to make a dessert. I knew I needed to make something new and exciting, but I really craved my strawberry caramel sauce – it’s a favorite of mine. I thought maybe I could make a strawberry cake and serve it with the sauce and have it both ways. While the idea rattled around in my brain, I suddenly wondered if I couldn’t turn the sauce into a glaze for my favorite caramel bundt cake and add some strawberries to that too. And the answer is yes, oh yes, to beautiful effect. And thus was born strawberry caramel cake. Lucky us.
This cake has a rich, caramel depth that is a lovely background for sweet, in season strawberries. It must be completely cool before you glaze it, or the glaze will just slide right off. Place the cooling rack over foil or parchment to catch drips and make cleanup easier. I really do recommend sifting the confectioners’ sugar to prevent lumps. Watch the caramel sauce like a hawk so it doesn’t burn – it just needs to have a lovely amber color before you add the powdered sugar. It takes a little elbow grease, but it will make a lovely glaze. Spoon it over bit by bit so it doesn’t just all slide off.
Strawberry Caramel Cake
- For the Cake
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups packed light brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups diced strawberries
- For the Icing
1/2 cup of diced strawberries
3/4 cups granulated sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon
6 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- For the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 12 cup Bundt pan with cooking spray, such as Baker’s Joy.
- Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer to break it up, then add the brown sugar and beat at medium high until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the flour, baking powder and salt alternately with the cream, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the batter is thoroughly combined and smooth. Beat on high for about 5 seconds, then add the diced strawberries. Give the mixer a couple of turns, then use a spatula to fold in the berries, distributing them through the batter. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Lightly wet your fingers and press the batter into an even layer.
- Bake the cake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Loosely cover with foil if the top begins to brown too quickly. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack set over a piece of waxed paper or foil. Cool completely.
- For the Icing
- The cake must be completely cool, or the icing will slide right off. Place a piece of foil or paper under the cooling rack to catch any drips and make clean-up easier.
- Place the diced strawberries in a bowl and toss with 1 Tablespoons sugar. Leave to sit for several hours until the strawberries have released quite a bit of juice.
- Measure 2 tablespoons of liquid from the berries. Stir the liquid and ¾ cup of sugar together in a medium sized saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Up the heat to high and boil the mixture until it turns a lovely caramel brown, the color of sweet tea, about 4- 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Watch it like a hawk because it goes from caramel to burnt quickly at the end. Stand back a bit and pour in the cream. It will roil and bubble furiously and seize up a little. Just stir it until it all smooths out and combines, then turn the burner off and stir until it settles down. Let it cool for about 3 minutes, then whisk in the sifted confectioners’ sugar, a half cup at a time, until smooth. Stir in the diced strawberries. Slowly spoon the warm icing over the cooled cake. Leave to cool and set.