For the cake
2 ¾ cups cake flour
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
10 tbsps cold butter, cubed
5 egg whites, room temperature
¾ cup milk, room temperature
½ cup reduced strawberry puree (see below for ingredients and directions)
2 tsps vanilla extract
¼ cup peanut oil (you can substitute canola or vegetable)
Red food coloring (optional)
For the puree
1½ pounds strawberries, stems removed
⅛ cup fresh basil chopped
For the frosting
½ cup strawberry puree, room temperature
1 cup butter, room temperature
3 ½ cups powdered sugar, a little more or less
1 tsp vanilla extract
Red food coloring (optional)
Add fresh strawberries to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Pour into a medium saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring often until reduced by half and thick. Take half a cup out and set aside. This will be used in the frosting. Add the basil to the remaining puree, stir and place in the refrigerator until ready for use.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans; set aside.
Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to your mixing bowl if using a stand mixer or a big bowl if using a hand mixer and combine well. Then add the chilled butter slowly, mixing on medium-low speed until crumbs form.
Next, in a separate bowl whisk together the egg whites, milk, strawberry puree (from the refrigerator), vanilla and oil. With the mixer on low, and add half of the wet ingredients, turn mixer to medium speed and mix until thick, scraping down the sides of the bowl. If you are using food coloring add it at this point. I used 3 drops for very light pink. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix on medium speed until well combined. Remember to scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl.
Distribute the batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes until done. Let cool completely before frosting.
Beat butter with an electric mixer in a bowl until light and fluffy, if using the stand mixer be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl. Add 1 cup powdered sugar into butter and mix until combined. Beat in the strawberry puree and vanilla, and then keep adding the remaining powdered sugar until desired consistency. I don’t like my frosting too thick so I added about 3 ¼ cups. For a more firm frosting, keep adding more powdered sugar. Add food coloring for desired color if you are using, I put 4 drops in.
When cakes are cooled, place one layer of cake on a serving plate. Top with approximately 1 cup of buttercream. Repeat with remaining layer, adding the buttercream on top and pushing it down the sides. Using a cake spatula or a butter knife, go around the sides and smooth it. I am not artist when it comes to decorating cakes; I just try to make them look pretty! So you can get as fancy as you like here.