Nothing says party like a cake with fresh berries on top. Yellow Cake with Buttercream and Strawberries is an instant party classic. This simple presentations takes all the pressure out of crumb coats and perfectly frosted round cakes. All you need to do is slather some frosting on top of each layer and you’re good to go. The strawberry ring around the top is beautiful and enticing and takes almost no trouble at all — no glazing or macerating — just wash and de-stem the strawberries and you’re good to go. This cake is an entertainer’s dream come true.
I love to use storebought, mass-produced cake mixes when I make cakes. With a little love and a few extra ingredients, they turn into real stunners. They also tend to turn out beautifully thanks to their carefully balanced ingredient amounts. I won’t say they’re foolproof, but they’re awfully close to it. As with any cake, bake it just until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out completely clean and you should have an excellent result. And, of course, give it plenty of time to cool before you frost it. (I certainly didn’t learn that lesson the hard way, ahem.)
One of the things I love about this cake is how versatile it is. It’s kind of like a blank canvas just waiting for a baker to unleash their creative side on. Beginning with the cake mix itself, you can add almost any sort of flavoring you want. Thanks to the forgiving nature of a pre-made mix, the tolerance for extra moisture is fairly high, so a couple of teaspoons of almond extract, or cherry extract, or any other extract that strikes your fancy won’t go amiss here.
The buttercream frosting is also a great place to let loose and experiment. Not only can you add different extracts to the frosting, you can grab your favorite food coloring bottles and add some visual spice as well. You could even divide the frosting recipe into parts and ice each cake layer with a separate color if you’d like. Taste the rainbow!
Strawberries are a favorite for this recipe. When they’re fresh, they keep for a day or two just fine, which is generally all the longer this cake can survive the sweet eaters in our house. However, there are other fruits that would work really well too. Most fruit that holds up for a day or two will work, like blueberries or raspberries. I always keep this cake in the fridge, not just for the berries, but also for the buttercream. I usually cut a couple of drinking straws in half and stick all four pieces in the top of the cake so I can cover with plastic wrap without touching the icing.