Basic strawberry jam is one our family's favorite things to can every year. Strawberry jam is staple for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that Little BBQ adores for his lunches. Every year we head out to a you pick orchard where we spend about an hour and half in the morning picking beautiful red strawberries. Then, we come home for a relaxing brunch and head out to the city pool for a refreshing dip in the pool. Finally, we come home and start processing strawberries. On top of making jam, we freezer several gallon bags full of strawberries for smoothies later in the year. We also dehydrate several pounds of strawberries for strawberry pancakes and muffins. This combination of canning, freezing, and dehydrating allows us to enjoy strawberries all year long.
After making strawberry jam this year, the family begged me to make a strawberry cake. The family has been craving a fruity dessert, so I decided to make a southern strawberry cake. After living down south for several years I learned that the secret to a very flavorful cake is buttermilk. Buttermilk imparts a complex flavor in the cake that is unmatched any other way. Combine buttermilk with strawberries for a delicious combination. The cake came out very moist, slightly pink, and delicious. The 3 layers of the cake encased the basic strawberry jam that really popped beside the cake. The frosting was a delicious strawberry cream cheese frosting. I generally frost my cakes minimally to cut back on the amount of sugar that the kids are eating. I am not a fan of super thick coats of frosting on top of cakes and cupcakes. For me frosting should compliment a good cake but not overwhelm the cake. If you like more frosting on your cake, then double the frosting recipe below for a more generously frosted cake.
Ingredients for Basic Strawberry Jam (about 8 half pints) from Ball
5 cups crushed strawberries (about 5 lbs)
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 tbsp powdered pectin
7 cups granulated sugar
8 half pint jars with lids and bands
1. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and pectin to a large pot on high heat. Bring the strawberry mixture to a boil, about 3 minutes, while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
2. Add the sugar to the strawberry mixture, and stir. Boil the mixture hard for 1 minute while stirring constantly.
3. Remove the jam from the heat, and skim off the foam.
4. Allow the jam to rest for 5 minutes before ladling the jam into hot sterile jars leaving 1/4" headspace. Wipe the rim, place a hot lid on top, and adjust the band until finger tip tight.
5. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
6. Remove the jars from the boiling water canner and allow to cool for 24 hours. Check the seal of the lids by pushing down on the center of the lid (the lid should not move up or down when being pushed) before storing in a cool, dry, dark place.
Ingredients for Southern Strawberry Cake (makes 1 8 inch cake) modified from I made that
2 1/2 cups cake flour (a substitute can be found here)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used tahitian vanilla)
8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
1 cup strawberry puree
1/2 pint basic strawberry jam
1/2 cup strawberries, sliced in half
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 inch cake pan. Set the pan aside.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium size bowl.
3. Combine buttermilk, applesauce, and almond extract in a medium size bowl.
4. Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until a thick paste forms. Slowly add the eggs while continuing to beat the mixture. Add the buttermilk mixture while continuing to beat the mixture. Beat for about 1 minute.
5. Add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture and mix until just combined.
6. Stir in the strawberry puree.
7. Add the batter to the prepared cake pan. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
8. Allow the cake to cook for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
9. Allow the cake to fully cool before slicing into 3 layers.
10. Spread the jam in between the layers of the cake.
11. Frost the outside of the cake (recipe below.)
12. Garnish with strawberries.
Ingredients for strawberry cream cheese frosting modified from I made that
1/2 pound cream cheese, room temperature
6 tbps unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powder sugar
3 tbsp basic strawberry jam
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1. Beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth in a medium size bowl.
2. Mix in the powdered sugar until incorporated.
3. Mix in the strawberry jam, vanilla, and salt until well incorporated
4. Frost the cake.