Thursday, May 24, 2012

Light Strawberry Flower Cake

In the words of Hannibal Smith, "I just love it when a plan comes together!"  About a week ago my friend Ginny and I were working out and discussing that our friend Leah's 30th birthday is today.  We knew that she wasn't thrilled about turning the big 3-0 so we decided to throw her a small surprise party.  We only had 5 days to plan the party since she will be out of town the weekend of her birthday and we wanted to do it before she left.  We brainstormed some ideas and came up with a plan.  We divided up the tasks and one of my jobs was to bake the cake.  Since strawberries are in season it was an easy decision to do a strawberry cake.

The hard part was deciding which strawberry cake recipe to choose.  I wanted to find an easy, light recipe.  I searched through some of my favorite sites and found Sweetheart Strawberry Cupcakes recipe at   Dashing Dish is one of my favorite food blogs.  The author truly has a heart for the Lord and she is so stinkin' adorable too!  All the recipes are her own creation and healthy.  So far, all the recipes I have tried have been great!

Her strawberry cupcake recipe couldn't be simpler.  It is just a strawberry box cake mix and red soda (diet or regular).  That's it! I had my doubts, but it was surprisingly good and really moist.

Instead of cupcakes, I planned to make a 2 layer cake, but I didn't let one of the layers cool completely after baking and when I tried to remove it from the cake pan it broke apart.  So I had to bake another cake mix and ended up using all 3 layers for the cake.  It was a yummy mistake since we got to eat the messed up layer, and it worked out for the best since three layers is really the perfect height for this cake.

After deciding on the cake recipe, I had to decide how to decorate it.  I am not a cake decorator.  So I needed a really simple design.  I searched through for ideas and came across a cake with a flower made from strawberries from Lick the Bowl Good  food blog.  She showed a step by step tutorial on how to make the flower.  It looked so easy I knew even I could do it.  Here's how.

Place sliced strawberries in a circle along the outer edge of the top of the cake.

Add another layer of sliced strawberries inside the outer layer of strawberries.

Repeat layering until cake is covered. Place a whole strawberry in the center to finish.
I added the white sprinkles by throwing them at the cake allowing them to stick where they landed. There were lots of little white balls all over my kitchen floor :) I also added strawberry halves along the base of the cake.

I was so pleased with the final result!

The party turned out great and everything came together in just a few days.  I feel extremely blessed to have such good friends to share life's milestones.  Happy 30th Birthday Leah!!

Light Strawberry Cake 
adapted from:
yield: 12 servings


2 strawberry box cake mixes
2 (12 oz.) cans or 3 cups diet or regular red soda

12 oz. light Cool Whip
2 (1.4 oz.) sugar free vanilla pudding mixes
1 1/2 cup skim milk
Red or pink food coloring
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour cake pans. Beat cake mix and soda together until smooth and creamy.
  • Divide the batter into four 8 or 9 inch cake pans. If you don't have four cake pans, divide the batter in half setting aside one half of the batter. Pour divided cake batter into two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.
  • Bake according to instructions on box.
  • While cake is baking, mix together pudding mix, milk, Cool Whip, and food coloring. Slowly beat or whisk whipped topping until all of the ingredients are just combined. (Be careful not to over mix). Add as much food coloring you need in order to get the color you desire. Chill in fridge until ready to use.
  • Allow the cakes to completely cool before removing from pan or you may end up with a yummy mistake like I did! Once cooled, dump onto cooling rack.
  • Regrease and flour pans and bake the rest of the batter dividing it into the 2 pans. Since this is a three layer cake you will have one layer left over. One option is to make cupcakes instead of the fourth layer or make a four layer cake. You may need to prepare more icing than the recipe calls for.
  • Bake layers/cupcakes according to box instructions. Allow to cool. Once the layers are completely cooled begin assembling the cake.
  • Spread a layer of icing on top of the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top of the bottom layer. Spread a layer of icing on the second layer and place the third layer on top. Cover the cake with icing. The nice thing about whipped icing is that unlike buttercream it doesn't need to be smooth to look good. The messier, the better. Decorate with strawberries and sprinkles.
  • I baked the layers the day before and wrapped them individually in plastic wrap until I was ready to assemble the cake. This made the cake even moister than it would have been if I had served it the same day it was baked.
  •  I placed a piece of wax paper under the cake and used the paper to turn the cake while icing it.  This made it much easier to decorate and maneuver the cake.  After decorating the cake I tore the wax paper so that it couldn't be seen.
Per Serving:
Calories: approx. 325 using regular soda 300 using diet soda
Fat: 5 grams

Buon Appetito!


  1. AMAZING!!!
    "I'm not a cake decorator" - What??
    I'll be trying this out as soon as my exams are over!!

  2. This is the most gorgeous cake!

  3. Wow, I'm not a cake decorator either, but I think I could manage this! So beautiful :)