Strawberry Kiss Cake


Whole Strawberry Kiss Cake

I used to marvel at them, the shiny plastic-covered rows of tilled soil awaiting a fresh planting. You could hardly miss them as your car jetted south on the 5 or 405. If you fixed your gaze a certain way, the passing symmetrical rows would appear as though they were in motion while you were seemingly stationary, suspended in time. A kaleidoscope can give the same feeling. As a boy growing up near the Irvine Ranch in Orange County, CA, the influences of agriculture were everywhere. The big crop that comes to mind, of course, was the large expanses of orange groves. But another crop almost as abundant was strawberries.

Strawberry Flats

Strawberry fields were interspersed throughout the region and If I had been afforded the opportunity to do so, I’d bet a fly over would have revealed a patchwork quilt topography. Taking a closer look, the roadside fruit stand was always a favorite stop to pick up a couple of baskets of the succulent red berries. The thought of sweet juicy berries conjures up images like billowy clouds of whipped cream, mounded atop those little golden cakes overflowing with sliced strawberries, or maybe some mottled fresh berries stirred into a pitcher of iced lemonade. Sometimes though, the best way to eat them is to gently pinch a strawberry by the leafy stem and bite it clean from the core. It’s like a strawberry kiss―pure, sweet and simple. Are you feeling like a kid again?

Berry Puree

Speaking of children, a visit to a pick-your-own berry patch is a wonderful weekend morning expedition for the whole family. Kids can fill a basket of strawberries in no time. Just school them a bit with a couple of guidelines on how to choose ripe berries and let them go at it! They’ll exhibit a certain glee in their activity, similar to that of an Easter egg hunt.

Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream


Early April in the golden state is when strawberry season typically opens and the berry plants start hitting their stride. It’s what I call the holy trinity effect: color, smell and taste―and when all three elements are in play, the effect is heavenly! The 2011 California strawberry season is no exception. Soon to follow will be festivals, pie contests and bake sales heralding the arrival of the luscious berries. There’s so much to do, see and eat all in the name of this ravishing red fruit.


Slice of cake


If you happen to be visiting us this spring or summer, keep your eyes out for those furrows of plastic covered soil…a field can crop up (pun intended) out of nowhere from Watsonville in central California to Carlsbad and beyond in the south. Only now, those long rows are mounded over with thriving strawberry plants. Just remember to fix your gaze as you motor past so you can be mesmerized by the “kaleidoscope.”


Strawberry Kiss Cake


Rating: 51

Yield: One 9-inch 3-layer cake.


Herald the arrival of spring! Fresh California strawberries are infused in the cake and in the Swiss meringue buttercream frosting. I love a recipe that celebrates one flavor and this cake sublimely does just that! Pureed strawberries are used in several components, so be sure to preview the recipe and see the notes below.

Requires the use of 9x2-inch pans.


  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 ¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 egg whites (approximately 1 cup. Pasteurized, liquid egg whites may be used)
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 cup fresh strawberry puree
  • Simple Strawberry Syrup:
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh pureed strawberry (about ¼ cup)
  • Strawberry Swiss-Meringue Buttercream
  • 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 8 to 10 egg whites (1 ¼ cup, may substitute pasteurized liquid egg whites)
  • 2 ½ cups (5 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and slightly cooler than room temperature
  • ½ cup fresh strawberry puree
  • 2 tablespoons good quality strawberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the bottoms and sides of the pans with melted butter. Line the bottoms with parchment paper; grease the paper.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and the salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix in. Turn the mixer to its lowest speed and gradually add the egg whites, scraping the bowl often. In a separate bowl, mix the milk and strawberry puree together. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk mixture to the creamed butter and sugar, starting and ending with the flour. Scrape the bowl after each addition, and beat thoroughly until combined. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake approximately 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the pans on racks for 20 minutes. Run a spatula around the perimeter to release the cakes. Turn them from their pans onto racks, remove the paper and cool completely.
  • A good time to prepare the strawberry syrup is while the cakes are baking. Combine the sugar, water and strawberry puree in a small saucepan and whisk until the sugar is incorporated but still granular. Bring to a boil over high heat without stirring. When the sugar comes to a boil, remove from heat and cool completely.
  • Make the buttercream. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the sugar and egg whites until well combined. Set the bowl over a pot of boiling water and whisk constantly. While whisking, heat the mixture until all the sugar granules have dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch. Aim for getting the mixture as hot as possible but don’t overcook it into scrambled eggs.
  • Return the bowl to the mixer and seat the whip attachment. Beat on high speed until the meringue thickens and forms stiff glossy peaks, about 10 minutes. The bottom of the bowl should be at or close to room temperature. Stop the mixer and replace the whip with the paddle attachment. Set the mixer on low speed and add the butter, a few cubes at a time. After all the butter has been incorporated, beat the frosting on medium speed until fluffy.
  • Set the mixer back to low speed and add the vanilla, strawberry puree and jam. Once everything is incorporated, scrape the bowl down and continue to mix until a smooth, creamy texture is reached. If the frosting is too liquid, place in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled and firm, then re-whip. If the frosting appears broken, beat on high for 3 to 5 minutes more and it will come together.
  • Assemble the cake. Place the first layer on a serving plate, brushing the top with the strawberry syrup. Place a large dollop of frosting on top and spread evenly to within ¼ inch of the edge. Place the 2nd layer on top, brushing its top with the syrup. Frost this layer as you did the last. Now place the final layer over top and brush the top again with syrup. Frost the top and sides with a thin crumb coat. Place the cake in the refrigerator to firm the coating. Finish frosting the top and sides of the cake reserving a small amount to use for borders. When the cake is frosted pipe a decorative border at the base and at the top edge. As an added touch, make your cake dainty with some sprinkles on top.


Fresh berries yield superb flavor and color to baking—choose ones that are fragrant, ripe and red. You may substitute frozen berries provided they are the whole, quick-frozen variety. Just thaw them and puree. If use you frozen berries with added sugar, then adjust the sugar accordingly in the frosting or it may be too sweet. In the event you are unfamiliar with Swiss-meringue buttercreams, take it step-by-step and follow the tips if the process goes awry. The pasteurized egg whites in liquid form found in cartons at the grocery store are convenient and saves time.

Strawberry Kiss Cake by Cakewalker


  1. Simply gorgeous! I love strawberry anything!

    • Brooks Walker says

      Strawberry love lives in my family too Jen…good thing the season is long. Happy spring and thanks for visiting!

  2. What a beautiful cake! When I was in high school, I used to work at one of our local farmer’s markets- picking strawberries. While most of the kids ate their way thru the mornings, I was busy picking. At the end of the morning (we only picked for 4 hours each day), I would then eat one strawberry- it (along with my paycheck!) was my little reward.

    • Brooks Walker says

      Little rewards are sweet treats to ourselves. What a terrific experience from your school days. Cheers to you & yours.

  3. You are an absolute cake wizard, Brooks! This is such a gorgeous cake! I only recently discovered Swiss Meringue Buttercream last month. Oh, how I LOVE IT! This strawberry cake is so magnificent; I’m sure it’s strawberry-licious 🙂

    • Brooks Walker says

      Thank you kindly Hester—the cake is beyond tasty. Now that you’re familiar with Swiss meringue buttercream, give one a try!

  4. This is such a beautiful looking cake and it sounds absolutely delicious!

  5. This is just beautiful and elegant. I am moved!

  6. I just can’t stop staring at this cake Brooks. It’s so gorgeous.

  7. Brooke this looks absolutely delicious. We are almost in strawberry season and I can’t wait to make a cake like this one. I love strawberries and I love strawberry cake. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Brooks Walker says

      You’re welcome Christiane. Best wishes on your cake and three cheers for a long, bountiful strawberry season!

  8. Brooks, besides the flavor of the strawberries of course, I love the fact that the pink color of this cake comes only from the strawberries, not food coloring. What a beauty! I usually make strawberry cupcakes, but I might have to make this gorgeous cake.

    • Brooks Walker says

      Much obliged, Jean. Try the full cake, there’s something divine about the layers… So you know, the recipe translates beautifully into cupcakes!

  9. Angie Mae says

    Beautiful! Our strawberry season here (central Florida) is earlier than the norm-usually starting around November so this would make a great cake to share with family around the holidays!

    • Brooks Walker says

      Thank you for the lovely comment Angie Mae. How lucky central Floridians are to enjoy a lengthy strawberry season!

  10. I love that you can get such a vibrant pink without a hint of artificial coloring, Brooks! That is one gorgeous cake! Berry picking is one of our favorite family things to do together.

  11. Dorothy Schreffler says

    There are a lot of egg whites used in this cake. If you can’t find the pasteurized egg whites, what could be done with all of those yolks? I don’t remember seeing the packaged egg whites; there are the egg beaters but egg whites? This does really sound wonderful and there is nothing quite like the taste of fresh, ripe strawberries.

    • Brooks Walker says

      Hi Dorothy, One of my favorite uses for the leftover yolks is to make lemon curd. Other excellent uses for them are pastry cream, and Hollandaise sauce. The packaged egg whites in the carton are widely available in supermarkets across the US as they are so popular now for their high protein, low cholesterol attributes. Typically, they are in the same refrigerated section of the store as the Egg Beaters, or near the whole fresh eggs by the dozen. It may be necessary to ask the grocer for assistance locating them, for I’ve also seen them in the “healthier dairy” section where vegan and alternative eggs/butters are displayed. I hope you’ll try the recipe for I know you’ll love the results. Best wishes, and happy baking!

  12. Just came across your recipe yesterday & I bookmarked it. It gave me the inspiration to celebrate spring. Revisited today because strawberries are on sale @ my local store & I will be baking this gorgeous treat in a few days. I will be preparing the strawberry puree ahead of time. I do have a lot of egg whites after preparing leche flan (Filipino custard). What a good way to use up the egg whites that I already have!

    • Brooks Walker says

      It’s an ideal way to use the leftover egg whites. Your Leche Flan sounds wonderful too, Morli. 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to comment―I appreciate hearing from readers. Best wishes with the cake, and happy baking!

  13. Anne H. says

    I follow Jenni Field’s Pastry Chef Online on FB, and recently asked her for a recipe for strawberry frosting. She suggested this recipe. Wow, it was delicious!! Perfection!! I will use this from now on. I didn’t make the cake as I already had a lime flavor I wanted to use for my cupcakes, but I will soon. I’ve already thanked her for the suggestion, and now I thank you 🙂

    • Brooks Walker says

      Anne, thank you for letting me know―a testimony like this makes my day! Jenni is a dear friend, and you both have my gratitude. 🙂

  14. Is there any way you could lessen the eggs? I’m not sure if I can use eight in a cake. Also, can I use all purpose flour instead of cake flour. Thanks.

    • Brooks Walker says

      Hi Bernadine, Thanks for reaching out with questions about the strawberry cake recipe. In the matter of reducing the amount of eggs in the recipe, I would not advise doing so, and here’s why: the measure of egg whites for the cake comprises the bulk of liquid needed for the flour to liquid ratio in the formula. To lessen the egg whites or substitute them for another liquid likely won’t yield the intended light, fluffy crumb in the final product. As the cake is frosted in a Swiss meringue type of icing, the egg whites are necessary to yield the smooth, creamy consistency—the hallmark of a Swiss meringue. If the egg quantity is a health and/or diet related concern, then feel free to experiment with the recipe to address those needs.

      For the flour varieties, the use of both cake and AP flour provides a lighter, moist crumb with enough body or structure to remain airy under the weight of being a 3-layer cake and the frosting that holds it together—it’s a matter of gluten protein in relation to its hydration and what it produces when baked. I have not used straight AP flour in this recipe, but you certainly can try it. Just know it might render a crumb that is more dense and heavy. I hope this information is helpful. Best wishes, and happy baking!

  15. On the Swiss meringue how did you get that pink look? I tried it and it did not come out the pink what am I doing wrong thank you!

    • Brooks Walker says

      Hi Carolyn, it’s not that you’re doing something wrong, per se. The variable factor here is the color of the berries used. The finished buttercream draws its pigment from the fresh berries and the strawberry jam; the deeper the red of both ingredients, the deeper the shade of pink it will be. Look for the most red, most ripe berries you can find as it may make a difference. I hope this helps, and happy baking!

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