Old-Fashioned Fresh Strawberry Sheet Cake & Stove-Top Strawberry Buttercream

This cake is a twist on one of my all-time favorite cakes EVER — the White Texas Sheet Cake. We recent­ly cel­e­brat­ed dad’s birth­day, and I got the plea­sure of mak­ing him his birth­day cake. Before the par­ty, I was talk­ing with dad and he said “Mom told me you were mak­ing the cake” and then he uncon­scious­ly smirked and shook his head no and said “and, she told me what kind you are mak­ing!”

I laughed so hard and said “No she didn’t! AND your head is telling me that you aren’t telling the truth!” He tried to get the secret birth­day cake info out of me — but I am all too famil­iar with his tricks. No cake intel for you dad!

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One of dad’s favorite fla­vors is straw­ber­ry, so I took the White Texas Sheet Cake recipe and made a few minor adjust­ments, tak­ing it from a sweet almond cake ((my mouth just watered)) and turn­ing it into a fresh coun­try-style straw­ber­ry cake.

Here is how I made the switch:

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I cleaned and de-stemmed one 16 oz. car­ton of fresh straw­ber­ries & added them to a medi­um-sized pot.

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I went on to make a sim­ple straw­ber­ry syrup by adding ½ cup of gran­u­lat­ed sug­ar & 1 cup of water to the straw­ber­ries, over a medi­um to medi­um-high flame.

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As the straw­ber­ries start­ed to release their juices, I mashed the “fire” out of them, just to give them a lit­tle nudge in the “juice releas­ing” depart­ment.

At this point, you can either strain the berries and set the syrup aside to cool, or you can strain the berries and allow the syrup to thick­en by boil­ing for 5 more min­utes. I am not sure one is bet­ter than the oth­er, but I just want­ed you to know, you have options. I like options, by the way.

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I strained the syrup and set it aside to cool and then pro­ceed­ed with the cake-mak­ing. Oh, I should men­tion ((while I am giv­ing you options)) you CAN save the “berry mush” and add it back to the cake and/or the frost­ing, if you like the sight and tex­ture of real bits of berry in your cake and frost­ing ((I like the bits, so I saved them)).

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I reserved ¼ cup of berry syrup for the frost­ing and then added the remain­ing syrup back to the pot & com­bined it with water to total 3 cups of liq­uid, per the orig­i­nal recipe. Once the liq­uid is boil­ing, add the THREE sticks of but­ter, stir­ring until they melt.

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The remain­ing steps fol­low all of the orig­i­nal cake recipe instruc­tions: alter­nate adding eggs & the flour blend until both are incor­po­rat­ed ((stir­ring rapid­ly)) into the hot liq­uid. Fin­ish the cake bat­ter off by adding sour cream and fla­vor­ing ((I chose vanil­la this time)).

But, I have to tell you one lit­tle thing about this process, or rather show & tell you (get it? show & tell?):

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I was remind­ed of the good old lab days at the moment I added the flour blend (which includes salt and bak­ing soda) to the hot melt­ed butter/strawberry syrup mix­ture. It has to do with adding a base (bak­ing soda) to an acid (straw­ber­ry syrup, which con­tains cit­ric acid) in the pres­ence of a cat­a­lyst (heat).

First, let me tell you, every­thing will be okay. Sec­ond, go slow­ly (don’t add all of the flour blend at once, if you like a clean kitchen) and keep stir­ring. Last, let me tell you that one of the byprod­ucts of this chem­i­cal reac­tion is [latexpage]$CO_2$ — yes, the straw­ber­ry cake bat­ter will erupt.

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This reac­tion hap­pens in a flash, then the bat­ter “sim­mers down” and you can go on about your busi­ness. Take this moment as a fun oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk to your kid­dos about sci­ence. It is called dessert and a show, my friends.

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Add the sour cream, vanil­la & straw­ber­ry mash,

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and pour it in a parch­ment-lined & pre­pared bak­ing sheet and bake for 25 min­utes-ish ((until a tooth­pick comes out clean)).

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While the cake is bak­ing, it is time to make the stove-top straw­ber­ry but­ter­cream!

As with the cake, I fol­lowed the White Texas Sheet Cake but­ter­cream recipe with just one minor adjust­ment in order to “straw­ber­ry-ify” it.

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Instead of using the ¼c + 2T of milk orig­i­nal­ly called for, I used ¼c straw­ber­ry syrup + 2T of milk for the but­ter­cream. This mod­i­fi­ca­tion, in addi­tion to a few table­spoons of the straw­ber­ry “mush”, gave this but­ter­cream just the right amount of fresh straw­ber­ry fla­vor.

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I fin­ished the but­ter­cream off by adding pow­dered sug­ar and vanil­la.

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Pour the but­ter­cream over the slight­ly cooled cake, but take care not to spread and smooth too much. The more you mess with this stove-top ver­sion of but­ter­cream, the more crys­tal­ized it will become. I pre­fer the glossy fin­ish. So, pour it out even­ly over the cake, quick­ly spread and then leave it alone.

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Now, before I move on to the recipe card, let me pause and men­tion, I usu­al­ly always have ½ to 1 cup of extra but­ter­cream, you prob­a­bly will too. So, with this infor­ma­tion, I will cau­tion you not to pour the entire pot of warm but­ter­cream over the cake at once. Just pro­ceed with cau­tion.

PS: I love extra but­ter­cream, and so do the kids! I usu­al­ly send them to school with some vanil­la wafers or gra­ham crack­ers and a few table­spoons of but­ter­cream. If that doesn’t make a school lunch yum­my, I don’t know what will!

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This cake is just the right amount of straw­ber­ry, with no arti­fi­cial col­ors and fla­vors. Dad clicked his heels ((mean­ing he LOVED it)).

Fresh Straw­ber­ry Sheet Cake
Fresh straw­ber­ry syrup adds the per­fect amount of col­or and fla­vor to this per­fect­ly moist sheet cake.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
25 min
Straw­ber­ry Syrup
  1. 1 — 16 oz car­ton of fresh straw­ber­ries, cleaned and de-stemmed
  2. 1 c water
  3. 1/2 c sug­ar
Cake
  1. 1 c straw­ber­ry syrup
  2. 1/2 c water
  3. 1 1/2 c but­ter ((3 sticks))
  4. 2 1/2 c sug­ar
  5. 3 eggs, beat­en
  6. 3/4 c sour cream
  7. 3 t vanil­la
  8. 3 c flour
  9. 1 1/2 t kosher salt
  10. 1 1/2 t bak­ing soda
Icing
  1. 3/4 c but­ter
  2. 1/4 c straw­ber­ry syrup
  3. 2 T milk
  4. 6 c con­fec­tion­ers sug­ar
  5. 2 t vanil­la
  6. 1/4 t kosher salt
Direc­tions
  1. For the syrup, place “syrup” ingre­di­ents into a medi­um saucepan over medi­um flame. Bring to boil and mash the straw­ber­ries to release all of the nat­ur­al juices. Once the syrup has thick­ened slight­ly, remove from flame and strain. (Set the straw­ber­ry “mash” that was strained from the syrup aside to add to the cake bat­ter and but­ter­cream. if desired.) Allow the syrup to cool.
  2. Pre­heat oven to 375°. In a large saucepan, bring but­ter and straw­ber­ry syrup/water (reserve at least 1/4 c of straw­ber­ry syrup for the but­ter­cream) to a boil. Com­bine flour, salt & bak­ing soda in a medi­um mix­ing bowl. Remove the but­ter & water from the heat, add sug­ar, stir­ring to dis­solve. Add about 1/3 of the flour mix­ture, stir. Add a beat­en egg, stir (quick­ly so the egg doesn’t scram­ble) & and repeat this process until the flour and egg have been incor­po­rat­ed in the warm liq­uid and the bat­ter is smooth. Add sour cream, vanil­la & all but 3 T of the mashed straw­ber­ries* stir­ring to com­bine.
  3. Pour bat­ter into a greased 17“x11“x1” jel­ly roll pan (I also lined it with parch­ment paper). Place in a pre­heat­ed oven for 20–25 min­utes until gold­en brown and the tooth­pick tests clean.
  4. Mean­while, com­bine but­ter, remain­ing 1/4 c straw­ber­ry syrup & milk in a medi­um saucepan & bring to a boil. Remove from heat & stir in con­fec­tion­ers sug­ar, vanil­la, remain­ing mashed berries* & kosher salt. Con­tin­ue to stir until smooth. Pour over cake** that has cooled for about 5 min­utes but is still pret­ty warm.
  5. Yields 20 serv­ings.
Notes
  1. *Adding the mashed straw­ber­ries is option­al — but I think it helps boost the straw­ber­ry fla­vor and is pret­ty too!
  2. **Be sure not to over spread the icing because it will crys­tal­ize and lose that gor­geous glossy fin­ish. Just pour, quick­ly spread and then leave it alone until ready to serve.
Food for a Year: https://foodforayear.com/

4 Comments

    • Emily says:

      I am not sure — I haven’t tried to turn it into a lay­er cake but it’s a moist, spongy cake. It may work but cook­ing time would need to be adjust­ed.

      • Julie says:

        Thanks for your response. I’m just curi­ous because I’ve tried a Texas lemon cake and it only works as a sheet cake. The Texas choco­late cake makes a good lay­er cake as does the Texas white cake. I might give this a try. Looks like a good recipe.

  1. Megan says:

    This was VERY good, how­ev­er, I wouldn’t use 6 cups of pow­dered sug­ar next time…I end­ed up adding maybe 1–2T of heavy cream. Next time, I will start with 4 cups and add 1/2 cup more at a time to achieve the desired con­sis­ten­cy.

In true show & tell form: "I am open for questions & comments"

 
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