Have you had any baking disasters? I’ve had my fair share, and naturally, they all tend to occur when I’m making a treat to share at a party. One time the pecan crust just fell off the sides of a cheesecake I had made for a lab birthday celebration. Another time a cake I made for a dinner party that was loaded with peach puree, didn’t taste like peaches at all, which would have been ok, except that I had just announced it was a peach cake! And I wince every time I think about the night I was easing a cake out of its pan onto a cooling rack and the pan slipped away from me and fell onto a different cake layer that was already cooling – that cake split into 4 pieces, eeek (I ended up pressing all the chunks together like puzzle pieces and making it the bottom layer and I don’t think anyone noticed, thankfully!). Creating new recipes is just so fun though that I usually can’t bring myself to repeat a dessert that I know always turns out well, so I take a bit of a chance each time and the hope that if anything goes wrong, that I’ll be able to save my dessert with a bit of creativity. Enter this cake.
Jen recently posted a beautiful carrot cake with a cheesecake filling that I thought was just genius. She was inspired to put the cheesecake layer in the center of the cake after seeing Erin’s mouth watering Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cake. When my undergrad assistant Juliana’s birthday rolled around, she told me her favorite desserts were cheesecake with fruit topping and light yellow cake, so I was inspired by Jen and Erin to combine the two desserts into one marvelous treat. Everything went well at first. I baked up a layer of strawberry cheesecake two days before the celebration and then made the tender yellow cakes the night before. They stacked up nicely, but things quickly went downhill when I began to work on the strawberry cream cheese frosting I had dreamed up. I forgot to put the butter in and when I added some strawberry preserves it became a runny mess. When I realized it was beyond saving and that I was out of powdered sugar, cream cheese, and heavy cream, I started racking my brain for a quick frosting fix since the last thing I wanted to do was head out to the store at 12:30am!
I ended up hesitantly stirring up a box of instant vanilla pudding with a little milk and a few cups of Chobani Strawberry Greek Yogurt. It had a lovely light texture but was still thick enough to adhere to the cake! I added in some strawberry preserves for a little extra strawberry punch, frosted my cake, and fell into bed. Will this experience stop me from attempting new desserts the day before I need them? Nope, of course not!
Strawberry Cheesecake Filled Yellow Cake
3 cups pureed strawberries (I pulsed 30 ounces strawberries in the food processor)
24 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Strawberry Frosting and Garnish:
1 3.4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding
1/4 cup milk
2 6-ounce containers Chobani Nonfat Strawberry Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup low sugar strawberry preserves
10 ounces strawberries, sliced
To make the cheesecake layer, heat oven to 350˚F. Place strawberry puree in a small nonstick pan over medium low heat and heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until reduced to 1 cup. Let cool to room temperature. Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl and beat on medium-high speed with a mixer for 3 minutes or until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in vanilla and cooled strawberry puree. Pour into a greased 9-inch springform pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 350˚F for 60 minutes or until edges are set and middle is slightly wobbly. Cool to room temperature, about one hour. Place in the refrigerator for several hours or until chilled.
To make the cake, heat the oven to 350˚F. Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt and sift the mixture into a large bowl. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer in a large bowl until creamed. Add in eggs and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Slowly mix in half the flour mixture, followed by half the buttermilk, until smooth. Repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk. Pour batter into two greased 8-inch cake pans lined with parchment paper. Bake cakes at 350˚F for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean and the tops are light golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then run a knife around the edges of each cake. Flip over onto wire racks and cool cakes completely, about an hour.
To make the strawberry frosting, place vanilla pudding and milk in a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Stir in yogurt and strawberry preserves. Chill in the refrigerator 5 minutes or until thickened.
To assemble the cake, place one layer of the yellow cake on a serving platter. Remove cheesecake from the pan and flip over on top of the yellow cake. Cut around the edges of the cheesecake layer so it fits the cake layer. Place second layer of yellow cake on top. Evenly cover with strawberry frosting and garnish with strawberries. Makes 20 servings.
Nutrition: 438 calories, 23.4g fat, 1.6g fiber, 9.2g protein per serving
Cost: $0.90 per serving