The Sweet Way To Boost The Flavor Of Strawberry Cake

Strawberry cake is rarely a "made-from-scratch" venture. People usually reach for a fail-proof strawberry cake mix, with its signature pink color and strong strawberry flavor; When it comes to strawberry baked dishes, we've submitted to the ease of synthetic strawberry seasoning, rather than trying to incorporate the real thing, and there's nothing wrong with preferring pre-made mixes or syrups. After all, strawberries and blueberries are a bit tart in nature and taste less sweet than we sometimes imagine.

But sometimes, we want to try our hand at making a strawberry cake from scratch, making use of what strawberries we have. However, while some strawberry cake recipes are just vanilla cake layered with strawberry jam or mixed with chunks of macerated strawberries (which are delicious in their own right), others that try to incorporate strawberry puree end up half as potent as the boxed mix. 

Is true homemade strawberry cake impossible to get right? Must we subject ourselves to the boxed mix in order to enjoy a pink, strawberry-flavored sponge-cake? Fortunately, the answer is no. As Freeze Dry Foodie explains, there is one ingredient that can usher in a new era in the homemade strawberry muffin, cake, or bread-making arena.

Freeze-dried strawberry powder

The best way to get both the flavor of real strawberries and the bright pink hue in your cake is to use freeze-dried strawberry powder. Unlike strawberry-flavored additives, freeze-dried strawberries are the real thing, per Freeze Dry Foodie. If you try to add fresh strawberries into a cake batter, you'll end up adding excess liquid and tartness, leading to an overly mushy crumb that might come out sour or bland. This isn't to say that you should never add strawberry puree: Just be sure to reduce the puree to account for the ratio of your dry to wet ingredients (via Sally's Baking Addiction).

The reason why freeze-dried strawberry powder is superior to any other strawberry additive is that it is made from unadulterated strawberries, though without any extra moisture, per Washington Post. This ingredient makes it easy for you to enhance the strawberry flavor of your cake without ruining the integrity of your batter. Some opt for strawberry Jell-O powder, per Call Me PMC, but with the added sugar and artificial flavoring, using this addition is a lot like using box mix. 

If you crave a more rustic cake with strawberry chunks or seeds, you can always use both fresh strawberries and freeze-dried powder. Adding powder will ensure that your strawberry cake actually tastes like strawberries — while at the same time giving it a beautiful pink hue.