Cake Mix Doctor: Gluten-Free Fresh Strawberry Cake
Vegetable oil spray, for misting the pans
2 teaspoons rice flour, for dusting the pans
2 Cups (16 ounces) fresh strawberries
1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix
3 tablespoons strawberry gelatin (half of 3 ounce package)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Strawberry Cream Cheese frosting
1) Place rack in center of oven and preheat to #50 degrees. Lightly mist 2 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray then dust with rice flour. Shake out excess flour and then set aside.
2) Rinse and drain strawberries, pat dry with paper towels. Select 6 prettiest berries for garnish and set aside. Set aside one large strawberry for us in the cream cheese frosting. Cut green caps off of remaining berries and mash berries with a fork or place them in a food processor and pulse until you have smooth puree, about 10 pulses. You need 3/4 cup pureed strawberries.
3) Place cake mix and strawberry gelatin in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add strawberry puree, oil, eggs and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until ingredients are just incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop machine and scrape down side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat batter until smooth, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. Divide batter evenly between the 2 cake pans, smoothing tops with rubber spatula. Place pans in oven side by side.
4) Bake cake layers until they are golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger, 18 -22 minutes. Transfer cake pans to wire racks and let them cool for 5 minutes. Run sharp knife around edge of each cake layer and give a good shake to loosen the cakes. Invert each layer onto a wire rack, then invert it again onto another rack so the layers are right side up. Let layers cool completely, about another 20 minutes.
5) Make Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting.
1 large strawberry, 4 ounces (half of an 8 ounce package) cream cheese, at room temperature, 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted.
Rinse and pat strawberry dry, cut off green top and chop berry into small pieces, Mash chopped berry in medium size mixing bowl until pureed. Add cream cheese, butter and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, 20 seconds. Stop machine and add confectioner's sugar. beat with mixer on low speed until the sugar is well incorporated, 15 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium high and beat frosting until fluffy, 2 minutes longer. frosting can be made day ahead and kept refrigerated, return to room temp before using.
6) To assemble the cake, transfer one layer, right side up to a serving plate. Spread top with about 1 cup of frosting. Place second cake, right side up,on top of first layer and frost top and side of cake. For easier slicing, place uncovered cake in refrigerator until frosting sets, 10 to 15 minutes.
7) Before serving garnish cake with 6 whole berries and pile in center of cake. Or slice berries lengthwise 2 or 3 times, slicing but not through green stems. Gently spread out berries to form fans and arrange on top of cake.