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Recipe Spotlight

Your Microwave Is the Key to the Best Strawberry Dream Cake

Extract the most juice—and flavor—from your strawberries with this clever method.

Published June 30, 2022.

Strawberry Dream Cake is pretty much everything its name promises it to be: fluffy, fruity, fantasticala sweet daydream come true in spongy cake form.

The only downside to the majority of strawberry cakes is that the strawberry flavor comes largely from fruit-flavored Jell-O, not the floral, syrupy sweetness of a real strawberry.

Cook’s Country set out to change that.

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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.

It turns out that there’s a reason so many cake recipes turn to the artificial stuff: Our test cooks immediately noticed that the seeds and any solids from the fruit itself ruined the airy crumb of the fluffy cake. But that didn’t deter them.

After several rigorous trials in the test kitchen, the team finally opted to turn to an unexpected kitchen appliance: the humble microwave. They strained the liquid from frozen strawberries that had been nuked for about 5 minutes, releasing the juice quickly and efficiently.

They then reduced this liquid on the stovetop to fortify its fruity flavor and color, which added a blush of pink to the batter before it was baked. 

But no ingredient goes to waste in the Cook’s Country test kitchen; the seeds and strawberry solids that were left behind after the juice was extracted were used in the cake’s frosting. Little pops of strawberry seed texture? Rosy hues and floral flavors entwined with a cream cheese frosting? Yes, please.

What’s that you say? Still not enough of a strawberry kick for you? Well, in this recipe, fresh strawberries are layered between two freshly baked cakes, offering a juicy splash of honest-to-goodness fruit in each bite.

It really doesn’t get much better than that.

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