Valentine’s Cake (Strawberry Surprise Cake)

It’s finally here! The “surprise” Valentine’s Cake that has been in the back of my mind for weeks.

This cake was inspired. I had some leftover cheesecake batter, and I thought, “What if I made a layer cake with a cheesecake in the middle?” Then a few days later, I thought, “What if I added in a layer of powdered donuts? Oooh, some strawberry jam for the filling would be nice!” Then as I was making the cake, I thought, “I really need to cover this cake in cream cheese frosting to complete it!”

I swear, my mind never stops!

Thus this cake was born…layers of fresh strawberry cake, cheesecake, powdered donuts, strawberry jam, cream cheese filling, and a cream cheese frosting on the outside. Topped with a fun pink drip, sprinkles, heart candies, homemade white chocolate sprinkle bark, and strawberry cream truffles.

If you’re thinking, “OMG Sarah…really?!” YES, REALLY. This cake was seriously delicious!

Recipes and step-by-step tutorial below!

Fresh Strawberry Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (285g) sifted cake flour (spoon & leveled)*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75g) sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk, at room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup reduced strawberry puree (see note)*
  • optional: 1-2 drops red or pink food coloring

Instructions

  1. Make the reduced strawberry puree and allow it to cool completely. See note. You can make it a few days ahead of time and store it covered in the refrigerator or cover and freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw before using in the recipe.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch (or 8-inch) cake pans.
  3. Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the egg whites on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Then beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk *just* until combined. Do not overmix. Whisk in 1/2 cup of reduced strawberry puree, making sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick. Stir in food coloring, if desired. (I use 1 small drop.)
  5. Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for around 24-25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
  6. Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Perfect Cheesecake Recipe (click link)

How to Make: Simple White Chocolate Sprinkle Bark

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place white candy melts into a glass bowl. If you’re starting with a bar/bar, chop it into chunks.
  2. Melt your candy melts in the microwave, until softened. This will take about 1 minute at 20 second intervals. Stir.
  3. Once melted, pour onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
  4. Immediately top with sprinkles.
  5. Let cool for about an hour, until hardened. You can also hasten the cooling process by placing the baking sheet in the freezer.
  6. Once hardened, use a large chef’s knife to slice into triangles. Be sure to run the knife until hot water before each slice, to prevent cracking and to make sure the cuts are clean.

How to Make: White Chocolate Drip for Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup white candy melts, or white chocolate chunks
  • 1/4 Cup heavy whipping cream
  • small dab of food color gel of choice

Instructions

  1. Place white candy melts into a glass bowl. If you’re starting with a white candy melt bar or white chocolate bar, chop it into chunks.
  2. Melt your candy melts/chocolate in the microwave, until softened. This will take about 1 minute at 20 second intervals. Stir.
  3. Add in the heavy cream and stir well. If using candy melts, the melts may seize up for a second–just keep stirring and add in a touch more heavy cream if needed.
  4. Now you can color your drip.
  5. If using white candy melts, use your drip right away, as these cool quickly.
  6. Click this wonderful link for more advice on making a drip for your cake!

STEP-BY-STEP TUTORIAL FOR STRAWBERRY SURPRISE CAKE

Completing the steps incrementally (and not all in one day) will save you loads of time!

  1. 1-3 days before: bake both the fresh strawberry cake and cheesecake, and freeze (recipes above).
  2. The day before: make the cream cheese frosting (double the recipe) strawberry jam (store-bought is also a great option), and simple white chocolate sprinkle bark (recipe above).
  3. The day of: assemble the cake (see video above). Make sure the cake layers and cheesecake are completely cooled (if they were stored in the freezer, allow them to sit on the counter for 20 minutes prior to stacking).
  4. Once the layers are stacked, add supports to the cake. Do this by measuring and inserting a large straw in the center and 3-4 other straws in the cake, as well (see photo below for guidance). This will add structure and will prevent your cake from leaning.
  5. Crumb coat the cake in a light layer of cream cheese frosting. Pop in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  6. Do the final coat of the cake in a layer of cream cheese frosting.
  7. Make the white chocolate ganache drip (see recipe above) and then drip onto your cake. If you’ve never done a drip on a cake before, use this video for guidance. I used a spoon to do my drip, but you can also use a squeeze bottle.
  8. Once the drip is complete, complete the decorations for your cake.
Photo courtesy of Chelsweets.com
Simple White Chocolate Sprinkle Bark
Made the cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday

Classic Raspberry Cheesecake

Hi friends. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and I’m super stoked to share some of my recent holiday-themed creations with you! I’m a sucker for all things red and pink during this week (#teacherproblems). Case in point, I went to the grocery store for cake ingredients, and left with every type of Valentine’s Day candies. I also found these amazing Lindt Lindor Valentine’s Strawberries and Cream White Chocolate Truffles. TALK ABOUT SCRUMPTIOUS.

So to celebrate my love for all things red and pink this week, I am sharing a favorite recipe with you: Classic Raspberry Cheesecake.

Before storing my recipes online, I kept all of them in a written journal. My family/friend-favorite cheesecake recipe somehow got lost between all our moves (darn), so I scoured the internet until I found one very similar to the one I’ve been making for years. Let’s just say, I was ECSTATIC this recipe turned out DELICIOUS and picture-perfect.

Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Thank you Olivia from Olivia’s Cuisine for this recipe.

P.S. I would LOVE to keep in touch! Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest to stay up to date with my posts! If you end up making one of my recipes, I would love to see it! Just take a photo, post it, and tag me @saltanddough

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 12 Honey Graham Cracker rectangles
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

For the Cheesecake:

  • 4 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Raspberry Sauce:

  • 2 pints raspberry
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

Making the Crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with a rack in the middle-lower part of your oven.
  2. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter.
  3. Wrap the pan in foil, making sure the bottom is completely covered. Reserve.
  4. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor until finely crumbed.
  5. Mix the crumbs and the melted butter until it resembles wet sand. Transfer that mixture to the springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom.
  6. Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes or until it starts to brown slightly. Take it off from oven and let it cool.

Making the Cheesecake:

  1. Beat the cream cheese, the sour cream, the sugar, the cornstarch, the salt, the lemon juice and the vanilla extract until creamy and without any lumps, about 5 minutes on medium speed (this is key to making a smooth cheesecake). Make sure you give it some extra love with a spatula, so everything gets incorporated!
  2. Mix the eggs, one at a time, over low speed, just until blended. The mixture should be creamy and silky.
  3. Pour the batter over the cooled crust.
  4. Set the springform pan – still wrapped in foil – in a baking dish. Fill it with enough boiling water to cover 2 inches of the bottom of the pan. Bring the whole set to the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until the outside looks slightly puffed but the center is still jiggly.
  5. Once cheesecake is done, turn off the oven but keep the cheesecake in there, cooling for at least one hour with the oven door slightly open.
  6. After one hour, transfer cheesecake to a wire rack and let it cool completely before transferring it to the fridge.
  7. Chill the cheesecake overnight, uncovered. (OR IN THE FRIDGE FOR A FEW HOURS.)
  8. Before serving, let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
  9. Unmold the cake, transfer to a serving dish and top it with the sauce.

Making the Raspberry Sauce:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook for about 10 minutes or until the raspberries are broken down. If desired, pass the sauce through a strainer to remove seeds.
  2. Let it cool and serve over your cheesecake. If desired, decorate the top of the cheesecake with some fresh raspberries.