Strawberry fillings in a cake can be a sure recipe for disaster.
Whenever I hear a story from another baker about cake layers sliding during delivery, it usually involves strawberries.
Whether it’s strawberries that have been sliced or strawberry preserves, a strawberry is a slippery little devil.
To keep your cake from sliding, there are a few things that you can make sure to do, and the first is to use fresh strawberries instead of preserves if it’s at all possible.
Avoid strawberry preserves or thick filling.
First, never use that strawberry-sleeved filling stuff. Or any sleeved filling for that matter, but that’s another issue.
The strawberry-sleeved filling is seriously slimy and can let the layers shift.
People tend to make a dam of icing around the layer, then they put a thick layer of the sleeved filling on the cake.
This will only end up with a layer of potential sliding, because the sleeved fillings are basically goo, and there’s nothing to grip the cake or prevent the layers from shifting.
Next, if you use preserves, do a THIN layer. Strawberry preserves is a lot of jelly and mashed fruit and too much will also be slippery.
I used to use strawberry preserves, but only preserves, not jelly. They’re different, and the preserves that have fruit in them have more body to them.
I also did a thin layer to prevent making the layers slide when they’re stacked.
For an article about making fruit reductions with a crock pot, click here. This is a good way to get a highly-concentrated flavor for your cakes and icings.
How to use fresh strawberries inside a cake.
When you put fresh strawberries inside a cake, the juice from the berries can leak into the cake and soften it up, which can then make the cake structure break down.
When I do sliced fresh strawberries inside a cake, I start with one layer of strawberry buttercream as a waterproofing method.
The buttercream will prevent any juice in the berries from soaking into the cake.
After icing the layer, put a layer of sliced berries on the icing and press it into the surface to stick them in there.
I use a strawberry slicer to get even layers.
(For an article about whether you need to use food coloring in fruit-flavored cakes, click here.)
Finally, take more buttercream and use it like grout in the cracks between the berries.
You want the surface to be flat so that the berries are stuck in there and the top layer sticks to the icing, not the berries.
That will help hold it in place and keep it from slithering away.
For a recipe to make lemon curd cake filling, click here.
Once that’s done you can put the top layer on and ice the cake.
The berries won’t shift around and it will be highly unlikely that your cake will do a slider.
Taking a few precautions will keep your cake’s structure intact, and you won’t end up with a disaster when you deliver it!