Recipe courtesy of Millie Peartree

Texas Strawberry Crunch Sheet Cake

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 12 servings
Food and drink are an important part of independence celebrations all over the world. Juneteenth is all about community, fellowship and the cookout is an essential part of that. Family and friends come together to celebrate and partake in red foods and drinks that some view as symbols of sacrifice and suffering and others embrace as signs of resilience and joy. This delicate cake is inspired by Texas sheet cake, substituting chocolate cake for strawberry cake and chocolate ganache for chantilly cream. The strawberry purée is a perfect way to use up slightly overripe strawberries and the strawberry cookie crunch topping adds a nostalgic feel and extra texture to this center-of-the-table cake.

Ingredients

Strawberry Cake:

Whipped Cream:

Strawberry Shortcake Topping:

Directions

  1. For the strawberry cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper, allowing the parchment to hang over the sides. Lightly coat the parchment with cooking spray.
  2. Put 8 ounces of the strawberries in a blender and process until pureed; you should have 1 cup. Set aside.
  3. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through.
  5. Add the eggs, one at the time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl until the batter is completely combined, smooth and creamy. 
  6. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the strawberry purée, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  7. Add the vanilla and mix until combined, making sure not to overmix. Add a few drops of the pink food coloring if using until you reach the desired color. Chop the remaining 8 ounces strawberries; you should have 1 cup. Fold the chopped strawberries into the batter.
  8. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes (see Cook’s Note).
  9. Allow the cake to cool slightly in the pan before inverting it on a wire rack or serving dish. Remove the parchment and allow to cool completely, 30 to 35 minutes.
  10. For the whipped cream: Add the gelatin to the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk by hand until fully dissolved. Beat the heavy cream mixture in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on low speed. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar until combined. Increase to medium high speed and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla until combined.
  11. For the strawberry shortcake topping: The cookies and wafers each have different textures, so they need to be processed one at a time. Pulse the spiced biscuit cookies in a food processor until crushed, then transfer to a plate. Pulse the strawberry crème-filled sandwich cookies and transfer to the same plate. Pulse the strawberry-flavored wafer cookies, transfer to the plate and mix together the cookie crumbs.
  12. Spread the whipped cream on top of the cake, then sprinkle generously with the strawberry shortcake topping (see Cook’s Note). Slice and serve.

Cook’s Note

Using unflavored gelatin helps stabilize the whipped cream. If desired, substitute with 3 ounces of flavored gelatin or instant pudding mix. If substituting, use only 1 3//4 cups of confectioners’ sugar. If using a disposable aluminum baking pan, the cook time will be closer to 40 minutes. The strawberry shortcake topping can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 weeks and use as a topping for parfaits, ice cream, pancakes or waffles.