White Chocolate Cake w/ Strawberries

My mom subscribed to Sunset and Bon Appetit magazines for years (back in the seventies and eighties), and was inspired to make fancy cakes like this, found among the pages. I made the cake again, some fifteen or more years ago, for our oldest son’s birthday. I guess it made quite an impression–he recently asked if I could make it again. I had to do some serious file-digging to turn it up, but I found it. We really enjoyed this birthday cake!

White Cake with Poppy Seeds, White Chocolate, StrawberriesI originally made this cake with cake flour. Well, I don’t make too many cakes, so the next time I went to use it, ew–it had bugs in it! So…I’m much happier with the alternative: using less regular flour and adding a bit of cornstarch. That brings the protein level to that of cake flour, and makes quite a light cake in the process.

Serves 12 or so.


  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. corn starch
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. sugar (.96 lb.)
  • 1 c. butter (.50 lb.)
  • 1 TBS. lemon peel
  • 4 large eggs
  • Scant 2 TBS. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. room-temperature buttermilk
  • 2 TBS. poppy seeds


  • 3/4 c. sugar (.37 lb.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 TBS. lemon juice
  • 8 oz. white chocolate, chopped
  • 3 c. cream, whipped
  • 2 pt. fresh strawberries
  • Optional: White chocolate curls or leaves*

Use 10″ spring form pan; line the bottom with a circle of buttered wax paper.

Mix and set aside: > 2 1/2 c. flour > 1/3 c. corn starch > 2 tsp. baking powder > 1/2 tsp. baking soda > 1/2 tsp. salt

In stand mixer, beat until light: > 2 c. sugar > 1 c. butter

Add one at a time: > 4 large eggs

Also add: > scant 2 TBS. lemon juice > 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Add alternately: > dry ingredients > 1 c. room-temp. buttermilk > 2 TBS. poppy seeds

Bake 50-60 minutes at 375 degrees, until toothpick comes out clean.

White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

The sugar-lemon-egg mixture can be done pretty quickly in the microwave, or use a double-boiler. First, heat sugar and lemon juice until bubbly: > 3/4 c. sugar (.37 lb.) > 3 TBS. lemon juice

In a separate bowl, beat well: > 2 eggs

Pour the hot sugar-lemon mix into the beaten eggs, stirring well.

Microwave about three times, at about 11 seconds per time, stirring well afterward, until mixture thickens. Or, stir constantly while heating gently in a double boiler until thickened.

When eggs have thickened the mix, add: > 8 oz. white chocolate, chopped

Stir until chocolate’s incorporated, then let cool.

Fold cooled mixture into the following: > 3 c. cream, whipped

Cut cake into 3 layers, using buttercream and strawberry halves between layers. Optional—garnish with: > White chocolate curls or leaves, plus any additional strawberries

* If cake flour is on hand, use 3 c. cake flour, sifted (.75 lb.), omitting the all-purpose flour and the corn starch

* For chocolate leaves, microwave a half cup or more of chocolate for a minute or so, until melted when stirred. Then, paint the undersides of lemon leaves with the chocolate; refrigerate on wax paper until firm. Gently peel leaf away from chocolate.

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