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Strawberry Vanilla Pudding Cake

by Lily
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A soft, vanilla cake bottom layered with creamy vanilla pudding, topped with fresh cut strawberries and finished with a glossy, sweetened, red glaze. It is a delicious dessert also known as “Erdbeerkuchen” and is a common cake made in Germany.

I grew up with a lot of traditional German dessert made by my Mom or gifted to us by family friends. One of my favourite cake is called “Obstkuchen” (Fruit cake) and is a simple, light vanilla cake that can be spread with vanilla pudding or chocolate such as Nutella and topped with fresh fruit such as peach, kiwi, strawberries and blackberries. As a finishing touch, clear sweet glaze (Tortenguss) is poured over the entire cake to seal in freshness.

The cake is usually baked in a “Tortenboden Backform” (Cake Bottom Baking Pan) and looks similar to a tart form except, the center is raised by about 2 cm. This is so that once the cake is baked, you flip it over and it creates a nice indentation for you to be able to add filling.  A subtle sweet dessert that is easy to make and refreshing to enjoy! With this concept, you can make a fruit cake with any fruit filling to your liking. For this post, we are making a strawberry cake with vanilla pudding that is sealed with a sweetened, red glaze for added colour. 

*Good To Know*

  • I do not have a German cake bottom pan, what should I use instead?
    Since you may not want to buy a German cake bottom pan just to make this recipe (also known as a flan or tart pan),  you can use a 10-inch spring form pan like I did. However, if you are interested in buying one, you can find it here.
  • Can I skip using red glaze?
    Yes you can. Other than taste, using glaze is a way to preserve fresh fruit on the cake for a couple days. If you plan to serve the cake to a crowd without left overs, you can omit the glaze. Alternatively, you can also use a clear glaze (if you don’t like red).
  • Can I use instant vanilla pudding mix or store-bought pudding instead of making one from scratch?
    I like to make my pudding from scratch for freshness and flavour. You can check out the recipe here: How to make Vanilla Pudding from scratch. Having said that, you can definitely use instant pudding mix or premade pudding if you want to save time.  Give yourself 1 to 2  hours of refrigeration time to chill the pudding if using instant vanilla pudding mix.
  • What is the difference between vanilla pudding and custard?
    While you may think that they are the same, the ingredient that makes them different is starch. Pudding requires a starch, such as cornstarch, to thicken its texture. Custard utilizes eggs as its main thickening agent. The texture is also softer in a pudding, whereas custard has a thicker or firmer texture. You can use either one for this recipe.
  • What other type of spreads can I use instead of pudding?
    A spread is a form of moisture barrier between the cake and fresh fruit. You can use jam, chocolate spread, peanut butter, almond butter, condensed milk, whipped cream, honey or any thickened spread you like to eat with your cake. You can even add crushed nuts such as peanuts, pecans or almonds instead of a sweetened spread.

Ingredients you’ll need

For the cake

  • eggs (room temperature)
  • cream of tartar (or lemon juice)
  • white sugar
  • 1 envelope vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
  • salt
  • all purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • cornstarch
  • unsalted butter (room temperature)

If making from scratch, for the vanilla pudding

  •  whole milk
  • 1 envelope vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
  • white sugar
  • egg yolks
  • cornstarch
  • salt

For the topping and glaze

  • fresh strawberries
  • 2 envelopes red glaze

From scratch Vanilla Pudding or Instant Mix?

Making pudding from scratch is always better but time does not always allow that. If you are interested in making it from scratch, you can get my printable recipe by clicking here.  If you are using instant vanilla pudding mix or store bought pudding, make sure you have at least 2 cups of pudding available for this strawberry cake recipe. If you choose to make pudding from a mix, make sure to give yourself at least 1 to 2 hours to chill the pudding. You can even make it the night before.

In place of vanilla pudding, you can use any thick spread such as nutella, peanut butter, jam, almond butter, condensed milk, whipped cream, or honey etc. It is ideal to use a spread to create a moisture barrier between the cake and the fresh fruit. 

How to prepare the cake pan 

One of my favourite cake pan release methods (aka. cake goop) that I use on my cake pans is to brush it with unsalted butter then I add about 3 Tablespoons of flour and tap the flour to cover all of the pan’s surface. Excess flour is then tapped out and voila, you have created a cake pan release that makes it much easier to remove your cake once baked. No fiddling with parchment paper or cutting it to size and the cake will bake with a smooth surface (no indentation marks from the parchment paper).

For this recipe, use a nonstick 10-inch springform pan and only brush the bottom of the cake pan with softened, unsalted butter (without touching the sides), add 3 Tablespoons of all purpose flour and tap the flour around until you have covered the entire bottom surface. Flip the pan over and tap out excess flour into a bowl (save it for later use). So why just the bottom of the pan? This cake recipe is light and airy in texture and needs to have the ability to rise as much as it can. If you brush the pan’s sides with butter, it will prevent it from rising higher due to the grease.

How to make “Tortenboden” (Cake bottom)

An hour before you start, you will need a few ingredients to come to room temperature. Start by carefully separating egg yolks from whites into different bowls. Use cold eggs since that will make it easier to separate the yolk from the egg white. Cover the egg yolk and egg white bowls with plastic wrap by removing excess air to prevent it from drying on the surface. Set aside and allow eggs to warm to room temperature. Next, measure or weigh unsalted butter and set aside to warm to room temperature.  Alternatively, if your microwave has a “melt/ soften” feature, you can speed up the process and soften butter in the microwave. Make sure to watch this closely so you do not turn the butter into liquid.

Next, to create a nice, soft cake bottom, we are going to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks that we will fold into the batter later. At this point, it is also good to start preheating your oven to 350°F (177°C ). Make sure your oven rack is positioned to the middle of the oven.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip egg whites on high speed to soft peak. Make sure the bowl and whisk attachment are squeaky clean. Any tiny bit of grease or yolk will prevent your egg whites from doubling in size and you will have to start over with a new batch of egg whites.

“Whipping Egg Whites To Perfect Peaks” by Everyday Food with Thomas Joseph

You can check for soft peak consistency by lifting the whisk, flipping it over and if the tip of the lifted whites curl a bit, then you have achieved this stage. Add cream of tartar and continue to whip egg whites on high speed until stiff peak is reached. This time, when you lift the whisk attachment and flip it over, the tip of the lifted whites should be straight not curled. Set aside in a large bowl away from any heat source until we use it later to fold into our batter.

There is a great video tutorial by ‘Everyday Food’ with Thomas Joseph that explains this process in more detail. You can watch it here: https://bit.ly/3nGU7Kz

Tip

  • If you do not have cream of tartar, you can use fresh lemon juice on a 1:1 ratio.
  • Do not use lemon juice from a bottle as it is less acidic and may have other preservatives that will not help stiffen egg whites.

Now it is time to make the batter. In the bowl of your stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together egg yolks, white sugar, and vanilla sugar or extract on medium speed. This process should not be rushed, as you want to ensure all of the sugar is dissolved and the volume is doubled. Add the softened butter and mix until well combined.

In  a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and cornstarch. While mixer is on low speed, add 1/2 cup of flour at a time. Scrape down bowl in between mixing. Continue to do this until all of the flour is combined. Remove bowl from mixer and add half of the whipped egg whites to the batter. Use a spatula and fold egg whites together with batter. Do this until just combined. Add the remaining whipped egg whites and continue to fold until everything is just combined. Do not overmix the batter since we still want the egg whites to be fluffy so that our cake results in a soft texture. Pour batter into the springform pan, smooth out the surface with a spatula and tap the cake pan on your counter a few times to remove air bubbles. Bake the cake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Check doneness by inserting a wooden skewer or toothpick into the cake. If it comes out clean your cake is done. If some batter is still clinging to the skewer, bake the cake for another 5 minutes and check again. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

How to assemble the cake

The cake rose during baking and looks similar to a dome at this point. We want to trim the top off to create a levelled surface in order to add our filling. Remove the springform and use a serrated knife to cut an even layer off the top. You can use cake scraps to make cake pops if you want or just snack on it while you work. Who says you can’t eat on the job? 😉

Place the springform back to secure the cake. Stir the chilled vanilla pudding and pour it over the cake. Use a spatula to spread the pudding evenly. Next, decorate the cake by placing halved strawberries around the outer edge of the cake and working your way in until you get to the center.

Our final step is to make the red glaze. I used 2 envelopes of Dr. Oetker’s Red Glaze. Follow the package instructions to cook it and work quickly to pour the glaze over your cake since it starts to set within minutes. You can chill your cake for 30 minutes in the refrigerator or you can serve it immediately after the glaze has set. Left over cake will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container.

If you enjoyed my recipe, please leave a comment or rate it below.  Also don’t forget to follow me on my social media channels (YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram) to keep up with my latest kitchen shenanigans.

Strawberry Vanilla Pudding Cake (Erdbeerkuchen mit Vanillepudding)

A soft, vanilla cake bottom layered with creamy vanilla pudding, topped with fresh cut strawberries and finished with a glossy, sweetened, red glaze. It is a delicious dessert also known as "Erdbeerkuchen" and is a common cake made in Germany.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Yields: 12 slices

Ingredients

For the cake bottom

  • 5 large (250 g) eggs (room temperature), separated
  • ½ teaspoon (2 g) cream of tartar, or 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup (100 g) white sugar
  • 1 envelope (9 g) vanilla sugar, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (57 g) unsalted butter (room tempterature), softened
  • ½ cup (63 g) all purpose flour, scoop and scrape with the back of a knife for accurate measurement
  • cup (43 g) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (3 g) salt

For the vanilla pudding

  • 2 cups vanilla pudding*, chilled (*see notes for more info)

For the topping and glaze

  • 3 cups (432 g) fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled and halved
  • 2 envelopes (20 g) red glaze, Dr. Oetker brand

INSTRUCTIONS 

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F (177°C). Make sure oven rack is set to the middle shelf. Brush only the bottom of the springform pan with unsalted butter. Add 3 Tablespoons all purpose flour and tap flour around the pan to cover the entire surface area. Flip springform pan over and tap out excess flour.
  • In a clean bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip egg whites on high speed to soft peak. Add cream of tartar and continue to whip egg whites until stiff peak is achieved. Set whipped egg whites aside in a separate bowl.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together egg yolks, white sugar and vanilla sugar on medium speed until sugar is completely dissolved and yolk mix is doubled in volume (about 5 minutes). Add unsalted butter and mix until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, combine together all purpose flour, salt, baking powder and cornstarch. While mixer is on low speed, add 1/2 cup flour at a time. Scrape down bowl in between mixing. Mix on low speed until flour is just combined.
  • Remove bowl from mixer. Add half of the whipped egg whites into the batter and fold egg whites into batter until just combined. Add remaining egg whites and fold until just combined. Do not overmix the batter. Pour batter into springform pan and smooth out the surface with a spatula. Tap the cake pan on your counter a few times to remove air bubbles. Bake cake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Check doneness by inserting a wooden skewer or toothpick into the cake. If it comes out clean, your cake is done. If some batter is still clinging to the skewer, bake cake for another 5 minutes and check again. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  • If the cake has a dome shape in the center, remove springform and use a serrated knife to cut an even layer off the top. Place springform back to secure the cake. Stir the chilled vanilla and pour it over the cake. Use a spatula to spread it evenly. Next, decorate cake by placing halved strawberries in a single row around the edge of the cake. Continue to do this while working your way in until you get to the center.
  • Follow cooking instructions for the Red Glaze and use a ladle to pour glaze over the cake on scoop at a time. Work quickly as the glaze will set within minutes. After the glaze has set, you can serve it immediately or chill your cake for another 30 minute to 1 hour or until you're ready to serve it. Left over cake will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container.
Category: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Keyword: cake, strawberry, vanilla pudding

Tips

I do not have a German cake bottom pan, what should I use instead?
Since you may not want to buy a German cake bottom pan just to make this recipe (also known as a flan or tart pan),  you can use a 10-inch spring form pan like I did. However, if you are interested in buying one, you can find it here.
Can I skip using red glaze?

Yes you can. Other than taste, using glaze is a way to preserve fresh fruit on the cake for a couple days. If you plan to serve the cake to a crowd without left overs, you can omit the glaze. Alternatively, you can also use a clear glaze (if you don’t like red).
Can I use instant vanilla pudding mix or store-bought pudding instead of making one from scratch?

I like to make my pudding from scratch for freshness and flavour. You can check out the recipe here: How to make Vanilla Pudding from scratch. Having said that, you can definitely use instant pudding mix or premade pudding if you want to save time.  Give yourself 1 to 2  hours of refrigeration time to chill the pudding if using instant vanilla pudding mix.
What is the difference between vanilla pudding and custard?
While you may think that they are the same, the ingredient that makes them different is starch. Pudding requires a starch, such as cornstarch, to thicken its texture. Custard utilizes eggs as its main thickening agent. The texture is also softer in a pudding, whereas custard has a thicker or firmer texture. You can use either one for this recipe.
What other type of spreads can I use instead of pudding?
A spread is a form of moisture barrier between the cake and fresh fruit. You can use jam, chocolate spread, peanut butter, almond butter, condensed milk, whipped cream, honey or any thickened spread you like to eat with your cake. You can even add crushed nuts such as peanuts, pecans or almonds instead of a sweetened spread.
Nutrition Facts
Strawberry Vanilla Pudding Cake (Erdbeerkuchen mit Vanillepudding)
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 141 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 88mg29%
Sodium 199mg9%
Potassium 112mg3%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 235IU5%
Vitamin C 21mg25%
Calcium 59mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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