Strawberry Pop-Tart Cake

I contribute footage of a few cakes each month to the Food Network, to share across their social channels. This strawberry Pop-Tart-inspired cake was definitely my favorite one this month, and it was so fun I wanted to share the recipe.

The best part of this cake? The adorable mini strawberry Pop-Tarts used to decorate the base of the cake. The good news is that they’re just as simple to make as they are cute.

They’re made using store bought pie crusts, strawberry jam, an egg wash, and some colorful buttercream and sprinkles. If you wanted to fully make them from scratch, you totally can! But since cakes are already such a labor of love, I like to not get too crazy with the decorations.

poptart supplies

This cake is made with my tried and true layer cake and buttercream recipe, plus some strawberry jam and pink gel food coloring, for good measure. The recipes used include:

  • 1 batch of my layer cake recipe (used to bake 4, 7-inch cake layers) + pink gel food coloring to create swirled layers
  • 1.5 batches of my american buttercream
  • 1 jar of your favorite strawberry jam (for both the mini Pop-Tarts filling and cake filling)
  • 1 package of ready-made pie crust + 1 egg (to create mini Pop-Tarts)

Begin by making the cake layers and buttercream, as directed in the above recipes. The layers will take a bit of time to bake and cool, so I recommend making them first (or even a day in advance).

Next, begin to prepare the mini Pop-Tarts. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out one of the pie crusts. use a ruler and knife to score the dough to create rectangles that are 1 inch by 1.25 inches.

adding lines to pastry dough

Put about 1/2 a cup of strawberry jam into a piping bag, and cut a small opening (less than 1 cm). Carefully pipe a thin line of filling into the center of each rectangle.

While you may be tempted to add a ton of filling to each little Pop-Tart, do be warned that it will make the crimping process much more challenging, and that the extra filling will likely ooze out the sides of the Pop-Tarts as they bake. A few of mine were overfilled, and they definitely weren’t a pretty picture coming out of the oven (don’t say I didn’t warn you :P)

piping on filling

Next, unroll the second pie crust, and place on top of the jam lined pie crust. Carefully use your ruler to remark the rectangles (you can see the jam through the pie crust, and use it as a guide). Use a pastry cutter and ruler to cut out the rectangles.

cutting mini poptarts

Carefully lift each Pop-Tart (the pieces will slide a bit due to the filling), and crimp the sides using a fork. Also poke a few holes on top of each one, to help them rise and allow air to escape as they bake.

I had a mini fork on hand (long story, but it’s from making little mermaid cupcakes ages ago…), which worked perfectly for this! if you don’t have one, use the smallest fork you have.

crimped all poptarts

Transfer the Pop-Tarts onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Beat together one egg and 1 tbsp of milk, and use a pastry brush to paint a thin layer of egg wash onto each Pop-Tart. Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown.

I was convinced these would bake up much fast, but it took some time for them to become golden brown, and baked through. Slide the parchment paper onto a cooling rack, and allow the Pop-Tarts to cool (at least 30 minutes).

baked poptarts

Once they fully cooled, pipe buttercream onto each Pop-Tart, and top with sprinkles of your choice.

I colored a tiny but of my buttercream light and hot pink, and piped the different colors onto my Pop-Tarts. I also chose to use hot pink sanding sugar as my sprinkles.

poptart frosting

Once the Pop-tarts are ready, it’s time to assemble the cake.Β Smooth a thin layer of buttercream on top of each layer. Pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream around the edge of the layer to create a frosting dam, then spread a layer of strawberry jam inside the vanilla frosting.

adding jam between cake layers

Repeat this process with all remaining cake layers.Β Cover the cake in a thin layer of vanilla frosting (crumb coat) to trap any run-away crumbs. Chill the cake in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes, until the buttercream is firm to the touch.

Next, add a thicker, second layer of vanilla buttercream. Use a bench scraper to smooth the sides of the cake. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sidesΒ here. Use a small offset spatula to smooth the top of the cake.

Pipe a bit of buttercream onto the back of each Pop-tart, then gently press it against the base of the cake. Repeat this process, alternating the colored Pop-Tarts, until the entire base is covered.

adding poptarts to base of cake

Color the remaining buttercream pink using gel food coloring, and pipe a boarder around the top of the cake using your favorite frosting tip (I used a Wilton 1M).

piping on boarded

If desired, add a pink sprinkle blend to the top of the cake, around the boarder. I love using Neon Yolk sprinkle blends! They make the cutest blends, and use them on my cakes whenever I can.

finished cake from the top

Then it’s time to cut into the cake and try it! I am a sucker for anything with strawberry jam, so I loved this cake. I also could not stop eating the leftover Pop-Tarts! They were addicting.

finished cake v4

This cake feeds between 16-20 people, so be sure you have lots of family or friends over (or in my case, coworkers!) to help eat it πŸ™‚

sliced cake v2 copy

The Ultimate Breakfast Cake

One of my favorite things about the East Coast is diners! There are tons of old-school diners, complete with bottomless coffee and a 15 page menu. It has become one of my favorite weekend activities, and is also the inspiration for this cake. It’s made with maple cake layers, a maple buttercream, and even has a maple caramel drizzle! To decorate the top, I also added real mini pancakes, candied bacon, and some fondant fried eggs. You can watch a full tutorial showing how to decorate this cake here:

The recipes can be found below:

Recipes:

1 batch vanilla cake batter + 1 Tbsp maple extract (I get mine at Whole Foods)

1.5 batches buttercream frostingΒ + 1 Tbsp maple extract

1 batch caramel + 1 tsp maple extract

Decorations:

  • 2 fondant fried eggs (made out of yellow and white fondant, with edges painted brown using gel food coloring and vodka)
  • candied bacon (8-10 strips of bacon, sprinkled with brown sugar and tiny bit of cayenne pepper; baked at 400 degree F for about 20 minutes)
  • 5 mini pancakes (about 2.5 inches in diameter, made with pancake mix)
  • 1 pat of butter
  • chocolate ganache

Use the cake recipe to make four, 8-inch cake layers. Chill the layers in the freezer once baked and cooled, to make them easier to frost (I wrap my layers in saran wrap, and freeze them overnight, then allow them the sit out for about 20 minutes before frosting). Once the buttercream and caramel are prepared, Β assemble the cake. Spread an even layer of buttercream onto each cake layer, and drizzle maple caramel over the entire layer on top of the frosting. Stack and repeat using remaining layers, flipping the top cake layer upside down (makes it easier to frost). Β Apply a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake (crumb coat), and chill the cake for about 5 minutes in the fridge or freezer. Once the frosting is firm to the touch, apply a second, thicker layer of frosting and smooth using a bench scraper. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here.

Once frosted, begin decorating the cake by adding the hash brown boarder. Coat the sides of a frosting bag with chocolate ganache, and then fill with leftover buttercream.

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Cut a small opening at the tip (1/4 inch), and pipe 1 inch lines in various directions around the base of the cake. The frosting should be streaked with the ganache giving it the look of browned hash browns.

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Next, stack the mini pancakes on top of each other, and secure using a small skewer. Slice the candied bacon strips in half, and pile next to the pancakes. Add the fondant eggs to the remaining space on top of the cake.

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Drizzle caramel over pancake stack and down the sides of the cake. Top the pancake stack with a pat of butter, then slice in and enjoy!!!

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