My first day of summer essentials: a chilled bottle of rosé, a load of fresh strawberries, and plenty of soft sunshine. All of which would ideally be enjoyed from a well-cushioned porch swing looking out onto lush green things.

Given that I'm writing this from my windowless office and I don't even have access to that kind of porch... the ideal probably isn't happening this year. But I do have the essentials--all wrapped up within a pretty-in-pink layer cake. #blessed

If you find yourself looking for a something special type of recipe for some celebratory occasion this summer (bridal shower, birthday party, Saturday), let the search stop here. This cake is a nod to a few of my favorite summer things, and because rosé is clearly very important to summer living, I have incorporated the lovely blush elixir in as many ways as humanly possible. The layers contain a puree of rosé-saturated strawberries, they are brushed with a rosé simple syrup after baking, are frosted with a rosé buttercream, and are ultimately topped off with more rosé-soaked strawberries.

And if your wondering where the sunshine comes in... well, it's metaphorical. But we're talking about a 3-story strawberry cake that's drenched in rosé. I think I can say it's full of sunshine and love and whatever the hell else I want. It's rosé all day in cake form, for crying out loud.

A couple of things to note about this recipe:

-Yes, it's long. But I promise, the recipe isn't arduous. It comes together easily and does not require any special pastry prowess to pull off. This is a fairly low impact route to delivering something extra special for a special occasion.

-If you live for frosting, you may want to double the buttercream component of the recipe. Personally, I am a fan of a lightly frosted cake. I left enough frosting after filling the layers to swipe a light crumb coat around the exterior of the cake, because I dig that sort of look--but you can certainly just keep the frosting in between the layers for a fully "naked" cake aesthetic.

-You should certainly pour yourself a glass or two of rosé while making this cake. And another while eating it. I believe this to be a part of the experience.

Rosé Syrup2 cups rosé wine1 cup granulated sugar

Cake Layers1 cup fresh sliced strawberries1/2 cup rosé wineBaking spray1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature7 large egg whites, at room temperature2 large egg yolks, at room temperature2 tsp. vanilla extract3 cups unbleached cake flour (about 123/4 oz.)6 tsp. baking powder1 tsp. salt2 cups granulated sugar18 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

Rosé Buttercream3 cups sifted powdered sugar16 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened1/2 tsp. salt1/3 cup rosé syrup1 Tbsp. rosé wine

Garnish3 cups fresh strawberries, halved1/4 cup rosé wine2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

  1. To make syrup, combine rosé and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until mixture is syrupy and reduced by about 1/3. Set aside until ready to
  2. To make cake layers, combine strawberries and rose in a small bowl; let stand 30 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender; process until smooth.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 3 (9-inch) round baking pans with baking spray; line bottom of each pan with parchment paper rounds. Spray parchment paper with baking spray; lightly flour each pan.
  4. Combine strawberry puree, milk, egg whites, egg yolks, and vanilla in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until combined; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk; set aside. Combine sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; mix at medium speed until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add 1/2 of flour mixture to sugar mixture in bowl; mix at medium-low speed until combined. Add all of strawberry liquid mixture to bowl; mix at medium-low speed until combined. Add remaining flour mixture to bowl; mix at medium-low speed until just combined. Divide batter evenly between 3 prepared pans, smoothing tops with a rubber spatula. Bake at 350° in center of oven for 25 minutes or until skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, rotating pans halfway through baking.
  6. Let cakes stand in pans 5 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edge of pans to loosen; invert cakes onto parchment paper-lined wire racks. Prick surface of cake layers all over with a wooden skewer; brush layers evenly with about 3/4 cup rose syrup. Let cakes cool completely.
  7. To make frosting, combine powdered sugar, butter, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment; mix at medium-low speed until combined. Increase speed and beat until fluffy. With mixer running, slowly stream in 1/3 cup rosé syrup; mix until combined. Add 1 Tbsp. rosé, mixing until combined.
  8. To assemble cake and garnish, combine strawberries, rosé, and sugar in a medium bowl; let stand 20 to 30 minutes. Trim cooled cake layers. Stack cake layers, spreading frosting evenly between layers. Frost top and sides of cake, if desired. Gently spoon strawberries on top of cake. Slice as desired.
By Darcy Lenz and Darcy Lenz