By Rachel Bertone
When Karen Norton of Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee, was asked if she knew that her Strawberry Sheet Cake recipe had gone viral, the baker and caterer says she was shocked to hear the news.
“I had no idea that it had become so popular,” says Norton. “I was very surprised.”
Norton’s delicious Strawberry Sheet Cake recipe became an overnight success after it was picked up by a blog called Inspired by Charm. Since it was first posted on our sister site, farmflavor.com, it has received more than 250,000 page views, has 77 comments and has been shared 75,000 times on Pinterest alone.
Norton says it’s a very good cake, but she was surprised because it is a classic recipe, and she thought people would have heard of it by now. She adapted the recipe from one her sister had given her more than 20 years ago. In fact, many people say they were attracted to the recipe because it reminded them of strawberry cakes they had enjoyed as children.
“I think what makes a difference in my recipe is that I don’t use a boxed cake mix,” says Norton. “I developed a basic white cake base that I use instead of boxed cake mix.” She says you can also use a plain yellow cake base.
The recipe is still the most popular cake Norton serves as part of her catering menu. “I have had people ask about the recipe,” she says. “It is still my best seller.”
Norton has done variations of the popular cake including cupcakes and mini cupcakes, which are often popular at weddings or big parties. She says the only difference in the recipe for these smaller versions is the omission of whole strawberries from the icing.
“I only use the strawberry juice in the icing for the mini ones,” says Norton. “If you use whole strawberries, they break down and the icing becomes too runny to stand up on a small cake.”
She cautions that is something to remember when making a normal size cake as well. “It’s hard to write in a recipe not to use too many strawberries,” Norton says. “But the best thing to remember is to add a little, keep mixing, then you can always add more. It’s a very liquidy cake, but it won’t work if you use too many strawberries to begin with.”