Prepare three 8-inch cake pans by buttering, flouring and lining with parchment paper.
Sift and combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) into a medium bowl and set aside
Combine milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree into a small bowl and set aside
Using a standing mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream butter, gelatin powder, and sugar together until light and fluffy - beating for at least 5 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined, scraping down bowl between each addition
Add the flour mixture in 4 increments and milk mixture in 3 increments, alternating between the two, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Do not overmix at this point - combine only enough to incorporate ingredients. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean and edges pull slightly away from cake pan. Can begin to test only after 20 minutes. Do NOT open oven before 20 minutes or your cake may fall.
For the frosting
Combine butter and shorting and beat on medium to low speed until combined
Add puree and extract and beat for another minute
Slowly add powdered sugar and beat on slow speed for 2 minutes
Add cream and beat for another minute
For the assembly
Frost cake as shown in photo, and use crumbs to garnish sides of cake
Top with candied strawberries if desired (they must be frozen because they do not hold up for very long after they are made)
Serve with vanilla ice cream
Recipe by Feeling Foodish at http://feelingfoodish.com/strawberry-cake/