“Lindsey?” I asked, “How do you feel about decorating cakes?”
The next day I stopped by Lindsey’s house with 5 layers of cake, 10 lbs of frosting and instructions on how to construct and decorate a castle cake. I assured her that anything she did was going to be fabulous because it meant that I didn’t have to do it.
On Saturday morning, on our way to Chuck E Cheese's with a car-full of 6-year-old girls, I dropped by to pick up the cake. When Lindsey brought it out to me, I was overcome with emotion. Seriously I almost cried. The cake was amazing.
She went way beyond what I had requested and I knew this was just the cake that Ren had requested for her birthday. She was going to be thrilled. As I carried the cake to the car, my heart swelled up with all those squishy feelings you get when you know you are loved and you are reminded that the world may not be as cold a place as the news wants you to think it is.
Thanks Lindsey, everyone loved the cake and all the other Chuck E Cheese's patrons couldn’t stop looking at it and making delightful comments about how amazing it was.
The cake recipe comes from Confections of a Foodie Bride and let me just tell you, when it comes to cakes, I think I’ll go to her first. I’ve tried her carrot cake, her vanilla bean cake and now her real strawberry cake and all of them are so delicious. Careful on this strawberry cake though, the lines that define the doneness of the cake are quite fine. If you follow the toothpick test instead of the “this looks about right” method for determining if a cake is done, your cake will turn out perfectly. If you can find someone to decorate it for you…then it will be even better!
Strawberry Cake from Scratch
Makes: 2, 8-inch cakes
½ lb very ripe fresh strawberries, hulled (24 ounces if using frozen)
1-2 tsp sugar (optional)
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
4 eggs (6 large egg whites, room temperature- original recipe)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened (not melted)
¼ cup rainbow sprinkles (optional if making funfetti style)
- If using frozen strawberries, thaw them in a fine strainer over a bowl and let them sit. Occasionally, lightly toss the strawberries to remove any pockets of excess liquid. Reserve the liquid for the filling between the cakes.
- If using fresh strawberries, hull and slice them and place them in a bowl. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar and let them set at room temperature for a couple of hours until they are nice and juicy.
- Place strawberries in a food processor or blender and puree.
- Reserve 3/4 cup puree for the cake. Use leftover puree to flavor the frosting and the juices to make a preserve filling.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8 inch pans: grease, lay a piece of wax paper cut to the size of the bottom of the pan into the pan, grease again then dust with flour.
- In small bowl, combine puree, milk, eggs, vanilla and mix with fork until well blended.
- In bowl of stand mixer, add sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. Continue beating at slow speed and add butter. Mix until combined and resembling moist crumbs.
- Add liquids and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute or until full and evenly combined. Stop mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl and hand beat for 30 more seconds. Fold in the sprinkles if using then divide the batter evenly among the pans and smooth tops.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (time will vary). Let cakes rest in pan for about 10 minutes and turn out onto wire racks. Let cakes cool completely before stacking & frosting. (about 2 hours).
Source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Covers 12 cupcakes, or 1, 8-inch round 2-layed cake
½ cup butter
8 oz cream cheese
¼ cup strawberry puree or strawberry preserves
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1. Cream together butter & cream cheese. Mix in puree until combined. Add in powdered sugar until you reach desired spreading consistency.
Source: Adapted from Wilton
Makes: 2 cups
1 pkg (16 ounces) frozen sliced strawberries, packed in sugar and thawed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1. Drain strawberries; reserving liquid. Add enough water to liquid to equal 1 1/4 cups.
2. In large saucepan, combine strawberry liquid, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice; mix well. Heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Cool completely.
3. Stir remaining strawberries into the cooled mixture (if using).
2. Refrigerate until ready to use. Fill cupcakes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.