Saturday, August 11, 2012

Strawberry Cake

I am dusting off my blog!  It’s funny how life gets crazy and the time just flies.  I can’t believe I haven’t posted since last November. A few friends have been nudging me about my lack of food and photos but I promise this perfect summer recipe makes up for it! 
My buddies Bruce and Milan each promised they would make whatever I posted so I chose this layer cake.  We'll see if they actually do it!  If they do, they owe me proof and I will post it here.  That's right, one cake per person, no teaming up.  I can't promise it will be pretty.  Part of me just enjoys the idea of forcing men to make a pink cake.

As for the history of this recipe, I found it while leafing through a magazine the week after I got married.  Four years ago.  I can’t believe it’s been four years.  I feel like it’s been six months.  But that’s good, right?
Anyway, the recipe looked yummy.  It was a Paula Deen recipe, after all.  So I tried it.

And then I shamelessly made it every week for the next 5 weeks.

No, we didn’t share with anyone.

It was the greatest summer ever.

My husband asks for this cake every year for his birthday and my brother in law is now a convert, too.  I may or may not be implying how picky they can be in that last statement. (love you guys!)

This beauty is easy to make, totally moist and delicious, and with the few minor tweaks I made it may be the best strawberry cake out there.  Did I mention the frosting is strawberry cream cheese frosting?  Yeah.  Come get some.

Strawberry Cake
(adapted from Paula Deen)

1 Box White Cake Mix (Please note, all the major manufacturers of cake mixes changed their quantity from 18 ounces to ~16.  Nice, huh? I used a Duncan Hines Supreme cake (as pictured above) which is a little over 18 ounces.  If you can't find that, I would make sure to increase the bake time a bit as the batter will be a bit more moist)
3 oz box strawberry jell-o
10 oz. package strawberries in syrup - thawed and pureed
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup pureed strawberries in syrup 
5 cups powdered sugar (this is personal preference - the original recipe called for 7 cups.  It's pretty rich at that point.  I used about 5 cups here, but 7 (if you don't think it's too sweet) will give you a firmer frosting.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly grease 2 9-inch cake pans.  Combine cake mix and jell-o.  Add the eggs, strawberry puree, vegetable oil, and water.  Beat until smooth - about 3 minutes.  Bake for about 25 minutes.  The cakes should be springy and a toothpick will come out clean.  Cool in the cake pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. 

As hard as it may be, you must resist frosting this cake until it is completely cool!  To prepare the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Add the strawberry puree and beat again.  Add in the powdered sugar a cup or so at time to reach desired sweetness.  I end up using ~5 cups.

Frost and eat.  Yum.   The original recipe says you can double the cake and frosting recipe if you want a 3 layer cake - I wouldn't do it.  The cake is too dense and springy and it would be tough to get it to stack correctly.  After making this as a two layer cake I think I like it as a sheet cake better.  This is a dense cake so it's a bit harder to manage.  The sheet cake is so easy,  you could do it in a sheet pan or a 9x13, frost it, top it with more strawberries and it would still be fabulous.


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