Friday, September 9, 2011

Strawberry Cake

I remember first having this super-moist strawberry cake at a women's retreat.  It was made in a loaf pan and sliced.  It was outstanding! (And it wasn't even adorned with frosting.)  It was delicious.  I tracked down who made it and the baker immediately wrote the recipe down on a little spiral notebook page by memory, tore the page out and handed it to me.  It quickly became a favorite.  I then started making it topped with strawberry cream cheese frosting, because why would I not.  Oh my, is it good!  Then again, what isn't good with cream cheese frosting.

And then I made them as cupcakes, because everybody loves a cupcake.  And I actually think they work better as cupcakes, because the frosting doesn't have much body to it and sometimes pours down the cake making a sloppy and not-so-perfect-looking cake.

So when it was my son's 4th birthday and I asked what kind of cake he wanted and he said, "I would like a Batman strawberry cake."  I giggled thinking about my very active, boyish boy with a pretty pink cake.  I began trying to figure out how to honor the batman theme and not compromise the yumminess of the strawberry cream cheese frosting.  I ended up making a layered cake, covered in pretty pink cream cheese frosting, topped with a Batman-occupied-Batmobile toy placed on top with a "Happy Birthday Asher" paper banner extending from the vehicle.  Somehow it worked.  It was boy enough and yummy.

He is 9 now and this remains his most requested birthday cake.  I love that.  This year was his GOLDEN birthday- turning 9 on his birthday, the 9th.  (Golden birthdays are a new concept to me...I missed mine about 30 years ago).  He requested... "a strawberry cake...of course"! Here's the cake.



This cake is also a favorite of my girls, though Lainey is now really more into red velvet cake (like father/ like daughter).
at Lainey's 4th birthday party





We had these for Lucy's 3rd birthday, last year, and my sister made these adorable ballerina toppers with paper, lollipop sticks and tulle netting.  Aren't they fun!?







A few years ago I made the strawberry cupcakes for a baby shower and my friend, Jessica, who was at the shower loved them and has been talking about them ever since.  In fact, she has been asking me since I started this blog, when I was going to post these cupcakes.  It just hasn't been the right time, I've had so many other seasonal things I've wanted to write about.  But when Jessica had a baby a couple of months ago and I took a meal to her, she requested the cupcakes and I made them to celebrate the arrival of her sweet baby girl! I took photos this time so I could finally post the process!

[The cake begins with a white cake mix.  Have you ever used the Cake Mix Doctor cookbook?  All the recipes in the book begin with a cake mix, and are then ramped up with a bunch of other ingredients.  A recipe similar to this is found in that cookbook.  The author, Anne Byrn and I agree that homemade frosting is key! ]

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting


The Strawberry Cake

1 pkg. plain white cake mix
1 pkg. (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin
1 cup mashed strawberries (1½  cups whole berries)
1 cup canola oil
½ cup milk
4 large eggs

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease, and dust with flour, three 8-inch or two 9-inch cake pans (or line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners).  

In a large mixing bowl, place cake mix, strawberry gelatin, mashed strawberries and juice, oil, milk and eggs and blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.  Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.  Divide batter among the pans (or muffin tins) and place in the oven.

Bake the cakes until they are light brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean – 25-28 minutes for cake – less for cupcakes (more like 18-20 minutes). Remove from oven, place on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan.  Allow them to cool completely, 30 minutes more. 

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.

Dave's favorite part...a container of leftover frosting in the fridge 
 
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
4 cups (or more) confectioner’s sugar
¾ cup strawberries, mashed into ½ cup, drained well!

Combine cream cheese and butter in mixer and blend until smooth and well incorporated.  Add sugar and strawberries.  Blend together, on low, until fully incorporated.  Increase speed to medium and blend for another minute.  Add more confectioner’s sugar as needed to thicken.

Frost cooled cakes. Gobble them up! 
(Actually, if you can resist, I  think they taste better day 2, as the frosting and the cake have a chance to “marry”.)




A cake that can equally thrill and honor a 9 year old boy, a 3 year old girl and a new mom has got to be a winner!


8 comments:

  1. Can't wait to make these!!!
    I'm trying to think of an excuse to make them...hmmmm.
    I think we may just have to deliver a few to our neighbors just because! ;)

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  2. These look delicious!
    I love starting with cake mixes...the chocolate chip cake I brought to the picnic starts with the Butter Golden mix. The secret is to only use Duncan Hines! :)

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  3. I can't wait to make these!

    I know you have been making these for years and I don't want to mess with success, but you mentioned that the icing gets drippy. I make my cream cheese icing from a recipe in the Joy of Cooking and it calls for chilled cream cheese and room temperature butter. It seems to hold up better than if the cream cheese is at room temp. Just an idea.

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  4. Ok, so I finally made these. My five year old daughter said, "this is the best cupcake I've had in my whole entire life!!!" So yes, they were a hit! :)

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  5. These are in the oven!! I did substitute 1 cup of melted butter for the oil and butter cake mix instead of white.... I'm going to top them with chocolate butter cream and my mouth is watering as we speak!

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  6. I live in Thailand; we can only get frozen strawberries now. Could these be used instead? Thawed and chopped?
    Also, what is "strawberry gelatin"? Is it jello? Or is there such a product as strawberry flavoured gelatin?
    I hope I can make it here to give to neighbours.

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  7. Lisa,
    Thanks for reading! Yes, you can absolutely use frozen berries...I often do. Just make sure (especially with the frosting) that you drain them well. They will work grea. And yes, strawberry jello....Jello is just the name brand for gelatin. (I call it jello too).
    Good luck. I hope you and your neighbors enjoy!

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  8. Amazing!!!
    Made these for my sons 1st birthday party and lets just say he ate the whole cupcake! They are delicious!

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