Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake

To round out our Island Fever BBQ menu, I wanted to end it with a fruity dessert. I had read many reviews stating this was a delicious strawberry cake... but I was leery. The first 2 ingredients of the recipe called for boxed cake mix and Jello gelatin. I hate to admit it, but I am a boxed mix snob... definitely a purist. I think, in general, food taste better using real, fresh ingredients. I was taken aback by how good this cake was... and believe me, I had my suspicions. I loved the taste and you can definitely taste the fresh strawberry flavor within the cake. And I loved how it was pink! It was a great way to enjoy strawberries that are in season. Next time, I will serve fresh sliced strawberries in between the cake layers, and drizzle any remaining strawberry puree with the sliced cake as a decorative accent. I made the frosting that corresponds to the cake, but felt it was too sweet (as many reviews stated). Therefore, I tried another frosting recipe- it wasn't overly sweet yet possessed a true strawberry flavor. The recipe called for almost 6 cups of powdered sugar, but I used 4 cups. Make sure to let the cake sit in the fridge (covered in saran wrap) so the icing has time to set. Serve immediately or else the icing will soften and start to melt a little. (This could be remedied if you used more powdered sugar... add to your liking.)

Ingredients:
Cake
18.25-oz box White cake mix
3-oz box strawberry instant gelatin (regular, not sugar-free)
10-oz package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
Strawberry Cream Cheese frosting (recipe follows)

Strawberry Cream Cheese frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
8-oz cream cheese, softened (reduced-fat is fine)
1/4 cup strawberry puree
Dash of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Fresh strawberries, for garnish

Directions:
For the Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans.
2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin.
3. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.

4. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes (I baked mine for 23 minutes), or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.


For the Frosting
1. In a large bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy, approximately 2 minutes.

2. Beat in the strawberry puree, dash of salt, and vanilla extract.
3. Gradually add confectioner's sugar, beating until it's light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure you incorporate all. Once the sugar is incorporated, beat on high for 1 minute. (For pinker frosting, add 2-3 drops of red food coloring.)

4. Spread frosting in between layers and on top and sides of cake.

5. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries, if desired.
6. Refrigerate the cake (covered in saran wrap) so the icing can set.


Source: For the cake: Paula Deen, For the frosting: Adapted from Pioneer Woman

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