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Shabbos Specials: Strawberry Cake

Yum
Growing up Strawberry Shortcake was one of my favorite cartoons. My cousin Melissa had the entire collection of Strawberry Shortcake dolls and dollhouse and I was soooo jealous! My Grandma Ruby would record on VHS various things she thought he grandchildren would enjoy, and on one particular tape there was an episode of my beloved cartoon. I watched the show so much my dad quotes it to this day. Every once in a while he will just exclaim “The light’s on, but nobody’s home” in the same voice one of the characters said one time, and he just clung onto it. 🙂

I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley (read “Corporate Farmville USA”). When April rolled around, My mom would buy these huge flats of strawberries from the side of the road. When I moved to Los Angeles it was October and someone brought a little box of strawberries to some gathering I was at. “Look, strawberries! And they are only $5 a pound!” I was perplexed. First off, who eats strawberries in October? – strawberries are in season in April. Second, $5 for a pound??? Where I’m from $5 can buy you a 3’x3′ flat! Anyway, my mom would buy all these strawberries and we would have strawberry version of everything under the sun. Sometimes my mom would make Strawberry Shortcake and each time I would get so excited – my childhood hero all wrapped up in a dessert!
So mom would serve up the Strawberry Shortcake and… well, not what a child would expect from a dessert. The only sweet part was the whipped cream! How can you call that dessert? Many years later, I can appreciate a good Strawberry Shortcake, but you have to understand, as an 8-year-old Bread and Fruit and Cream in a bowl did not cut it in the dessert department.

So I have this really lovely friend Janna. In fact, Janna started her own company called United Trade Show Talent. If you are in the Trade Show business or want to be, contact this girl, she’s the best. Yeah, anyway Janna is one of the girliest girls I’ve ever met. She definitely has her own unique hipster style, but encapsulates everything feminine. It made sense when she painted her dining room Strawberry Shortcake pink! So cute, so her – and her cat Ariel fits in perfectly, don’t you think? It got me wondering, I bet Janna would enjoy a Strawberry Cake for her birthday, and I’m not talking shortcake.

STRAWBERRY CAKE
(adapted from Sweetapolita)

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 package strawberry flavored gelatin 
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs (room temperature)
  • 3 cups sifted cake & pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup strawberry puree made from frozen strawberries (puree itself should be closer to room temp, not frozen or icy)

To make the Strawberry puree you must start with frozen strawberries. How many strawberries is hard to say, but I would measure between 2-4 handfuls. You only need to put the strawberries in your freezer for an hour for them to be ready.

Remove frozen strawberries (about 2 handfuls) from freezer and place in a single layer in a flat dish to thaw slightly. Place into food processor and puree the strawberries until smooth. Stir to ensure it is nice and smooth and not icy. Measure out 1/4 cup for cake and 3 tablespoons for frosting, and freeze the remaining puree for another use.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour three round 8-inch pans. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine and stir the milk, strawberry puree, and the vanilla. Set aside.

Sift and whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, and set aside.

In a large bowl cream the sugar, gelatin, and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy–about 5 minutes. As you can see I used Glicks strawberry Gelatin. Right before Passover is a good time to make a cake like this as you have access to more kosher gelatin products.

Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with spatula.

Add the wet and dry ingredients to the creamed mixture by alternating–beginning and ending with dry ingredients and mixing just enough after each addition to incorporate, but not over mix.

Divide the batter in three, spreading it evenly into your pre-greased cake pans.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Check cakes at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it’s almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides of the cake pan. Then release from cake pans and let cool completely to room temperature.

Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.

Whipped Strawberry Frosting

Ingredients:
3 sticks + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (icing, powdered)
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons strawberry puree made from frozen strawberries

In a large bowl whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed. Butter will become very pale & creamy.

Add remaining ingredients, except strawberry puree, and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.

Add strawberry puree (can be cool, but not frozen or icy) and mix until incorporated.

Best used right away, but can be covered in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.

Yep, this is my idea of a strawberry cake, so beautiful and tasty! It reminded me of a strawberry milkshake. I got many comments that it was my best cake thus far.

What did Janna think? She loved it! I was happy because this cake used a much sweeter frosting than I’m used to, but the sweeter definitely balanced the acidic taste of the strawberries.

Enjoy people! Only a few more weeks until Pesach, so eat up as much cake as you can!

You can now reach me by a new URL! If you type in www.miriinthevillage.com, it will forward you direct to this blog.

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