Friday, April 1, 2011

Strawberries-n-Creme Cake

This week I have decided that my mother is in need of an extra special blessing, so my son & I decided to make her a special cake.  Yesterday she packed up her National Boards box and mailed it an extreme mix of relief and nerves.  For those of you that don't know, to be named a "National Board Teacher" is probably one of the highest, if not THE highest level of recognition a teacher in the US can receive.  However, with the huge honor of being recognized comes an ever HUGER (is that a word??)  amount of work to get there.  Hundreds of pages of typed reflection, lesson plans, explanations, student samples, video taped lessons and who knows what else is required to be boxed up and mailed off by March 31st by National Board certified hopefuls, my mother being among them this year.  She lives 20 minutes away and I've seen her maybe 3 times since Christmas.  Her entire life had revolved around working and compiling the contents of this box for the past 3+ months, so I know she is so excited to finally be done.  Couple that with her birthday 2 weeks ago that she didn't have time to celebrate...I'd say that a cake is in order.
A Strawberries-n-Creme Cake 
to be exact.

For the cake, I decided to use my favorite almost made from scratch White Almond Sour Cream Cake.  This cake is simply my very favorite basic cake recipe.  First I gathered the ingredients.

Then I let Buddy Boy (5) mix all of the dry ingredients together while I separated out 4 egg whites.  After all dry ingredients have been mixed, I added the remaining ingredients and beat on medium for about 2 minutes, or until well mixed.  Then we poured the mixture into well greased cake cans (in this case I used 3 9" rounds) and bake at 325 for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  I let them sit for just a couple of minutes, then removed them from the pans to cool completely.

While the cakes cooled, we assembled the ingredients for the filling.

While the cakes were baking I washed, cut, and lightly sugared the strawberries and them placed them in the refrigerator until we were ready to make the filling.  First we beat the cream cheese (which had been sitting out to soften) with about 1/3 C of sugar.  Once it becomes smooth, we added the softened whipped cream and mixed well.  Finally, we gently folded in the glazed strawberries and added this filling generously to the top of one cake round.

Then we topped it with the other cake round.

Next we (or I guess I should say 'I'.  Buddy Boy lost interest in cake making and was happily seated with his brother eating glazed strawberries by this point!)  gathered my frosting ingredients.  There is NOTHING better than homemade buttercream icing, in my opinion!!

Very important side note here: Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT attempt to use margarine for buttercream icing, as I obviously did here.  I was distracted by the boys & dinner cooking simultaneously and grabbed the margarine tub instead of the butter sticks.  Let's just say I threw away a whole bunch of runny icing before finally making the good stuff!!

The icing is really simple.  All you do is beat together the butter (REAL BUTTER!!!) and vanilla until smooth, add the sugar, and continue beating until well combined.  Then add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it's light and fluffy.  If you mistakenly add too much milk and it gets runny, add more powered sugar to thicken it up.


Finally I was able to frost the cake and embellish with fresh strawberries!

Of course I made a smaller version of the cake (I used the 3rd cake round and sliced it in half) for my family, so we got to sample it last night for dessert.  YUM!!

I hope my mom enjoys this as much as we did!

White Almond Sour Cream Cake
2 (9 ounce) boxes white cake mix
1 C all purpose flour
1 C granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 C water
1/8 C vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 C sour cream
4 large egg whites

Place all dry ingredients in bowl and stir together with a wire wisk.  Add remaining ingredients and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pout into grease cake pans, filling a little over 1/2 ful.  Bake at 325 until cakes test done (about 30 minutes of 9" rounds).  

Strawberries-n-Creme filling
1 block cream cheese, softened
1/3 C granulated sugar (more or less to taste)
1 tub whipped cream
strawberries (washed, cut & sugared if desired)

In mixing bowl, cream together cheese and sugar.  Add in whipped cream and beat well.  Gently fold in strawberries until just combined.

Buttercream Icing
1 C sweet cream butter
1 tsp vanilla
4 C confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp milk

In large bowl, crem together butter and vanilla.  Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in milk and continue mixing until light and fluffy.  Cover until ready to use.

In Loving Service to the Lord, my husband, and children,
the Busy-at-Home Mom

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