Tuesday, July 17, 2012

strawberry dream cake

It's a wonderful and beautiful thing that my grandma was able to live in the home that she and my grandpa Charlie built, until her passing at 98 years young. It's even more amazing that my mom bought and renovated the home shortly after my grandma passed away, so that it could continue to stay in the family. My mom refers to the/her home as "The Carter Homestead."  

The memories that we all share of holidays and family gatherings at my grandma's house are warm, loving, and endless!  
It's my mom's dream that many more family memories will be made there. She has anxiously waited for the big outdoor projects to finish, so that she could host a family gathering and formally open the house to begin creating new memories. I just know that my grandma is excitedly watching over us, pleased with what she sees.  
In a few short weeks, she will be hosting a "Let's Celebrate Summer" party! It will be the first time since my grandma passed away that we'll all be gathering there again.   
She's having the afternoon catered family style, and asked me if I would bring desserts. I feel honored!   
Since Summer grows the best berries and citrus, I would be remiss not to include them in my desserts. So how does a Strawberry Dream Cake and Lemon Bars sound?  

America's Test Kitchen recently shared their recipe for Strawberry Dream Cake. After reading the ingredients and preparation, I thought "This is going to make an amazing cake!"  

Cook's Country

Cook's Country shares why the recipe works . . . 
Strange as it may seem, the vast majority of existing strawberry cake recipes turn to strawberry Jell-O for flavor. Oh no, no. The best way to avoid this artificial solution is to season the cake with actual strawberries. The solution? Since any strawberry solids wreak havoc on a tender cake, straining and reducing strawberry juices will keep the cake light and pack a strawberry punch. Not to be left behind, the reserved strawberry solids make for the perfect studded addition to the frosting.  And there you have it . . . a moist, tender REAL strawberry cake!  
If you could take all the flavor of homemade strawberry ice cream and turn it into a cake, the end result would be this cake.  It is a cake that tastes just as the name implies.  Pink and  dreamy.  

You can also use this recipe to make the prettiest 
Strawberry Dream CUPCAKES!

Martha Stewart  

Here's what you'll need . . .
10 ounces frozen whole strawberries (2 cups)
3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened  

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
12 ounces cream cheese, cut into 12 pieces and softened
Pinch salt
8 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thin (about 1 1/2 cups)  

For the cake
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment, grease parchment, and flour.
2. Transfer strawberries to bowl, cover, and microwave until strawberries are soft and have released their juice, about 5 minutes. Place in fine-mesh strainer set over small saucepan. Firmly press fruit dry (juice should measure at least 3/4 cup); reserve strawberry solids. Bring juice to boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, 6 to 8 minutes. Whisk milk into juice until combined.
3. Whisk strawberry milk, egg whites, and vanilla in bowl. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed until combined. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and mix until only pea-size pieces remain, about 1 minute. Add half of milk mixture, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low, add remaining milk mixture, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Give batter final stir by hand.
4. Scrape equal amounts of batter into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, discarding parchment, and cool completely, about 2 hours. (Cooled cakes can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)   
For the frosting
5. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix butter and sugar on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add reserved strawberry solids and salt and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 2 days.
6. Pat strawberries dry with paper towels. When cakes are cooled, spread 3/4 cup frosting over 1 cake round. Press 1 cup strawberries in even layer over frosting and cover with additional 3/4 cup frosting. Top with second cake round and spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Garnish with remaining strawberries. Serve. 
Cake can be refrigerated for 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.  

Bon Appetit!


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  2. I love this recipe, too, and have made it a few times. I like your comparison to strawberry ice cream. Delish! What a lovely story about your grandma, too!

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