Last week, I found a good deal on strawberries and bought several quarts. Unfortunately, berries fall to ruin faster than even I, a known berry fiend, can eat them, so on Saturday morning, I decided to share the natural sweetness and prepare a cake for my loved ones.
I soon discovered two problems. Firstly, when I searched recipes, I realized I didn’t have all the ingredients for a made-from-scratch cake or even for an enhanced box cake. Indeed, I was taken aback to learn that uncooked gelatin comprises an ingredient in enhanced strawberry box cake recipes. Who would have thought of that? Secondly, I didn’t feel like getting dressed and going to the store to purchase said ingredients, including gelatin.
No worries, I said to self, I’ll just create my own recipe.
So, I capped and quartered berries and tossed them into a food processor that had languished in my cupboards for years. I had spied it in the cabinet, but I wasn’t sure what purpose it served, so it had never been used until December. Anyway, after processing the berries into pulp, I added them to the white cake mix, gave it a good stir, and then poured the batter into a rectangular cake pan.
I have to say that I had my worries about the cake from the beginning. The batter didn’t have that strawberry taste. What’s more, I had read that strawberries tend to turn cake mix gray, so I added color gel. But when it emerged from the oven, part of it looked pink and part of it looked…not pink or red or any natural color I have ever beheld.
Well, there was nothing I could do about the cake, so I turned my attention to creating the most amazing strawberry buttercream frosting in the history of the galaxy. As I whipped the cream cheese and butter, it wasn’t too runny or stiff. So far, so good. But then I added the powdered sugar and suddenly the frosting was so runny it almost leapt out of the bowl and smacked me in the face.
That’s not how life is supposed to work. Powdered sugar is supposed to make frosting stiffer. I researched the matter after the fact and learned I had probably beaten the cream cheese and butter too briskly before I added the sugar. And/or the temperature of my kitchen was too hot. I’ll have to keep those tidbits in mind.
Anyway, I added the strawberry pulp, which I had created with the loyal food processor, and finished the chore. When I arrived at the Goff Estate, I literally poured the frosting onto the cake.
After supper, a few brave souls sampled the cake. Here are their reviews:
No one could find the right words to describe the cake. But I’m told the frosting, which had to be dipped out of the pan with spoons, had a good taste that, indeed, tasted like strawberries.
As the baker whose goal was to make a frosting that tasted like strawberries, I will take that as a win.
By the way, I ate a piece of cake, and you know what? It wasn’t okay, it wasn’t…good, it wasn’t not…bad.
It was expletive good.
This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.