Last weekend, we celebrated my mom's birthday. (Happy birthday, Mom!) As is the custom in our family, the birthday girl got to choose her birthday cake. Even though I was secretly hoping Mom would choose a Rick's Bakery cake, she chose strawberry cake.
I am the designated birthday cake baker in our family (WHY is that?? Both my sisters are fabulous cooks...Me thinks somebody is a big ole sucker...) Oh, all right, I do love baking. I admit it.
I started rummaging around for a great strawberry cake recipe. I went to my first go-to spot for most recipes--All Recipes.com. After reading through lots of the comments (which is the reason why I love All Recipes), I settled on the Strawberry Cake I. The recipe seemed almost identical to the Southern Living recipe I used several years ago.
While looking through recipes, I remembered seeing Edie at Life in Grace blog writing about the best cake she'd ever made, and promised that the strawberry cake would be the best thing you'd ever eat. Well, I just HAD to take another look!
Basically, Edie's strawberry cake uses a white cake base, with a DREAMY strawberry icing. The secret behind Edie's amaaa-zing icing is that she uses freezer strawberry jam in the recipe. Have you tried freezer strawberry jam? Oh MY! It's simple to make, and tastes like you're eating strawberries right off the vine in the warm sunshine. And I promise--it's EASY to make. I wrote all about it last year here.
Since my mom wanted a traditional strawberry cake, I went ahead and made the cake part strawberry, using the Strawberry Cake I recipe from All Recipes. I did modify the recipe a bit, following many of the comments--I only used 1/2 of the jello packet, and used fresh strawberries. (I sugared the strawberries just a bit, since they weren't as sweet as I would have liked.)
Then, I made Edie's DREAMY strawberry icing. I didn't really measure the freezer strawberry jam. I just added it until the icing tasted perfect. BONUS! I got to taste the icing at least 5 times until it was perfect!!
Helpful baking tip: If you notice the crumbs, it's because I had to "level" the bottom layer. If your cake is the tiniest bit un-level (is that a word?), I suggest taking a serrated bread knife, and slicing off a thin layer. SHHH!!! Don't tell anyone--but mostly I "level" my cakes so I can have a little pre-cake and icing! Oh yeah!!! (You're welcome.)
And now, I present to you my mom's strawberry birthday cake...drum roll....
THE VERDICT: I really loved the traditional strawberry cake and strawberry icing...but two days later I made another strawberry cake for our small group. (Hey--I had some strawberries left, and another jar of freezer strawberry jam calling my name in the freezer!) This time, I followed Edie's advice and made a white cake with her strawberry icing.
In my humble opinion, the white cake won HANDS DOWN. The tender white cake really highlighted the fresh strawberry flavor of the icing. Somehow, I didn't notice that Edie put fresh (sugared) strawberries between the layers of the cake when icing it--next time I'll be sure to do that!
And when you make this cake, and the tears of joy roll down your cheeks, please don't thank me. This is Edie's recipe--go thank her!
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