Tag Archives: Cake

Italian Cream Birthday Bake

59 cream cake
Middle Tennessee has been hit with full-on WINTER all in one week.  This week.  Ice. Snow. Rain. Sleet. Thunder. More Ice.  All this week.  The glorious result for me is that we have been home all week.  This may not sound great to you but for me, it is a blessing to have appointments cancelled.  The news man says “stay home.”  The weather woman says “it’s getting worse out there – stay home.”

Alice Cat Birthday Cake
I absolutely love being home!  So when ice and snow kept us indoors for my birthday my sous-chef-dish-washing mom and I hit the kitchen together!  I was telling her that I really, really like Italian Cream Cake but I’ve never made one.  I added, “I am sure our homemade cake will be better than any I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant.”   (That’s a lot of confidence … or arrogance!)

Alice Cat Very Busy
We divided up the recipe, marked out our space on the counter and got to it!  Italian Cream cake is very easy to make with buttermilk and soda combining to make the creaminess of the batter.

alice cat kitchen
Egg whites are folded in to give the cake a luscious, light texture.  Traditionally flaked coconut is added to the batter.  I adore coconut and so I add a little coconut flavoring as well as vanilla.

We baked the cake in 8″ square pans because I wanted to use my square cake plate.  (I do realize a round cake can go on a square plate, but that scrambles up my brain.)

While the cake was baking we chopped and toasted pecans, made a butter cream cheese frosting and patiently waited to finish up our 3-layer masterpiece!

Italian Cream Cake
This recipe came from Southern Living Magazine, November 1996.  I wonder what took me so long to make it?

Italian Cream cake single
The coconut makes the cake look a little “ragged” but I assure you it is moist and luscious.

Italian Cr cake single back
My sous-chef dish-washing mom said “it is perfect” and then added “but next time if you want to add a little more frosting I wouldn’t mind.” 

I agree about the frosting, so I added to the frosting recipe so you won’t run short.  I could have used more frosting between each layer.

All-in-all a perfect end to a lovely birthday, spent partly in the kitchen with my mom!  Aren’t I blessed?  Yes!  I know!

Happy Baking and Stay Warm!
~ Catherine

cc_pinkcupbday

Italian Cream Birthday Bake
 
Prep time
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Luscious and delicious this traditional 3-layer cake makes a perfect birthday cake or dessert for any occasion!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: Serves 12
Ingredients
Cake
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup shortening*
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 24 ounces powdered sugar (3 cups)
  • Milk, if needed
  • *Garnishes: toasted pecan halves, chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla and coconut extract, beating until blended.
  2. Combine flour and soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in coconut.
  3. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, and fold into batter. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans.
  4. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
  5. Bake chopped pecans in a shallow baking pan at 350°, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until toasted. Cool.
  6. Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and coconut extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat frosting at high speed until smooth, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to make your favorite consistency; stir in pecans.
  7. Spread Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish, if desired.
Notes
* I use solid coconut oil for the shortening. Coconut oil is ideal for baking.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cake

Christmas-Strawberry-cheesecake-cake-
[ The Birth of Jesus Christ ] In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.   Luke 2:1, 4-5 ESV

GCS
Earlier this year my husband spent a week in Manhattan without me. He went to Hephzibah House to help out while the co-directors, Catherine and Russ, attended a conference on prayer. Upon his arrival at LaGuardia airport he rode an Airporter van to Grand Central Station.

Russ met him at Grand Central where they were to get on the subway for the rest of the trip to the upper west side. Having traveled through the lunch hour he was ready for something to eat. He and Russ decided on a sandwich at Juniors located in Grand Central Station.

At the end of the meal they bought a Raspberry Cheesecake to take with them and share with the staff. My adventure-seeking husband’s first call home that evening included a play-by-play description of Grand Central Station along with details of his lunch and especially the outstanding cheesecake from Juniors.

Grand-CentralKnowing how much I adore all-things-cheesecake, my sweetie thought all week-long about how he could buy a cheesecake on his way back through Grand Central Station and bring it back home to me.

As you can well imagine, wisdom took the place of sentiment and he decided against this grand   gesture.

Alice in GCS
Fast forward to November when my sous-chef dish-washing mom and I accompanied him back to NYC. It was of no surprise that he planned to take us to Juniors at Grand Central Station.

Alice-and-Cat-at-Junior's
I love this picture of my sous-chef dish-washing mom (not washing dishes) and our dear friend Catherine from Hephzibah House!

Juiors GCS
Along with our missionary friends and the Buck Family of Tennessee, we arrived at Juniors between meals but everyone agreed we must have some cheesecake.

It was there that Lee and I shared a piece of Strawberry Cheesecake Cake. It was divine. Sweet, but not too sweet. Strong strawberry flavor offset by the creamy cheesecake. Lovely.

I’ve never combined layers of cheesecake and cake before but I knew I had to give it a try. I surprised my family and friends at a Christmas party last week with my version of Strawberry Cheesecake Cake. This original recipe came from The Recipe Girl which I adapted to our taste.

plated-cheesecake-cake-
I used her suggested strawberry cake recipe, but will use this one of mine the next time.

strawberry-layer-1-
I added a layer of strawberry purée between each cake layer. I think it is a must!

cheese-cake-in-oven-
I have baked cheesecakes for many years. But during this process I learned something new that I wish I had learned many years ago. The Recipe Girl says to bake the cheesecake in a pan filled with 1” of boiling water to keep the top from cracking. I haven’t bothered to look up the science behind this, but it works.

cheesecake-layer-
The cheesecake layer turned out perfect.

cheesecake-layer-2-
The friends I served it to especially liked the frosting as well. I think it is one of the best I have ever made. I plan to post it as a separate recipe so it will be easy for me to find next time I go looking. 🙂 Oh yes, and easy for you to find.

strawberry-cake-and-tree-
This cake takes time because after baking the cake and cheesecake the layers are cooled and frozen. Freezing them really makes assembly easy and they thaw pretty quick while sitting on a dessert table surrounded by lots of ooohs and ahhhhs!

3-layer-cheesecake-cake-
For the chocolate lover I can envision this as a chocolate cake, cherry filling and creamy cheesecake.

Have you ever made a cheesecake cake? What is your favorite?

Happy baking!
~Catherine

Strawberry Cheesecake Cake
 
Prep time
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Beautiful and delicious! This cake is worth the effort!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12-15 servings
Ingredients
CHEESECAKE:
  • Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ⅔ cup granulated white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
STRAWBERRY CAKE - your choice
PUREE:
  • 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar (unless the frozen strawberries include sugar)
FROSTING:
  • 12 ounces (1½ packages) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup strawberry puree (frozen strawberries, thawed and blended in blender)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  • 2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
Prepare the cheesecake layer:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Place a large roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven. Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Wrap a double layer of heavy duty foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan (you want to seal it so the water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the pan).
  2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all is mixed in. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in the sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla (and food color, if using). Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan into the roasting pan in the pre-heated oven. Carefully pour the hot water from your kettle into the roasting pan. Pour enough water so that there is about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan.
  3. Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely (4 to 5 hours or overnight).
Prepare the cake:
  1. Prepare and Bake two- 9-inch round strawberry cake layers (your recipe preference- see ingredient list and tips for suggestions) Once the cake is cooled it can be placed in the freezer for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. This will make it very easy to put together and frost.
  2. Puree strawberries and sugar in blender or food processor. Use for topping each layer and for making the frosting. A drop of red food coloring can be added if the color is too pale.
  3. Prepare the frosting: Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese and the butter, and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla, strawberry puree and cream and continue to mix until well combined. Mix in 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Add the third cup a little at a time until you reach a consistency that you're happy with. You may not use it all, or you may use more. Whip until your desired consistency.
Assemble the cake:
  1. Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Spoon strawberry puree over the layer but not quite to the edge. You do not want the puree running over the sides of each layer. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the the cheesecake to release it from the pan. Trim the cheesecake, as needed to match the size of your cake layers (see *Tips). Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Add a light layer of strawberry puree. Place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake.
  2. Frost the cake: Apply a crumb coat layer of frosting to the cake (see *Tips), and refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, or until the frosting is set. Apply the second layer of frosting, if needed. Decorate, as desired, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Notes
*If you prefer to use a boxed mix, it will work just fine (just make two layers in two 9-inch pans).

*You can certainly bake this cheesecake in the oven without a water bath, but you run the risk of cracking the top of the cheesecake. The water bath is a safeguard against cracking.

*Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be slightly larger size round than your cake layers, move it to a cutting board and use a knife to gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake.

*How to apply a crumb coat layer of frosting: use a long, thin spatula or knife to cover the cake completely with a thin and even layer of frosting. Wipe off the spatula each time you’re about to dip it back into the bowl to get more frosting (this way you won’t be transferring any pink crumbs into the bowl of frosting). Don’t worry at this point about the crumbs being visible in the frosting on the cake. When your cake has a thin layer of frosting all over it, place it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to “set” the frosting. Once the first layer of frosting is set, apply the second layer.

*If you are serving this cake at a party, it’s perfectly okay to leave the cake at room temperature for a couple of hours (the cheesecake thaws very quickly). Otherwise, keep it stored in the refrigerator. It also freezes perfectly. Freeze it as is, then wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer until it is needed. Leftover slices may also be wrapped and frozen.

*If there is any leftover it will last in the refrigerator for up to a week without getting dry. Each day it just gets better and better!

This recipe adapted from The Recipe Girl

 

 

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes Just In Time For My 3rd Blogoversary!

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes 2
Today is the 3rd anniversary of my first blog post. At first I thought about saying something like, “it seems like only yesterday” that I started writing and sharing with the world via the internet.  But that isn’t true. It seems like I have written this blog for a long time. When I push the Publish button today it will be my 513th blog post.

I have learned so much along the way. This includes a lot of technical blogging detail and how I can find wi-fi just about any place we travel! But most importantly I have learned that words matter.  That words I write (and speak) carry weight and there are implications and consequences when I share those words.

I’ve come to realize that sharing scripture is more than just re-printing words written from a particular version of the Bible.  That the scripture I share and the comments I make touch people’s lives.  From your comments, emails, and support I’ve come to think of you more than friends and much like traveling companions that I care deeply about.

I thank you for taking time to travel this road with me. Today this blog averages between 150 and 200 views per day.  I am humbled when I think about those of you who stop by for a quick read, search for a tried-and-true recipe, or read a scripture that has guided me and is guiding me daily.

“When we consider the blessings of God—the gifts that add beauty and joy to our lives, that enable us to keep going through stretches of boredom and even suffering – friendship is very near the top.”

—Donald W. McCullough, Mastering Personal Growth

Deuteronomy 5:32-33

You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.

strawberry cake single
I like strawberries.  A lot. I particularly like them in the spring and early summer when they come fresh from Florida, California, or my brother-in-law’s garden (hint-hint). Last Easter I made a fresh strawberry cake that is packed with flavor, incredibly moist and embarrassingly sweet!

Remember when I told you I planned to take fresh strawberry cupcakes to my friend Gaye, but she beat me to the punch bringing me Whole Wheat Almond Butter Sandwich cookies first?  Well, these were the cupcakes I was baking to take to her!

fresh strawberry cupcake cooling
I was concerned that the Fresh Strawberry Cake recipe would be too dense in cupcake form.  So I used this basic recipe, cutting out some of the oil and adding a little more fresh strawberries.

single strawberry cupcake
They turned out just perfect!  Really moist but not too much so!

Strawberry cupcake bite
I intended to give this one to my sweet Chief Culinary Consultant.  But after one bite (for the picture) I couldn’t stop myself.  It was gone before I knew what I had done. 🙁

strawberry cupcake mom
As I was dividing them up to go to the neighbors I asked my sous-chef dish-washing mom if she would like one for a snack that afternoon.  She said, “Well, it would be better to have one available and not want it, than to want one and not have it.”  Huh?  Okay, this one I made for her and set it aside if she wanted it.   She did.

strawberry cupcakes 3
If you and your family like strawberries, do yourself (and them) a favor and make these wonderful cupcakes!  You will be glad you did.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this blog, sharing with family and friends, and sharing your comments and recipes with me!

Happy Baking,
Catherine

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes Just In Time For My 3rd Blogoversary!
 
These cupcakes will turn any ordinary day into a party!
Serves: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
Cake batter
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, mashed
  • 1 small box dry strawberry jello
Strawberry Icing
  • ½ stick butter, softened
  • 4 to 6 cups powdered sugar (depending on preference of frosting stiffness)
  • ¼ cup strawberries, mashed
Instructions
  1. Mix all cake batter ingredients and pour into 24 muffin tins lined with cupcake liners.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  3. While the cake is baking, make the icing.
  4. Mix together all icing ingredients until smooth. Add powdered sugar and strawberry mash to your desired consistency. Mix well before adding more sugar or strawberries.
  5. Once cake is cooled, spread the icing on the cupcakes.
  6. Store the cake in the refrigerator. The cupcakes are best when chilled for at least 2 hours before serving. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.
Notes
Any buttercream or cream cheese frosting can be used.

 

Strawberry Trifle Dessert – It’s Not Too Late for Easter

strawberry trifle

Easter is Sunday and you may have planned your dinner menu for weeks.  Or then again you may be surprised that it is here already!  I saw this dessert on Facebook and I have made a similar version many times.  It is so quick and easy I decided to share it now if you are looking for a last-minute, make-it-fast dessert that is absolutely, finger-licking, delicious!  (I always dip my finger into the whip cream, don’t you?)

strawberry trifle ingred
A trifle is a dessert made with cake, fruit, custard, and whip cream.  This dessert fits that description perfectly! My sous-chef helped me by making the angel food cake, but a store-bought cake works fine.

strawberry parfait ingre

The cake is torn or cut into small pieces.  I made sugar-free, fat-free vanilla pudding, thawed some frozen strawberries, and used Cool Whip for the whipped cream.

straw parfait 3 singles

The trifle can be layered with cake, strawberries, pudding, then whip cream.  I like to fold the whip cream into the pudding and use the mixture as one layer, which is what I did for these individual parfaits.

This takes only minutes to make and needs refrigerated for at least 4 hours or even better, over night.

straw trifle down
Happy Easter and Sweet Blessings!

~Catherine
strawberry trfle single

Strawberry Trifle Dessert
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Let Them Eat Cake!! Low cal, low fat, loaded with the fresh taste of strawberries and cream.
Ingredients
  • 1 Angel food cake
  • 24 oz. Container frozen strawberries, sliced with sugar added, thawed
  • 3 cups Vanilla pudding, instant, cooked, or sugar-free, fat-free
  • 16 oz. Container of whipped topping (like Cool Whip)
  • Fresh strawberries to garnish
Instructions
  1. Tear angel food cake into small to medium size pieces
  2. Mix 3 cups of vanilla pudding with 12 oz. of Cool Whip, leaving 4 oz of Cool Whip for topping.
  3. Using a large clear glass bowl, or individual parfait glasses, begin layering cake, strawberries, and pudding/cool whip mixture.
  4. Continue irregular layers, filling the bowl.
  5. Top entire dessert with solid layer of reserved Cool Whip. Garnish with fresh sliced strawberries.
  6. Refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours before serving.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 12
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