A Fresh, Beautiful, Sinful & Sweet…Homemade Strawberry Cake!

Fresh Strawberries. Is there a fruit much better than fresh Strawberries? No…no there isn’t. Unless it’s Peach Season. And then…there is no better fruit than Peaches. Well…until Watermelon Season…and then…well you get my point. I am a lover of all fruit. But as of right now…my favorite fruit is Strawberries!

After my latest trip to Pepper Place Farmer’s Market I saw SO much produce that I just wanted to take it all! But I since I couldn’t…I knew I wasn’t going to leave without one of the BEAUTIFUL buckets of Strawberries that seemed to stare at me with every turn. And since Memorial Day cookouts will be in full force this weekend, I decided that I should indulge in something other than my Updated, Old Fashioned Strawberry Pie (click the link if you missed it, because it’s a “can’t miss”). And trust me…that was a tough decision to make. So what could possibly come close to that goodness?? AHHHH….A Fresh, Beautiful, Sinful & Sweet…Homemade Strawberry Cake! YES!

Homemade Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

Homemade Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

Everything is fresh in this cake. No boxed cake mixes (even though you totally could), no over-sweetened frozen strawberries and no food coloring. I really don’t see the need for food coloring. But again…you could totally add it. So here is how this recipe starts.

Homemade Strawberry Cake

Homemade Strawberry Cake

This first step is really a taste preference. I didn’t use any of that frozen strawberry mixture that is loaded with sugar. Instead, I pureed my fresh strawberries with a tablespoon of sugar and juice of half a lemon. You don’t HAVE to add the sugar OR the lemon. But I tasted (or maybe had a small snack of) a few of the strawberries and wanted them just a TAD sweeter…and thought the lemon would just add a nice kick! So if you want to just puree them by themselves…that is just fine for this recipe!

Fresh Strawberry Puree

Fresh Strawberry Puree

Fresh Strawberry Puree

Fresh Strawberry Puree

Now that this done & out of the way…preheat your oven to 325 Degrees. Then sift together the dry ingredients in a mixer or a mixing bowl. The flour (I use White Lily), baking powder, lemon zest, salt & sugar.

Strawberry Cake Mix

Strawberry Cake Mix

Next add the wet ingredients and start mixing. The oil & vanilla first…then add the eggs & whites one at a time until the batter is mixed. Careful not to over mix. Then finally fold in your strawberry puree until just incorporated. [If you want to add the food coloring for a cake that is brighter pink color…here is where you would do that. Just mix in couple of drops of red food coloring at a time until the cake is the color you want it. Remember…a little goes a long way.] Now, back to the important stuff. Time to pour this mixture evenly into 2 separate 9″ pie pans that have been greased with Pam Cooking Spray. Then bake for 30-35 minutes.

Strawberry Cake BEFORE the Oven

Strawberry Cake BEFORE the Oven

Now for the icing…Cream Cheese. Strawberry Cream Cheese. Just saying those three words makes smile. Or want to grab a shot of insulin. ūüôā And this icing is just your classic Strawberry Cream Cheese that everyone’s Grandmother has made. With just a little lemon zest added. You beat the butter & cream cheese together until creamy. Then add the strawberry puree & vanilla. Once this is mixed…start adding the confectioner’s sugar a little at a time until the frosting is the consistency you like it. Then store in the fridge until ready to frost your cake.

Cream Cheese Icing

Cream Cheese Icing

Once the cakes are done…let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then remove them from the pans and let them cool completely before trying to start adding the frosting. But once they are cool…get to it!

Homemade Strawberry Cake

Cakes are Ready for the Icing!

Here is where you can get creative. Just make sure to put the icing in between each of the cakes, the sides and the top! If you want to make designs or make it smooth…it’s whatever you want to do! And for garnish…I’ve added Strawberries, Blueberries, Mint, Coconut…anything that I already have on hand to make it look pretty! So many different options for you to make this cake fit your occasion.

So here is my very plain…but ever so delicious…work of non-art.

Homemade Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

Homemade Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

But WOW…doesn’t that still look awfully yummy! Once I finish this post…I may just have another piece!

Let me know what you think! Be sure to send me some pics, leave me a comment or message me on Facebook or Twitter! And be sure to share the blog with your friends to sign up via email! Hope you Enjoy!

Homemade Fresh Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Strawberry Puree

2 lb Fresh Strawberries
1/2 Lemon, Juiced (optional)
1 tbsp Granulated Sugar (optional)

1. Slice the green tops off of the strawberries.
2. Place Strawberries, Lemon Juice & Sugar in a Blender and Puree. Keep a Chunky Consistency in the Puree.
3. Set aside.

Cake

2-9″ Pie Pans Greased with Non-Stick Vegetable Spray
3 c. All Purpose Flour
2 tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 Lemon Zested & Juiced
1 1/2 c. Fresh Strawberry Puree
1 tbsp Salt
2 c. Sugar
1 c. Vegetable Oil
2 Whole Eggs
4 Egg Whites
1 tbsp Vanilla
**3-4 drops Red Food Coloring (Optional)

1. Preheat Oven to 325 Degrees.
2. Sift together dry ingredients into a mixer or mixing bowl. Flour, Baking Powder, Salt & Lemon Zest.
3. Mix in vegetable oil then the vanilla.
4. Mix in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
5. Mix in strawberry puree (and optional food coloring) until incorporated.
6. Pour mixture evenly into the greased baking pans.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean in the center of the cake. Careful not to overcook.
8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then remove from the pans and let completely cool. Preferably on a wire rack.
9. Decorate with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing making sure frosting is smooth between both cakes, sides & top.
10. Garnish with whole strawberries, blueberries, coconut, mint, etc.
11. Store in Refrigerator.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

1 8oz Block of Cream Cheese, Softened (not low fat)
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 Lemon Zested
1/2 c. Strawberry Puree
4-5 c. Confectioners Sugar

1. Beat cream cheese & butter together until creamy.
2. Mix in Zest, Extract & Puree. Continue to mix on medium speed
3. Slowly mix in Confectioners Sugar a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
4. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Aunt Ivene’s Drop Sugar Cookies…with a Nutella Twist

My Great-Aunt Ivene was one of a kind. ¬†She was born in 1914 and lived for 94 beautiful years. ¬†She grew up cooking, working on the family farm, later working at the bank and probably her truest calling…taking care of the family because she had no children of her own.

Aunt Ivene Hammond

Aunt Ivene & Foster Hammond, 1944

You see, Aunt Ivene married the love of her life, Foster Hammond. ¬†Foster was killed in the war in 1944. ¬†And she never remarried. ¬†She always told me about why she didn’t remarry…”It wasn’t Foster”…she would say. ¬†So she took it upon herself to take care of us. ¬†ALL of us. ¬†The rest of her long & beautiful life.

As a child, I used to spend nearly every Friday night with Aunt Ivene. ¬†We would watch Dallas, play Chinese Checkers and OF COURSE…we would cook. I credit her with first showing me around the kitchen!¬†Green Beans, Mac & Cheese, Pies, Cakes & her famous Sugar Cookies! ¬†She made those for everyone! ¬†And she would deliver them in an empty cracker box, an old Maxwell House Coffee can or those old Planters Cheese Ball Tins.¬†Still such vivid memories I have of those special times and those cookies!!

I’ve been thinking a lot about Aunt Ivene lately and I decided to make a few batches of those cookies and deliver them to some friends like she did. ¬†And then I decided I wanted to make some with Nutella. ¬†I love Nutella. ¬†And I could probably eat it by the spoonful (notice I said probably…doesn’t mean that I’ve actually DONE that…ummm, no…never). ¬†And if you don’t know what Nutella is…just click on the link. ¬†And then drop everything and race to the grocery store.

Here is all you need because these are very, very quick & easy.

Ingredients for Old Fashioned Drop Sugar Cookies with Nutella

Ingredients for Old Fashioned Drop Sugar Cookies with Nutella

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. ¬†You will need a couple of baking sheets for these because this recipe makes A LOT. ¬†To start, beat your eggs with a mixer until they are frothy. Then mix in the oil & vanilla. Next mix in your Nutella & Cocoa. Mix in your sugar, and then finally your White Lily flour. Mix these just like I’ve described so the ingredients get incorporated evenly. This will only take a couple of minutes. Take your ungreased baking sheet and start dropping a “dollop” of the cookie dough onto the sheet with a teaspoon. Don’t crowd your pan because these will spread out. But don’t worry about making them perfect either! Just see mine…not perfect. Not even close.

Drop Sugar Cookie Batter

Drop Sugar Cookie Batter with no Nutella

And here are some with the Nutella batter.

Drop Sugar Cookies with Nutella Batter

Drop Sugar Cookies with Nutella Batter

You will have to watch these closely depending on how big you made your “dollops”. Mine baked for about 10 minutes. Just until I could tell the bottom was slightly brown. They cook fast, so don’t burn them!
Once they are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet so they have time to rest. Once they are cool..then grab a glass of milk and DIG IN. Try to resist from eating all of them at once. Just do what Aunt Ivene did…grab you a tin can, or an empty cracker box and share with your friends & family to put a smile on their face! Or eat them…your choice. ūüėČ

Drop Sugar Cookies with Nutella

Old Fashioned Drop Sugar Cookies…and some with Nutella

Aunt Ivene's Drop Sugar Cookies

  • Servings: 5-6 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit: Ivene Hammond & Molly Howard

2 Eggs Beaten
1 ¬Ĺ tsp Vanilla
1 c. Vegetable Oil
1 c. Granulated Sugar
2 c. Self Rising Flour

1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.  
2. Beat eggs with electric mixer. Add in oil & vanilla.
3. Add in sugar and mix until thick & creamy.
4. Finally mix in flour & incorporate without over mixing.
5. Drop the batter onto the ungreased baking sheet using a teaspoon & careful not to over crowd the pans.
6. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure to watch this close so that you don’t burn the bottoms.

Aunt Ivene's Drop Sugar Cookies with Nutella

  • Servings: 5-6 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Credit: Ivene Hammond & Molly Howard

2 Eggs Beaten
1 ¬Ĺ tsp Vanilla
1 c. Vegetable Oil
2 tbsp Nutella
2 tbsp Hershey’s Cocoa
1 c. Granulated Sugar
2 c. Self Rising Flour

1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.  
2. Beat eggs with electric mixer. Add in oil & vanilla.
3. Mix in the Nutella & Cocoa.
4. Add in sugar and mix until thick & creamy.
5. Finally mix in flour & incorporate without over mixing.
6. Drop the batter onto the ungreased baking sheet using a teaspoon & careful not to over crowd the pans.
7. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure to watch this close so that you don’t burn the bottoms.

Updated…But Still Old-Fashioned…Strawberry Pie

Springtime weather is FINALLY just around the corner! ¬†Thankfully! ¬†And during the winter of 2014, the South has certainly experienced some very bi-polar weather!! ¬†74 degrees one day…24 degrees the next. ¬†Rain & thunder showers…followed up with 3 inches of snow & ice!!! ¬†So tiring. So long. ¬†So…OVER.

When I went to the grocery store this week and saw some Florida Strawberries staring back at me with their deep, beautiful red color & fruity, sweet smell…I knew Spring was finally upon us!! ¬†And Spring for me always starts with strawberries! ¬†I then decided that I’m going to celebrate this Spring arrival! And no better way to celebrate than with an updated, old-fashioned strawberry pie! ¬†YES!

Updated, Old Fashion Strawberry Pie

Updated, Old Fashion Strawberry Pie

For those that didn’t already know, I come from really long line of family that are really, really good southern cooks. ¬†In fact…they even have a cookbook of just a FEW of their recipes! ¬†It’s one of the things I cherish more than anything! ¬†So, the homemade pie crust I use and file away into the recipe category of ¬†“don’t fix what isn’t broken”, is one from my Great Aunt Inez. ¬†She was born in the early 1900’s and lived to be in her 90’s. ¬†I’d say that gives her enough experience in cooking pies! ¬†And this one proves it.

Owens Family Cookbook--Lexington, AL

Owens Family Cookbook–Lexington, AL

Now…to get started. ¬†The first thing I do is get that crust formed! ¬†The ONLY thing I do different than Aunt Inez is make sure every single ingredient to be used in the crust is very cold! ¬†Including the bowl! ¬†So refrigerate everything for about an hour before you get started. ¬† First you will need to cut the Crisco shortening & salt into the flour (I use White Lily,¬†of course). ¬†You can either use your fingertips, a pastry cutter or 2 knives. ¬†Whatever will work best to get the mixture looking like pea-size pieces. ¬†Don’t over work this dough because you don’t want the shortening to melt! ¬†Next whisk together the egg, vinegar & cold water. ¬†Gradually add this mixture to the flour until it is incorporated. ¬†When the dough looks all mixed and can be formed into a ball…it’s ready! ¬†Here you will want to divide the dough into 3, 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch discs. ¬†Wrap them up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Sorry no pics of the dough mixture…my hands were covered in flour & shortening. ¬†**Note to self…buy a pastry cutter. ¬†Soon. ¬†Like yesterday.***And another note…if you don’t want to make a homemade crust…you can easily buy one already made. ¬†Not the frozen ones. ¬†In fact, just buy a Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust. ¬†Because they are the best.

Pastry dough is getting wrapped up for the fridge

Pastry dough is getting wrapped up for the fridge

While that dough is refrigerating…get your strawberries cut and mixed with the other ingredients. ¬†Cut them in halves or quarters depending on how big they are. ¬†Then mix well– the cornstarch, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla, nutmeg & water. Let this refrigerate for at least 30 minutes up to overnight. ¬†This will let the the natural juices from the berries come out.

Can't you just smell the sweetness of this filling?  If you can't...guess you'll have to make the pie.

I Love Strawberry Pie Filling.  Love. It.

Once everything has chilled, you will need to roll out 2 of the pastry discs and preheat your oven to 425 degrees. ¬†On a really well-floured surface, you’ll want to roll the bottom out to about an 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick to fit the bottom and sides of your pie dish. ¬†So about 11 or 12 inches around for a 9 inch pie. ¬†For the top, you will want to roll out the same size and then cut the dough into 1 inch strips using a pizza cutter. ¬†This will be used for the lattice crust. ¬†The way I learned to do lattice crust was online. ¬†Seriously. ¬†And it was from Simply Recipes. ¬†I’ve been following their blog for a long time! Make sure to click on the link to the Simply Recipes site where I saw the easiest way to weave the crust. ¬†Kudos, Simply Recipes…Kudos!

Lay the bottom crust into the pie dish, spoon in the strawberry mixture, then finish with the lattice top.  Brush the strips with heavy cream and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar.

Why can't their be smell-a-vision?

Why can’t there be smell-a-vision?

You will bake this little beauty for about an hour or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly!

Updated, Old Fashion Strawberry Pie

Updated, Old Fashion Strawberry Pie

Once this has cooled somewhat,  just slice it up and top with orange whipped cream & a sprig of mint!  Or just plain whipped cream and no mint.  Or top it with nothing and just dig in!  Your choice!

Updated, Old Fashion Strawberry Pie

Just look at that beauty!  Topped with orange flavored whipped cream!

This is really an easy recipe to keep, adjust and make your own!  Let me know how yours turns out!  Enjoy!

Updated, Old-Fashioned Strawberry Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Adapted from Saveur Magazine, Inez White & Simple Southern Living

Pie Crust

3 c. All Purpose Flour
1 c. Crisco Shortening
1 ¬Ĺ tsp Salt
1 Beaten Egg
1 tbsp Vinegar
¬Ĺ c. Cold Water

1. Put all of the ingredients into the refrigerator (including the bowl) for at least 30 minutes to chill.
2. Once cold, cut the salt & shortening into the flour using a pastry cutter or your fingertips until the mixture resembles pea-like pieces.
3. Mix together the egg, vinegar and water. Gradually add the mixture into the flour. Mix together well until dough can be formed easily into a ball.
4. Divide dough into 3 even pieces. Roll out into a disc about ¬Ĺ inch thick.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. Freeze any unused dough.

Strawberry Pie

3 lbs Sliced Fresh Strawberries
¬Ĺ c. Cornstarch
¬ĺ c. Sugar
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 ¬Ĺ tsp Vanilla Extract
3 tbsp Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1 tbsp Orange Zest
2 tbsp Water
Heavy Cream for Brushing Lattice Top

1. Slice the Strawberries in halves or quarters. Mix well with the next 7 ingredients and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes up to overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
3. Take 2 of the refrigerated pie dough and place on a well-floured surface. Roll each out to 1/8 -1/4 inch thickness until it will cover the bottom & side of the pie dish. About 11-12 inches for a 9 inch pie plate.
4. Repeat rolling the other pastry disc out to the same size & thickness.
5. For the 2nd pastry disc, cut it into ¬Ĺ inch strips with pizza cutter once it is rolled out. This will be for the lattice top.
6. Place the bottom crust into the pie dish. Then spoon the strawberry mixture on top of the bottom crust.
7. Next weave the dough on top of the strawberries for the lattice top.
8. Brush lattice top with heavy cream and lightly dust with sugar.
9. Bake pie for 45 minutes to an hour until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Let cool and serve.

Better Late than Never…Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Let There Be Cake!

Valentine’s Day. ¬†The Day of Love. ¬†The Day of Flowers. The. Day. Of. CHOCOLATE. ¬†Yes…I believe that chocolate is the most important part of this day . ¬†And I am not an avid chocolate lover! ¬†But on Valentine’s Day?!?! ¬†I’m like a kid in a candy shop–a chocolate candy shop! ¬†Turtles, Truffles, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Chocolate Covered Everything and BIG Heart Shaped Random Chocolate Boxes that are so much fun to taste!!! ¬†I basically get my chocolate fix for the entire year in ONE day! ¬†Whoop!

So this Valentine’s Day, I have decided to add to my one day love of chocolate and make a cake! ¬†A flourless, ooey, gooey, chocolatey, yummy cake!!!

Chocolate Espresso Cake

No Flour Chocolate Espresso Cake

So you’ll need semi-sweet chocolate (I use Ghirardelli), eggs, unsalted butter (Land O ‘Lakes), espresso powder, salt, sugar, pure vanilla extract and a parchment lined springform pan. ¬†VERY simple ingredients!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get a pot of simmering water going on the stove. ¬†Go ahead and line your springform pan with parchment on the bottom, lightly butter it and set aside. ¬†Next…separate your eggs. ¬†You’ll need egg whites in a standing mixer bowl. ¬†And your yolks in another bowl. ¬†For the yolks, add 1/2 of your sugar, your vanilla and salt. ¬†Beat this mixture (about 3 minutes) until they are thick and creamy and kind of pale yellow in color.

Now get the chocolate and butter melted and mixed together in the double boiler. ¬†All I do is get the water to a soft boil, cut the temp down to a simmer, place one of my Pyrex bowls on top of the pot and drop in the chocolate & butter and mix it until smooth! ¬†Really Simple…and it doesn’t take long to melt…and it doesn’t stick to the Pyrex!

Can I Just Lick This Bowl?

Can I Just Lick This Bowl?

Now…once this is melted, set aside for just a minute or two. ¬†Next, ¬†get those egg whites beaten with the mixer so you have some stiff peaks. ¬†I usually put my KitchenAid Mixer on medium speed for 3-4 minutes…then add the rest of my sugar and turn it on high until I get this beauty below. ¬†Stiff Peaks. ¬†Isn’t that a beautiful sight?

Those are Some Stiff Peaks!

Those are Some Stiff Peaks!

Now you need to incorporate the chocolate to the yolks. ¬†Do this a little at a time. ¬†Since the mixture is still a little warm…you don’t want a scrambled egg chocolate cake! ¬†That doesn’t really say “I Love You” (To. Anyone). ¬†By adding the chocolate a little at a time, you temper the eggs so they don’t scramble. ¬†Add a few scoops of the chocolate and beat the mixture for about a minute. ¬†Then continue this process until all of the chocolate is added. ¬†Take this mixture and fold it into the egg whites with a spatula. ¬†Don’t over mix! ¬†You don’t want to lose the air from those beautiful egg whites! ¬†Just fold until the mixture looks mixed together. ¬†Then pour into your pan, place in the oven…and WAIT. ¬†Sigh….

And Now You Wait

And Now You Wait

Bake this for 40 minutes. ¬†Or until it’s spongy. ¬†But seriously…it won’t be much longer than 40 minutes unless you are in the mountains. ¬†Once it’s done, let it REST. ¬†Cool that beautiful cake down. ¬†Don’t touch it! It’s going to crack and fall. ¬†It’s SUPPOSED to. ¬†But make sure it is cool before you remove the springform pan.

And Presto!!! ¬†I add a little chocolate sauce, raspberries, strawberries, a little Amish jam heated up with water, whipped cream, ice cream. ¬†Or JUST. BY. ITSELF. ¬†Whatever you feel like adding! ¬†It’s rich. ¬†So you don’t need much of anything!!! ¬†It really is an ooey, gooey, chocolatey, yummy cake!

I'm Not Sure It Can Get Much Better

I’m Not Sure It Can Get Much Better

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, Y’ALL! ¬†Let me know what you think! ¬†Enjoy!

No Flour Chocolate Espresso Cake

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Credit: Simple Southern Living

5 Large Eggs Separated
5 Tbsp Unsalted Butter Plus a Tbsp for greasing the pan
5 oz of Semi Sweet Baking Chocolate
2 Tbsp Espresso Powder
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1 Cup of Sugar Divided in Half
1 Tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract

1. Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees.
2. Separate Whites and Yolks of Eggs into 2 Bowls.  
3. Melt Chocolate and Butter in a Double Boiler until Smooth, then Set Aside for a Couple of Minutes. 4. Beat the Egg Whites on Medium for 3-4 Minutes until Soft Peaks Form.  
5. Then Add 1/2 cup of Sugar to Whites and Beat on High until you have Stiff Peaks. ¬†Don’t Over Mix.
6. Then Beat Yolks with 1/2 cup of Sugar, Vanilla, Salt & Espresso Powder Until Thick & Creamy. About 3 Minutes.  
7. Add Chocolate Mixture a Few Scoops at a Time then Beat so that Eggs are Tempered in the Mixture and NOT Scrambled.  
8. Continue to Repeat until all Chocolate is Incorporated and Mixed Well.
9. Fold in Chocolate Mixture to the Egg Whites.  Be Careful Not to Over Mix so that the Air is Gone from the Egg Whites.  
10. Once the Mixture is Combined Well, Pour into the Greased Springform Pan.  
11. Bake for 40 Minutes or until Cake is Spongy.  
12. Remove from Heat and Cool Completely Before Removing the Springform.  
13. Serve with Chocolate Sauce, Ice Cream, Whipped Cream or By Itself!