Monday, April 22, 2013

Strawberry Cake

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Many times when I've asked someone what their favorite flavor of cake is they reply ...


I've never been one to make that choice as I naturally lean more toward the chocolate varieties but I must say that this fresh strawberry cake could make me a convert.

I found the origin of this recipe several years ago and over time have tweaked and changed it up a bit until I have it just like I like it.  It starts very simply with a cake mix and becomes an incredibly moist and flavor-full dessert.  I have tried several types of frosting but find that it's hard to beat a good basic buttercream.

Strawberry Cake
1 box (18.25 ounce) white cake mix
1 3-ounce package strawberry jello
1 cup pureed fresh strawberries, including juice
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
4 large eggs
1 cup unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup seedless strawberry jam
4-5 strawberries, thinly sliced

Combine cake mix and dry jello in a large mixing bowl.  Add pureed strawberries with juice, oil and milk.  Beat on medium speed until blended.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Stir in coconut and pecans. Pour batter into three 9-inch cake pans that are greased and either floured or lined with wax paper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until lightly browned.  Set on wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes.  Remove each layer from pans onto wire rack and let cool completely.

Basic Buttercream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 pound confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat butter on medium speed until creamy.  Reduce speed and gradually add sugar, then vanilla, mixing until well blended.  Add more sugar if needed if frosting appears too thin.

To assemble:
Place a small dollop of frosting in center of cake plate to anchor the first cake layer.  Spread half of strawberry jam over first layer to within 1/2-inch of the edge.  Top with a spread of buttercream and place sliced strawberries around outer edge.  Place second layer on top and repeat jam, frosting and sliced strawberry topping.  

Put third layer in place and spread top and sides with a thin layer of frosting to seal the crumbs.  Refrigerate a few minutes then cover cake with remaining buttercream.

Linking up at ...
Time to Sparkle #6
Lady Behind the Curtain's Cast Party #88
Thursday's Treasures #83
Mix It Up Monday
Gooseberry Patch Memorial Day Roundup
Six Sisters' Strut Your Stuff Saturday
Saturday Spotlight #27


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Frozen Caramel Delight

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I received this pie recipe ages ago from our dear friend Jeanne.


By the way, that's the French spelling of Jean ... an inside joke.

The pie didn't have an official name, so I dubbed it "Jeanne's Frozen Delight".

For April's dessert challenge using caramel and pretzels, this was the first recipe that came to mind.  I have modified it slightly by using a pretzel crust instead of the regular pie shell it calls for.

I also felt it needed a new name so this luscious concoction is now ...  

Frozen Caramel Delight submitted for the third Dessert Challenge from
Lady Behind the Curtain ...
Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge

Frozen Caramel Delight
5 cups salted pretzels, or enough to yield about 3 cups crushed
1/2 cup sugar
3 sticks butter, divided
1 - 7 ounce bag sweetened coconut
3/4 cups pecans, chopped
1 - 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 - 16 ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 - 12 ounce jar of caramel ice cream topping

For the crust:
Lightly spray two 9-inch pie pans with a non-stick cooking spray.  Melt two sticks of butter and set aside.  Place pretzels in a food processor and pulse until finely crushed.  Measure out 3 cups of crumbs into a medium bowl.  Add sugar and melted butter, and stir until mixed well.  Divide pretzel mix evenly between the two prepared pie pans, pressing evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pans.  Bake at 350 degrees 12-14 minutes until set.  Cool completely.

For the topping:
Melt the third stick of butter in a medium-sized skillet.  Add coconut and chopped pecans.  Cook until golden brown, stirring frequently.  Set aside to cool.

For the filling:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and condensed milk until well blended.  Fold in thawed whipped topping.

To assemble:
Layer 1/2 of the filling mix, divided evenly between the two cooled pie crusts. Top each with 1/2 of the caramel sauce, again divided between the two pies. Repeat layers.  Sprinkle half of the coconut mixture on top of each pie and press lightly into filling.  To garnish, push pretzels around the edge between crust and filling.  Freeze overnight.

Let pies sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before slicing.

Since I was not able to pack all of the ingredients into said pie shells, and I promise I tried really hard, I was forced to make myself a small parfait from the leftovers.  Ah, the sacrifices we make ...

Linking up at:
Weekend Potluck
Strut Your Stuff Saturday
Time to Sparkle #5
Thursday's Treasures
Mix It Up Monday

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Baked Italian Sub

My teenager loves this sandwich.

And so does his Mom because it is a super easy, super quick way to fill him up.

And it can be easily adapted to whatever we happen to have in the refrigerator that week.  But here is how it usually stacks up ...

Start with a loaf of ciabatta bread from the deli, sliced in half lengthwise. Spread both sides generously with pesto sauce.

Layer slices of turkey and provolone cheese on both sides.  Top one side with slices of pepperoni and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Place both sides together, pressing down slightly.  Wrap completely in foil and bake in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Slice horizontally into 4-6 slices.

This reheats well the next night at 400-425 degrees for about 15 minutes or until heated through.

Linking up at:
Gooseberry Patch's Sandwich Recipe Roundup