Guppy told me he wanted a strawberry cake for his 7th birthday, so I showed him a picture of The Pink Lady Cake at Smitten Kitchen.
I didn’t call it the Pink Lady, because he’s a seven year old boy. I’m all for gender boundaries coming down and boys embracing pink, but really, it’s called the Pink Lady, and that sounds like a cocktail cougars would drink at a male strip club, not a little boy’s birthday cake. Instead, it got the somewhat unwieldy handle Strawberry Cake with Cream-Cheese Frosting.
But in my head, I gave it a tough name, since it was such a girly cake. I decided to call it the Bada$$ Motherf!@#er cake in my head, which amused me because I’m immature that way.
Anyhoo, the BAMF cake nearly broke my trusty 20+ yo Kitchenaid mixer (the only good thing I’ve ever bought from Kitchenaid. Made in USA back then. Go figure.) My 4.5-quart mixer was too small for the three-layer cake recipe, and adding pureed frozen strawberries to the batter made the melted butter freeze up. I thought the motor was going to quit on me, but I stopped, did math, cut everything by 1/3, warmed the batter in the microwave to defrost the strawberries, filled two cake pans, then made the last 1/3 batter separately to fill the last pan, and voila: Macgyver Mom + Math = Success.
Then there was the requisite assembling and frosting and when finished, it looked like this:
Two-Layer Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Filling (or, if you wish, The Bada$$ Motherf&*^er Cake)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Sky High. For the strawberries, take about half of a 10-ounce bag of frozen berries, defrost them at room temperature or in the microwave, then puree to get one cup. If you have leftover cream cheese frosting, get graham crackers, put a tablespoon between 2 squares, repeat until you run out of frosting, then freeze. You’re welcome.
For the cake
3 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup pureed thawed frozen strawberries*
6 egg whites
scant 1/2 cup milk
For the cream cheese frosting
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
Make the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350»F. Butter two 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pans. Line with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend the ingredients. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes; the batter will resemble strawberry ice cream at this point.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites and milk to blend. Add the whites to the batter in two or three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorporate after each addition. Divide the batter among the two prepared pans.
4. Bake the cakes for 30 to 34 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper liners. Let stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least an hour.
Make the cream cheese frosting
5. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.
Frost and assemble the cake
6. Place one cake layer on a cake board or platter. Tuck scraps of waxed paper under the edges of the cake to protect the board or plate from any mess created while frosting the cake. Spread about 2/3 cup frosting over the layer, spreading it to the edge. Add the second layer then frost the top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. You can decorate the cake top with thinly-sliced strawberries. What you should not do is take some of the strawberry puree in a pastry bag and try to decorate the cake with that because it will look like strawberry vomit. Remove the waxed strips to reveal a clean cake board.
Once cut, you can see it was a perfectly respectable 3-layer pink-ish cake. I did not add red food coloring to increase the pink. Even so, a handful of 7yo boys at the party refused it, saying they didn’t like strawberry. I don’t know if this was code for “I’m not going to eat that girly cake.” So, nice, I work really hard on this cake, and then little boys REFUSE CAKE. Happily, Guppy enjoyed it, so that’s all that matters.
But, you may notice that this recipe calls for 6 egg whites, so, doing math, the 3 layer cake called for 8. I had 8 egg yolks left over. What was I going to do?
It was there my troubles began. TO BE CONTINUED.