Bless its heart, it's lumpy and ugly and oh, honey...this cake will make your heart sing. Happy Birthday, Faye!
This is, technically, just a strawberry cake. Just. A. Cake. But in 2005 I made SIXTY-FIVE of these for other people. By request. I made 12 for a Master Gardener meeting and there were three left over. THEY AUCTIONED THEM OFF. No lie.
In 2006 I MIGHT have made four, because the rush was OVER. I was so sick of that cake I could scream and hey, I don't even EAT cake! Last year I eased up a bit, but not much and then I found myself making the second of three for this week and thought, "Whoa. It's time to put on the brakes!"
So here, by request, is That Damn Cake. That's how it's entered in my cookbook program, and it's what the kids call it. That Damn Cake.
It really IS good, and there are a couple of factors I think make a difference. You can't make cake with fresh strawberries. Can't control the ripeness and you sure can't control the moisture. Fresh strawberries just...take up space. Ugly, soggy, frozen berries, on the other hand, have something to PROVE. By george. And they do a very good job of it.
Another thing is the tube pan. A friend of mine who caters said she thinks that helps because there's less surface area to release moisture. That works for me. So here. Have at it but I'm WARNING you, these things can get you in trouble.
That Damn Cake
1 box white cake mix
1 small box strawberry jello
2/3 cup vegetable oil
4 egg whites
1 bag frozen strawberries
1 box confectioners sugar
1 stick butter
4 ounces cream cheese
Dump the frozen strawberries into a bowl and coarsely chop. Let thaw. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a tube pan...and I don't mean spray it with Pam. Get a sandwich bag, put it over your hand and scoop up a hunk of Crisco. Smear that baby down, making sure to get the bends and curves. Dump in a handful of flour, tap around until all the Crisco is coated with flour and then tap to empty the remaining flour. If you DON'T do this, it's gonna stick. I promise.
In a mixing bowl, put cake mix, jello, oil, egg whites and one cup strawberries. Beat until smooth, about 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides. Pour into the tube pan and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, let rest in the pan for 10 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.
While the cake is baking, mix butter, cream cheese, 1/2 cup strawberries and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy. Refrigerate.
Take the remaining strawberries, sprinkle them with one teaspoon sugar and set aside.
When the cake cools, use a long serrated knife to slice it into two layers. Spoon the reserved strawberries onto the bottom layer. Spoon about 1-1/2 cups icing (thereabouts) onto the bottom layer, top with the top layer and ice the entire cake. It has to be refrigerated!
Yes, you can use two round cake pans instead of the tube pan but it's just not the same. This may be the same principle as the woman who cut off the end of her ham to bake it, but I promise you...people who don't eat cake will GROAN for this one.
Just ask City Girl.
(A P.S. as of January 17th...I made one of these yesterday for my nephew's birthday, and when I opened the cabinet the only cake mix in there was a Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Butter Recipe Golden. So I used it, ASSUMING no one would notice the difference and...they did. For the better; they said the moistness and density was better. Since I don't EAT cake I don't know this, but these people have been eating this cake through it's many evolutions for 40 years and they probably know. ALSO, the strawberries that go in between the layers? I left them in a bowl out on the counter and the little kids ate them. So I spread a couple of tablespoons of black cherry jelly in between, instead, and THAT was a hit, too. Like I said...recipes aren't orders, so much as directional suggestions!)