Thursday was spent working on cakes. The cakes I make are almost all layer cakes. I make a few pound cakes, cheese cakes, cupcakes, pies and a bit of candy, too - but the real income enhancers are mostly layer cakes, with or without homemade specialty fillings and icings. They're heavy; a single sheet of cardboard won't hold even a small one and so I cut my own from industrial cardboard salvaged, i.e. snatched, from the
This week I had four rather large cakes to get out. One of them was for Darla's step-daughter, Kara. Darla is quickly approaching forty-something. We go way back. She's the baby in her family too, so she understands very well the mistaken opinion folks have of thinking you're spoiled simply because you're the baby. When she was in my mother's kindergarten, her own mom had to be at work well before the school and kindergarten day started. She was dropped off at our house, still asleep more often than not. Mama would put her in bed with me and we'd finish our sleeps together. We'd lollygag about getting out of bed and stress Mama's last good nerve at trying to get me to school and her and Darla to the kindergarten on time.
Over the years, there were several youngsters that piled up in the bed with me in the early hours of the morning when their own mamas had to get to work. When you take children in your care, the way Mama did and I do now, they become your own for the day and get treated just like yours - actually better, because you're done with them at the end of 10 or 12 hours and get a bit of rest when they go home. I don't know if it bothered Mama or not, taking in a child that early, perhaps I should ask her. I don't think it did, though. She still loves those also-aging ladies as well as she did when they were in her care.
Anyways. Darla's Kara and my oldest son graduated high school together and I feel like I know her pretty well. Her favorite cake is a butter cake with strawberry filling and cream cheese icing. This is all about the strawberry filling. I'm sharing my recipe with you. See? I'm not spoiled at all! AND, before going any further - this is the way I do it, okay? Once you make it, it becomes your recipe. Cook it the way you like; amend the ingredients. It's no skin off my back and I'll be absolutely tickled you thought enough of it to try it anyways. Hmmmm... Maybe I am a little spoiled?
This is what you'll need:
And an 8 cup measuring cup for the microwave. Or you can cook it on the stove. But who likes standing there stirring and waiting for something to boil and thicken? Nuke the stuff!
Put the dry ingredients in a food processor and give it a little whiz to get the granulated sugar, potato starch, and strawberry jello all mixed together.
I used to use corn starch and it is easily substituted here by adding another tablespoon (or is it two?). I've a grand niece with severe food allergies that I'm slowly but surely adapting lots of recipes to become Caroline-friendly. This is one of them.
You can do this with a whisk. I like the food processor, though, because I like a smmmmooth (<-- two syllable word there) strawberry filling. Add the strawberries to the dry stuff and process until **giggle** smooth.
There's the large measuring cup. A couple of years ago Pampered Chef parties were all the rage in the area. I purchased two of these. They've been in constant use. Pour the amalgamation of strawberries and sugar and potato starch and jello into the measuring cup and cook on high in the microwave for ten minutes. Stir it and put it back in for two minute intervals several times or until it looks like this:
It's very thick. Some recipes for cooked fruit fillings add flavorings and butter at this point. It's up to you.
Cover with plastic wrap to keep from forming a nasty hard skin on top and let cool. To assemble a cake, pipe a border of icing around the edges to keep the filling from oozing out the sides, add filling, and smooth out to edge.
It looks like an 'a' doesn't it? Not a script A, either, just an 'a' for awesome.
Repeat with rest of cake layers.
In my fervor to get the process documented I forgot to take the photo of the crumb coated cake. To decorate a cake pretty, it needs a thin coating of icing slathered on all the exposed surfaces to set firmly and seal all the crumbs in place. Or I do, at least.
Decorate as desired.
Those ingredients are:
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons (or roughly half a small box) strawberry jello
8 tablespoons potato starch
24 ounces sweetened sliced strawberries
Combine dry ingredients in food processor and pulse a few times to thoroughly mix. Add strawberries and process until smooth. Pour into microwave safe container and heat on high for 10 minutes. Stir. Return to microwave for 2 minutes, stir again, and repeat until thick. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool.
So that's the big thing I've done for myself and the blogosphere this week: actually write down a recipe I've eyeballed for several years and post it for posterity's sake.
These were the other cakes done Thursday and early this Friday morning:
And one last thing: I turned the air conditioner on. I had said I was going to wait until I was miserably hot to turn it on, until all that miserable cold from January and February in the Deep South couldn't possibly be recollected. But the cakes demanded less humidity. The condensation on the crumb coat formed the moment they were brought out of the refrigerator and was a barrier to decorating. I had to turn it on. For the sake of the cakes. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.