It’s Bashful’s birthday today. She’s turning 23. Where did the years go? It’s so true that time flies faster the older you get. Like her namesake, Bashful is shy and sweet and kind-hearted. Been that way since she was a little girl. She spoke just fine at home, but hardly said two words outside. Without fail, every new teacher she had would call me at the beginning of each school year to ask if things were alright at home because she never said a word in class. I would have to explain that that was just her way but if they called on her to answer, she would, even if she hadn’t raised her hand. She answered in this tiny little soft-spoken voice, but she answered. She’s all grown up now but when I look at her, I still see that quiet little girl who always stood to one side silently watching the world with big, solemn eyes and a shy smile.
This morning I asked her what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday and of course, she asked for her favorite Strawberry Cream Cake. Its always been her favorite and that hasn’t changed over the years. I’m not surprised. This cake is so fabulously good. I make a moist vanilla cake for the base, use sliced fresh strawberries in the filling, and cover it up with a fluffy whipped cream frosting. It’s Yummy with a capital Y!
STRAWBERRY CREAM CAKE
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
½ cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Spray three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper, then spray the paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together until creamy.
Slowly pour in the sugar, continuing to beat until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stopping periodically to scrape down the bowl as needed.
Then add the vanilla, beating until well-combined.
Reduce speed to low and add the flour and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 additions.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing tops with a spatula.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Place cake pans on a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Invert cakes, peel off parchment paper, then re-invert so cakes are top side up.
Cool completely before frosting. Trim tops off to make cakes level if desired.
2 pints fresh strawberries
2 tbsp. sugar, or to taste
Hull, wash, and slice strawberries.
Toss in a bowl with sugar and set aside until ready to use.
Whipped Cream Frosting:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp. powdered sugar, add more or less as desired
1/2 tsp. vanilla, optional
Place mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.
Place whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl. Add more sugar if you want it sweeter or less if you want it less sweet.
Beat until stiff peaks form.
If you want really white frosting, omit the vanilla or use clear vanilla extract.
If you have cake strips, use them! They really help the cakes to rise up evenly with nice, level tops.
This is my Mom’s chocolate frosting recipe and it’s the best one ever! It takes a little time to make because it’s cooked slowly over medium to low heat until it’s thickened to a spreadable consistency, but trust me, it’s well worth the wait. It’s rich and glossy and absolutely delicious.
Mom always said it was best to use a thick, heavy-bottom pan for this frosting so the milk wouldn’t burn easily. She always reached for her orange Le Creuset cast iron saucepan when she made it. I don’t have a cast iron saucepan so I just use a regular pot and keep stirring constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn. Alternatively, you could cook this over a double boiler.
MOM’S CHOCOLATE ICING
1 cup sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
1 can evaporated milk
3 egg yolks
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
Using a wire whisk, mix together sugar, cocoa powder and evaporated milk in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
In a small bowl, beat egg yolks with the whisk.
When chocolate mixture just begins to boil, pour one-third of it into the bowl with the beaten egg yolks and mix well. This tempers the yolks which keeps them from turning into scrambled eggs.
Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan and combine with the rest of the chocolate mixture.
Return to flame and add butter.
Keep cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes back to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and continue simmering, stirring till mixture reaches spreading consistency.
Cool completely before frosting cake. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the top of the frosting, or stir it constantly while it’s cooling to prevent a skin from forming on the top.
This is the yummiest chocolate cake filling ever! It’s so good, you could eat it by the spoonful! And we do, believe me. Whenever I make this, I’m constantly swatting hands away while it’s cooling. The family can hardly wait for me to put it on the cake. I have to be vigilant and watch out for fingers sneaking into the pot to scoop out a little mouthful or I end up not having enough filling for my cake! It’s gotten so that now I always just make a double recipe so there’ll be some extra left over for the sneaky fingers to eat by the spoonful after I’ve filled the cake. Keeps everyone happy that way.
Mom always made this filling for her cookie monster chocolate cake, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use it to fill a yellow cake or white cake, or even sandwich it between two cookies! Ooh! The ideas are pouring in!
MOM’S MOCHA FILLING
½ cup sugar
3 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. instant coffee
1 can evaporated milk
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk together the sugar, flour and instant coffee using a wire whisk.
Add the evaporated milk and butter, and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly to keep it from burning. Don’t be tempted to raise the fire to speed up the process. This burns fast so just take your time and stir slowly so your arm won’t feel like it’s going to fall off.
Keep cooking until mixture begins to boil; then let boil for 3-5 minutes while stirring slowly and continuously with the wire whisk. This takes a little time so be patient.
Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before using. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the top of the filling or stir it constantly while it’s cooling to prevent a skin from forming on the top.