In the words of Hannibal Smith, “I just love it when a plan comes together!” About a week ago my friend Ginny and I were working out and discussing that our friend Leah’s 30th birthday was coming up. We knew that she wasn’t thrilled about turning the big 3-0 so we decided to throw her a small surprise party. We only had 5 days to plan the party since she would be out-of-town the weekend of her birthday and we wanted to do it before she left. We brainstormed some ideas and came up with a plan. We divided up the tasks and one of my jobs was to bake the cake. Since strawberries are in season it was an easy decision to do a strawberry cake.
The hard part was deciding which strawberry cake recipe to choose. I wanted to find an easy, light recipe. I searched through some of my favorite sites and found Sweetheart Strawberry Cupcakes recipe at www.dashingdish.com. Dashing Dish is one of my favorite food blogs. The author truly has a heart for the Lord and she is so stinkin’ adorable! All the recipes are her own creation and healthy. So far, all the recipes I have tried have been great!
Her strawberry cupcake recipe couldn’t be simpler. It is just a strawberry box cake mix and red soda (diet or regular). That’s it! I had my doubts, but it was surprisingly good and really moist.
I planned to make a two layer cake, but I didn’t let one of the layers cool completely after baking and when I tried to remove it from the cake pan it broke apart. So, I had to bake another cake and ended up with three layers of cake, and decided to make a three layer cake instead of two. It worked out for the best since three layers is really the perfect height for this cake.
After deciding on the cake recipe, I had to decide how to decorate it. I am not a cake decorator. So I needed a really simple design. I searched through www.pinterest.com for ideas and came across a cake with a flower made from strawberries from Lick the Bowl Good food blog. It showed a step by step tutorial on how to make the flower. It looked so easy I knew even I could do it. Here’s how.
The party turned out great and everything came together in just a few days. I feel extremely blessed to have such good friends to share life’s milestones. Happy 30th Birthday Leah!!
adapted from: www.dashingdish.com
- Cake: -
- strawberry box cake mixes - 2
- diet or regular red soda - 2 (12 oz.) cans or 3 cups
- Icing: -
- light cool whip - 12 oz.
- sugar free vanilla pudding mix - 2 (1.4 oz.) boxes
- milk - amount needed per pudding mix
- red or pink food coloring -
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour cake pans. Beat cake mix and soda together until smooth and creamy.
- Divide the batter into four 8 or 9 inch cake pans. If you don't have four cake pans, divide the batter in half setting aside one half of the batter. Pour divided cake batter into two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.
- Bake according to instructions on box.
- While cake is baking, mix together pudding mix, milk, Cool Whip, and food coloring. Slowly beat or whisk whipped topping until all of the ingredients are just combined. (Be careful not to over mix). Add as much food coloring you need in order to get the color you desire. Chill in fridge until ready to use.
- Allow the cakes to completely cool before removing from pan or you may end up with a yummy mistake like I did! Once cooled, dump onto cooling rack.
- Regrease and flour pans and bake the rest of the batter dividing it into the 2 pans. Since this is a three layer cake you will have one layer left over. One option is to make cupcakes instead of the fourth layer or make a four layer cake. You may need to prepare more icing than the recipe calls for.
- Bake layers/cupcakes according to box instructions. Allow to cool. Once the layers are completely cooled begin assembling the cake.
- Spread a layer of icing on top of the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top of the bottom layer. Spread a layer of icing on the second layer and place the third layer on top. Cover the cake with icing. The nice thing about whipped icing is that unlike buttercream it doesn't need to be smooth to look good. Decorate with strawberries and sprinkles.
- I baked the layers the day before and wrapped them individually in plastic wrap until I was ready to assemble the cake. This made the cake super moist.
- I placed a piece of wax paper under the cake and used the paper to turn the cake while icing it. This allowed me to be able to turn the cake while decorating. After decorating the cake, I tore the wax paper so that it couldn't be seen.