Tag Archives: strawberry

Rainbow Tie-Dye Cake!

2 Feb

I jumped on the rainbow wagon to make this delicious cake for a friend a couple months ago. (Yes, a couple months ago — sorry, I lost the pictures till now. Geez. Back off.)

My friend, Julia, gets super excited about rainbows and colors in general, so I surprised her. I figured it would be a lot of work, so I did cut one pretty big corner: I started with a white cake mix. I mixed the batter according to package directions, and then divided the batter into 6 bowls. Then I dyed each bowl with gel food coloring, mixing a healthy dollop into each bowl until it looked like the right color. (Use gel instead of regular dye — you won’t need to use as much, so it won’t water down your batter.) Though I’ve seen neon, which looks pretty cool, I went with traditional ROYGBIV colors. Except I combined indigo and violet into one color, since they’re pretty much the same anyway.

Working backwards... VBVBG VBGYVBGYOVBGYOR. Or... ROYGBV.

After I mixed each color, I poured each layer into a bundt pan one at a time. (And yes, I did it in rainbow order.) I tried to pour it relatively gently so that the layers wouldn’t mix. But I didn’t worry too much about it because I wanted them to swirl a little to get a tie-dye look.

Bundt layers: VGBY

Red

I set the cake to bake according to package directions, and while it was in the oven, I got started on the strawberry buttercream frosting.

The cake passed the toothpick test, so I pulled it out to cool for 10 minutes or so. Then I flipped it out of the pan. I noticed that it didn’t rise very much in the oven. I probably over-stirred it while trying to get the colors mixed well. So word of warning — stir the colors in, but try not to over-stir.

After I frosted it, I thought it looked a little plain for something so super fantastic as a tie dye rainbow cake, so I added rainbow sprinkles on top. DOUBLE RAINBOW.

Rainbow Cake!

ALL THE WAY.

Peace, dude.

I really love that the end on the right almost looks like a peace sign. I’ll just pretend I did that intentionally.

The frosting really takes the cake (ha), so if you didn’t want the hassle of a full rainbow, you could just use any white cake recipe you like. Enjoy!

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Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

31 Jan

O. M. G. This is so good, and so worth the hassle. Bear in mind that since it calls for fresh strawberries, the quality of your strawberry is going to be really important. You may want to save this one for the summer time. But, one reason I wanted to post this now is because it’s pretty common for grocery stores to get shipments of decent quality strawberries for Valentine’s Day. So if you’re looking for a seasonally appropriate frosting, this may be a great pick.

First, set out a stick of butter to soften and prepare your strawberries. I first cup them up, discarding the stems and slicing the rest into manageable pieces.  My pieces measure up to about 1/2 cup strawberries. (I would buy at least a pint, but probably two, just to make sure you have enough.) Then I use the back of a spoon to push the strawberry chunks through a fine-mesh sieve. The strawberry goo that comes out the other side of the sieve is exactly what you’re looking for.

Start out with 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter. Add it to your mixing bowl with 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Beat with a hand mixer until soft and creamy. Then alternately add 4 cups powdered sugar and the strawberry goo, using the hand mixer to incorporate the new additions. That should do it, but of course you could add extra sugar, strawberries, or vanilla to your taste preference.

The frosting is a beautiful light pink color, usually with some pink specks in it. But since you pressed the strawberries through the sieve, it’s nice and smooth.

I topped vanilla cupcakes with this frosting for a pink-themed bridal shower:

Strawberry and Coconut Cupcakes

And I topped my rainbow tie-dye cake with some strawberry frosting:

Rainbow Cake with Strawberry Frosting

Fresas deliciosas!

Filet Mignon with Port-Strawberry Reduction

29 Jun

Alright, so I made this a while back, got lazy about posting it, lost the pictures and thought I’d just wait to post till I made it again, eventually decided I should just post it since strawberries are nearly out of season, and then couldn’t find the recipe. Obviously I simply do not have it all together for strawberries. But I’ll tell you this recipe the best I can remember, and if I ever get around to making it again, I’ll post the pictures and we’ll pretend this never happened.

[UPDATE: I found the pictures! They were on my digital camera. Obvious, right?]

I do remember that the first time I made this, my big mistake was that the reduction took wayyy longer than I thought it would, and the steaks were finished for quite some time before the reduction was presentable. Because a sauce can just sit in the stove and simmer for a while, I recommend going ahead and making the reduction in advance and grilling the steaks when it looks about ready.

Strawberries!

Sliced Strawberries!

In a sauce pot, I heated 1 1/2 cups port wine over medium-low heat. If you’re not picky, you could substitute any red wine, really, preferably on the sweeter side. I added in 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup sliced strawberries (cut to the size you prefer — I like them small), 1 diced shallot, and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme. I let this cook down till it was thick like a sauce rather than a runny liquid. It took about half an hour over medium-low heat.

Simmering Strawberries! Sounds like my new curse word.

When it looked about done, I seasoned two small filet mignon steaks (you can use whatever cut you prefer) with salt and pepper and then sent the BF out to the grill to cook them to about medium-rare. When they were finished, we served the steaks with a spoonful of the port-strawberry reduction on top and accompanied with rice pilaf. Very tasty, plus, it gave the rice some flavor as well. The BF was very happily surprised that I served red meat, and I was happy with the fruit reduction served with it!

Filet Mignon with Port Strawberry Reduction

I acknowledge that it looks a little gross like blood. But it’s really tasty, I promise. And I thought even this was a bit watery, but I was hungry and impatient. Simmer it for a long time and it will thicken even more.

We also made this delicious salad with spinach, carrots, strawberries, walnuts, and goat cheese:

Spinach & Strawberry Salad

Bon apetit!

Fresh Strawberry-Lemon Bars

11 Jun

I was joking in my last post about how I don’t really like strawberries, but I actually do. I was just joshin’, y’all. They’re just not my fave. But if I thought I didn’t like strawberries, this dessert would totally change my mind. It took a bit of time but was way worth it. I found the original recipe in an issue of Better Homes & Gardens, and it actually called for raspberries. But I thought, Hey, strawberries are in season, and they will probably work just as well. And damn was I right! These are good!

I started off by preheating the oven to 350 F and preparing my baking pan. I lined a 13×9 inch pan with aluminum foil, making sure I had enough to hang over the edges to make handles for later.

I threw 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted organic butter into a large bowl, and then beat them with my hand mixer on medium about 30 seconds. Naturally, maybe because I forgot to cut them into chunks first, the butter got all stuck in the mixer and I had to push it all back into the bowl.

Then I added 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. I mixed that on low speed for another 30 seconds.

I added 2 cups all-purpose flour and beat on low speed until incorporated. Then I increased the speed to medium and continued mixing until it formed a dough. For a long time, it stayed really crumbly and seemed like it wasn’t going to form into a dough. I turned off the mixer and scraped the mixer and sides of the bowl. When I started mixing again, it came right together into the dough. I don’t know if it needed a break or if I just needed to keep going or what, but it worked. Since you want a bar crust and not just a crumble bottom, it’s better to over-mix then under-mix, so don’t stop too early.

Now there's a dough

Once I had a dough, I dropped it in chunks into the foil-lined baking pan. This made it easier to smooth it out into an even dough. I popped it in the oven for 20 minutes, which was the perfect amount of time to clean up and then chop 1 pint strawberries into quarters.

Dough chunksDough layer
Once the dough finished its 20 minutes, I let it cool for 5 minutes and then brushed the exposed foil with butter. Then I spread a small jar (10 oz? I don’t remember) strawberry jam evenly over the crust.

Jam layer

For the next layer, I spread the quartered strawberries evenly.

Strawberry layer

Now for the custard filling. In another large bowl, I mixed 4 oz. (1/2 package) cream cheese and 4 oz. goat cheese with a hand mixer on high for about 30 seconds. Then I added in  1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, the zest of one lemon, the juice of one lemon, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Of course when I tried to get just the egg yolk, I accidentally poured the whole egg down the drain. But take two worked just fine. And then I beat the whole mixture on medium until smooth, about one minute.

Custard

A tip or two about lemon… To zest a lemon, use a flat grater to grate the lemon peel directly into the bowl. Grate the yellow, but stop when you see white — you don’t want to use that part. To juice a lemon, roll it around on the counter under your palm, putting a bit of weight into it. This will loosen up the juices a bit. Then cut it in half and squeeze each half directly into the bowl. If you have trouble keeping seeds out of your bowl, wrap a paper towel around the lemon and squeeze the juice through it. The paper towel will hold back the seeds and any pulp.

Custard Layer

I poured the lemon custard batter evenly over the strawberries and then baked it for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I pulled them out and let them cool for about 10 minutes. I asked the BF to help me remove them from the pan — we each took an end of the foil and lifted it out, pulling it tight so it wouldn’t slide in on itself. Since I wanted to serve them for dessert and dinner was already halfway through, I stuffed them in the fridge to cool a little faster.

Strawberry Lemon Bars

When I was ready to serve, I cut them into bars and served a little piece to everyone, and omigod they were soooo good. Lots of strawberry, very lemony, really rich, and oh so sweet. But even though the goat cheese and cream cheese made it rich, the lemon also made for a pretty light, summery flavor. Deelish.

Strawberry Lemon Bar

Notes:

  • Wow, these are good. I am actually kind of surprised how much I like them considering they don’t have any chocolate.
  • I was a little skeptical that these would hold up as bars. I’m guessing I didn’t chill them long enough because they were a little runny at first. But when I chilled them again and sliced the other half the next day, they held up really well. And I figured that even if they didn’t, this would make just as delicious and satisfying a dessert if it were called a cobbler, crumble, or custard. Try them the first day with a spoonful warm out of the oven and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Then refrigerate the rest, and after they’ve chilled, try them the next day as a firm, chilled bar. Both are pretty delicious!
  • This recipe could be made the exact same way but with a variety of fruits. I’d love to try raspberries, blueberries, peaches, anything really. Maybe I’ll try this again with other seasonal produce.

Seasonal Ingredient: Strawberries (mid May – mid June)

2 Jun

Strawberries! Everyone gets excited about strawberries! They’re the first sign of spring, The Beatles love them, cartoon has-beens love them… everyone loves them! Everyone except me. I don’t love strawberries. I never did much — I prefer super sweet fruit like pineapple and watermelon rather than tart fruit, so I never ate plain strawberries. And as a kid, I basically would only eat chocolate desserts, nothing else. But now, I have an appreciation for strawberries. I enjoy many strawberry desserts and have occasionally been known to eat a plain strawberry or two.

But I still don’t love them. You know why? Because I don’t like liars or fakers. And I found out that strawberries aren’t real berries. They’ve been posing all this time. Imposters!

Posers.

Well, other than my weirdness about berry fakers, I really don’t have much to say about strawberries. We’re all pretty familiar with them. They taste good, they’re good in salads, they’re good in desserts, they’re good with chocolate, blah blah blah. I can sit here and think up a few different strawberry desserts in my head right now, but it’s a little more  a difficult to think up a meal. I’ll have to do some research and plotting, and hopefully I’ll get a few recipes posted before strawberry season ends.

Oh, and don’t forget! The strawberry is one of the dirty dozen, so buy organic!