Tuesday, May 19, 2009

haley's strawberry cream cake...

This one turned 13 this past Saturday...
Why is she dressed up like an "Uber" cat you ask?
I'll share more on that later!

First, I want to share

this with you!

She (my "Uber" cat) requested a strawberry cake
for her birthday... and for a split second time stood still.
I began to have flashbacks of this time last year when she
requested the same thing. It was a typical hot and humid
Dallas day in May. I was not quite three months pregnant and
smack dab in the middle of morning sickness... yuck!
I had flashbacks of me pulling it together long enough to make phone
calls and run all over town trying to find my baby girl the strawberry cake
she wanted for her 12th birthday. Finally, with no luck, I settled
on some sort of fancy chocolate thing from Central Market.
She said it was ok.

That is... until this year when asked, "What kind of cake do you want"?
And with no hesitation the reply was, "Strawberry"!
And that's when I started having flashbacks of this time last year...
Wait!? Didn't I already say that? Oh yeah... sorry!

So, after finding several strawberry cake recipes on
the internet that sounded good, I decided to do a little combining
and add a few of my own ideas. Basically, I was throwing
caution to the wind and hoping for the best...
but first, I needed some coffee and an open Saturday morning.
Lucky for her, I had both!

Yes, this is sifted flour...
and just so you know, if I sift for you... I love you!

I'm just sayin'... it is what it is!

Here's what you'll need for the cake...

*Haley's Strawberry Cream Cake*

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 cups sifted Cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons strawberry extract
1 cup strawberry preserves

Here's what you'll need for the in-between filling...

1 pound of strawberries, stemmed
1/2 cup sugar

Here's what you'll need for the frosting...

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
16 ounces powered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 teaspoons strawberry extract

~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
~ Butter and flour two 9 inch cake pans.
(Sorry, no picture of this step.)
(Oh, and let me apologize before we get started...
this is an unusually long post but I wanted to
give it to you step by step for this cake.)

~ In a mixing bowl, cream butter and gradually add sugar
creaming until light and fluffy.

~ Add eggs one a a time, beating well after each addition.

~ In another bowl, combine the sifted flour, baking powder and salt.

(Sorry, no picture for this step either.)

~ Add flour mixture alternately with milk, yogurt and flavorings
to creamed mixture, beating after each addition until smooth...

Here's an example for you...

Add flour mixture to creamed butter and sugar. Blend well.
Add milk. Blend well.
Add four. Blend.
Add yogurt. Blend.
Add more flour. Blend.
Add vanilla with a little milk. Blend well.
Add a little more flour. Blend.

Add strawberry extract. Blend.
Add more milk or yogurt. Blend. I'm sure you get the picture...

Add the preserves with the remaining milk or yogurt or flour,
whatever is left and... you know!

~ Pour batter into cake pans.
~ Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until center is set.

~ Cool 10 minutes. Remove to cooling rack.

While the cakes are baking go ahead and prep the strawberry filling...

~ Stem and wash one pound of strawberries.

~ Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of sugar and mix well.
~ Let set for about 30 minutes.
~ Mash strawberries with fork and sprinkle with other 1/4 cup sugar.
~ Let set for another 20 minutes or more.

Make the frosting...

~ Combine cream cheese and butter in a
medium mixing bowl until creamy.

~ Slowly add powdered sugar, vanilla and strawberry
extract until very light and fluffy.

~ Spread the strawberry and sugar filling mixture
over the tops of each of the cakes.
~ Put in freezer for about 5 minutes to let set...
just to make the frosting go smoother.

~ Frost the top of the first layer.

~ Stack the second layer on and continue frosting until finished.


I mean, you're gonna really enjoy this one!
It's SO worth the time and effort... I promise!


Friday, May 15, 2009

refried beans...

Refried beans my way... Now!

For as long as I've been serving refried beans,
I would always just grab the can, open it up,
plop 'em in a bowl, microwave and serve.

Well, NO LONGER! No-sirree... not anymore.
For I've got a new way (and maybe this is how you're
supposed to make 'em... maybe I'm just slow???).

First, I melt several tablespoons of butter...

(Ahhhh, butter. Wonderful, creamy, buttery butter.
This is the reason you won't catch me bearing my thighs
for the world to see this summer!)

I make sure my heat is on low!

Second, I grab my can of refried beans... any ol' brand will do!
Believe me, I've tried most all of them... they're all about the same.
But! If you have a preference, then, by all means, use your favorite!

Third, just dump the beans into the melted butter...

and finally, mix well until creamy.
Oh. My.

Oh yeah... and don't forget to add salt and pepper to your liken!

Serve with your favorite Mexican dish!

And don't blame me if your thighs hate you the next day! :)

Have a happy Friday!

Monday, May 11, 2009

straight from the heart...

Gifts that come from the heart are best.

Especially when they come from our children.

ESPECIALLY from one that spent a muggy
afternoon at "Crud Wars"... more on THAT later!

One that, by nature, isn't a "night owl".

But you happen to catch her up late, rubbing her face,
and working diligently as you head for dreamland yourself.

She tells you, "I'm trying to finish my project".

And she was...

A "project" for mom.

That will mean more than she will ever know.

"Dear Mommy,
I hope you have the BEST Mother's Day you've had yet!
You are the prettiest, nicest, most loving and caring mother
I could ask you to be!! I always have a good cooked dinner
and nice clothes & clean room. And even though I'm bratty
and whiney sometimes, I just want to let you know how much
I Love and apreciate you!
-Love Haley."

Man-oh-man, do I love that girl!

Hope all my magnificent MOM friends and family had a Happy Day!