Since our last two posts were about Kraft brand recipes, I happened across this recipe on their site while researching for the ‘ole blog and thought it might be a cute idea for Valentine’s Day. That’s right, folks! The official Day of Luv is practically breathing down our necks and it’s time to figure out what special things we might like to do. You know, if that’s your thing and all. If it’s not – no big! This cake can make a great birthday cake, a cake for celebrating an anniversary or just because this cake is stupidly delicious and we like to eat it. Because it’s like a siren’s call we can’t resist. Especially when it’s in your fridge. Some of this cake is still in my fridge….help!
And now, fellow cake lovers, I must insert my usual disclaimer about how I can’t really make or decorate a cake to save my life. But this cake was actually a lot of fun to make. I debated whether trying everything from scratch as opposed to going with a box cake mix and Cool Whip for the frosting, but honestly, this was good practice for going through the whole process, and we didn’t involve any more time than necessary for said practice. The bonus round is this turned out to be a pretty darn good cake, too.
So the first step is to get those cake layers made and baked. If you too go the boxed route, congrats, it’s a pretty easy stretch of baking road at this point. Just follow those box directions and yippyyyyy.
Where the recipe will deviate from the standard boxed cake directions is here. A box of strawberry gelatin is mixed with half of the cake batter to create what will be that strawberry swirl.
There’s a great video on making this cake at Kraft’s site, so be sure to click the source link below and watch it. As they indicate in the video, to get that strawberry-swirl effect, pour half the strawberry batter on one side of the cake pan, white cake batter in the other side. Repeat with the second pan.
With the back of a small spoon, starting in either the white side or the pink, pull the spoon through to swirl the two colors together. Don’t overdo the swirling or the cake will just be pink, also advice from the Kraft folks. Trust me, I know how easy it is to over swirl. It’s kind of fun.
Our cake layers needed about an hour total to completely cool. As you can see, the swirls managed to stay in the cakes fairly well. They’re kind of like this yin/yang swirly effect.
Your fresh strawberries – slice them, precioussss! We did ours pretty thin, about an 1/8 of an inch or less. These will get placed in a single layer between the cake layers. On top of a layer of frosting. They really add a terrific texture and flavor to the cake. If you core the berries completely, they make cute little heart shapes too when they’re sliced.
The frosting is a whole tub of thawed Cool Whip, some sour cream and powdered sugar. While I’m not the biggest Cool Whip fan, this was actually the easiest frosting I’ve worked with yet in terms of spreading and frosting cakes. The consistency was perfect. No need for us to refrigerate it any, just mix it up and dab it on.
I had so much fun frosting this cake. I’ve got no delusions that it’s the Best Frosting Job Ever, but we were pretty happy with how it turned out in the end.
The pic above is actually the bottom layer, which gets one cup of frosting first.
That one cup of frosting gets a delicious layer of the fresh sliced berries.
Carefully top the bottom layer and its goodies with the other layer of cake, rounded side down. This is so that the top of your cake will be nice and flat for frosting.
Rotating your cake stand as needed, start with frosting piled in the center of the cake, frosting outward to the edge. I quickly realized I need to buy a longer offset spatula, but the mini worked well enough.
As for the sides, I just continued to plop frosting to them, smoothing them with the offset spatula each time. I did a thin layer (not actually a crumb layer, but close…ish) first that also allowed me to fill in the area between the layers, and then I went back with another layer for slightly thicker coverage. I still need some practice – OK a lot – but this cake frosting exercise went so much better this time for me than past tries.
From this point we decided to refrigerate the cake for about an hour to help the frosting set up more before cutting into it. Another hour on top of that would have been good, too, but it was getting int mid afternoon already. Even easy cakes take time!
We thought this turned out so pretty – and pretty tasty! The strawberry gelatin mixed in isn’t as kuPOW of a flavor as you might think, but it’s still good and a nice contrast to the white cake and light frosting.
The frosting got rave reviews on Kraft’s site, and I have to agree. It surprised me with how good it turned out. The sour cream pretty much makes it shine, you can just barely taste a hint of it through the Cool Whip, and overall it’s not too sweet at all. This held up pretty well in the fridge. Like most cakes, you probably want to bring it to room temp or close before serving. I’d say no more than a few days in the fridge will allow the best taste before it’s done (though of course the best serving will be the day of or after). We were pretty happy with how this cake turned out. I’d make it again – always a sure sign of a good recipe.
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: about 30 minutes Cool Time: one hour Level: Easy Makes: 16 servings
- 1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix
- 1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
- 2/3 cup BREAKSTONE’S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
- 1-1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
Heat oven to 350°F.
Grease and flour 2 (8- or 9-inch) round pans. Prepare cake batter as directed on package; pour half into medium bowl. Add dry gelatin mix; stir until well blended. Spoon half the white batter and half the pink batter, side by side, into each prepared pan; swirl gently with spoon.
Bake 30 min. Cool 30 min. in pans. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
Mix sour cream and sugar in medium bowl until well blended. Gently stir in Cool Whip. Place 1 cake layer on plate; spread top with 1 cup of the Cool Whip mixture. Cover with 1 cup berries and remaining cake layer. Frost with remaining Cool Whip mixture; top with remaining berries.
To grease and flour our cake pans, I softened a couple pats of butter, a little less than one tablespoon each, and smeared these into the entire cake pan, sides included. Next, spoon about an 1/8 of a cup of all-purpose flour into the pan and start the shake the pan, spreading the flour around the bottom till evenly coated. To flour the sides, over your trash can or sink, turn the cake pans sideways and gently tap against the pan with one hand while rotating it around with the other, allowing the remaining flour to coat the sides as you turn. Discard excess flour by turning it over your trash can, gently tapping the pan on the bottom or shaking it to help release the flour.
Don’t forget that you need the ingredients for making the cake itself if you use the box mix, which might differ slightly from brand to brand. Make sure to look at the box directions to see what you need (eggs and oil usually). We did bake ours the thirty minutes indicated in the recipe above (we used 9.5 inch round pans; once baked, cakes were closer to 9 inches) and the layers turned out great and didn’t stick to the pans at all.
There’s tricks you can do to keep your serving plate or stand neater than I did here. You can put pieces of wax or parchment paper under the bottom layer, frost the cake and pull the pieces of paper out when you’re done.