Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna_3 on WT

Book Update:  I have no books 🙁  I have been spending my spare time making our Christmas card and talking to our medical insurance company.  They denied my husband’s surgery, so I have had the pleasure of chatting with the surgeon’s office, the medical insurance company and my husband.  It is scheduled for next Wednesday… but it isn’t approved.  How that happened I dunno.  The saga continues….

In the meantime, here is our Christmas card!

Christmas card 2013

Recipe:  Even my meat-loving husband liked this recipe.  That’s how good it is.  I know lasagna always screams beef or sausage, but this one is really, really good.  Gooey cheese, roasted squash, caramelized onions and a hint of sage do a dance in your mouth.  It was well worth finding fresh sage in the winter time (which is $1.69 at Trader Joe’s) and locating a small amount of fontina cheese (only $3 at Trader Joe’s).  Trader Joe’s also carries pre-cut butternut squash.  I would use at least 3-4 bags.

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna_4 on wT

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna
serves 6-8

1 large butternut squash or 2 small/medium, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 Tb. olive oil
kosher salt
1 onion, halved and sliced

Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter (original says 2, but then  the sauce doesn’t come together with equal parts in the roux)
10 sage leaves
1/4 cup AP flour
2-4 cups milk (2 cups for a thicker sauce, 4 cups for a very thin sauce; 3 cups is a good medium to cover the noodles without oozing) (warm/room temperature milk works into the sauce well)
pinch of ground nutmeg

Lasagna:
1 cup grated fontina cheese (4 oz.)
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (4 oz.)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (or substitute with more mozzarella and fontina)
1 Tb. flour
9 NO boil lasagna noodles

1.  Step One:  Roast the veggies!  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the veggies in the oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet (foil makes easy clean up)  Roast the squash 18 minutes.  Pull out the onion sooner – around 10-12 minutes.
2.  Step Two:  Make the sauce.  In a saucepan, melt the butter.  On medium heat, add the sage and cook for 1 minute.  Remove the sage leaves.  Whisk in the flour.  Cook that about 2 minutes to make the roux.  Lots of whisking!  Now whisk in the milk just a little at a time.  Warmed up milk seems to incorporate better.  Keep stirring it all in and boil.  Once at a boil, turn down to low and simmer 5 minutes.  Add nutmeg.  (Next time I’ll do 2 pinches, but I like nutmeg)  If the sauce still stays lumpy, it will be okay.  Just keep chugging.  The sauce will turn out great out of the oven.
3.  Step Three:  Make the lasagna.  Line a 9×13 dish with some nonstick foil or butter.  Mix the cheese with the flour.  Set aside about 1/2 cup for the top!  Lay 1/2 cup of the sauce at the bottom of the dish.  Layer 3 noodles.  Layer 1/3 of the sauce.  Layer half the cheese.  Layer half the veggies.  Add 3 more noodles.  Layer 1/3 sauce.  Layer rest of the cheese.  Layer rest of the veggies.  Add final 3 noodles and the rest of the sauce.  Cover the top with that 1/2 cup cheese you set aside.  Cover with foil sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake 45 minutes.  Take off the foil and broil the drop for 2 minutes.  Rest for 15 minutes before cutting.

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna_6 on WT

Recipe from Food Network Magazine

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Spinach

Cheesey Spaghetti Squash and Spinach on WT

Book Update:  I started the second book “A Thousand Splendid Suns” from our book club.  It is one of her favorite books ever, but it is not for everyone.  If you read his other book, “Kite Runner”, then you probably have an idea of what the other book will contain.   Oh!  And Veronica Roth has finally finished the “Divergent” trilogy!  It was released just a couple days ago and I was all set to buy, but the customer reviews are horrible.  I didn’t read them to avoid spoilers, but the amazon stars are 2.5/5! Her first book in the trilogy is a 5/5 on Amazon, so makes me wonder.  I am #245 on the waiting list for our county library.  So, I might get it like… maybe by Easter.

Recipe Update:  This side dish was actually BETTER than my main course.  Weird, but true.  So, our co-op gave us spaghetti squash, spinach and other items.  I felt this worked great with our basket for the week as well as being one of the best side dishes I have ever had.  It tastes like mac and cheese, but with spinach.  If you took out the spinach you have mac and cheese.  Of course, the “mac” is squash, so it is much lower in calories.  Enjoy!  It was well worth the effort.

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Spinach
yield 6-8 servings

5 and 1/2 cups cooked spaghetti squash (2 small or 1 medium)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
8 oz. shredded mild cheddar
salt and pepper
4 cups (4 ounces) baby spinach
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1.  To cook the squash:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Slice that squash in half long-ways.  Not through the equator.  Scoop out your seeds and squish stuff in the middle.  Bake in the oven on a baking sheet for 45 minutes.  Cool until able to safely handle.  Take a fork and rip out the insides.  It will come out looking like “spaghetti”.  Put that in a bowl.
2.   In a medium or large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Throw in the onion.  Cook that down for about 2-3 minutes.
3.  Add the flour and whisk that in.  Whisk and cook about 4 minutes – it will turn more golden brown in color.
4.  Whisk in the milk and broth.  Whisk until smooth and bring this mixture up to a boil.  Keep stirring constantly while it boils and boil a good 2 minutes or longer.  The mixture should be thicker.  Add some salt and pepper.
5.  Take this pot off of the stove.  Stir in the cheese.  Stir in the spinach.  Once incorporated, stir in the squash.
6.  Spray a 2 qt. dish or 7×11 pan with cooking spray and bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.  Cool and eat.  For added nutrition, I put mine on a bed of more spinach.

Recipe from Skinnytaste.com

Trail Mix Granola Bars

trail mix barsCR

trail mix bars_4CR

Books I’m reading:  “Wait for Me” (a free Kindle book) and “Peace Like a River” by Leif Enger.  “Peace Like a River” is a really good story with a lot of literary devices (symbols, themes, foreshadowing, etc.).  Though the devices and the style make the book not exactly conversational and a breeze to read through, I still found the story compelling and the characters really interesting.  This is our book club book for the month of January.  “Wait for Me” is just fun 🙂

The Recipe:  I love love love the trail mix granola bars at Trader Joe’s.  They are a little expensive…. $2.29 for a box of 6, and they are a 35 minute drive from my house.  So, until I get out to Chesterfield, Missouri, I will make these.  I have tried two or three no-bake granola bar recipes, but the entire family would never eat them.  I really liked these.  They were gooey, crunchy, salty, sweet all in one bite.  Even my two year old could help make them!  My kids are constantly asking for me to make them.  Feel free to add your own fixin’s.  I liked chocolate chips and dried cherries myself.

Trail Mix Granola Bars
yield 24 servings (when cut the size of a regular Quaker Oat granola bar)

2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup crisp rice cereal (like Rice Krispies or Trader Joe’s Crispy Rice)
1/3 cup dried fruit (dried cranberries, dried cherries, etc.)
1/3 cup mini m&ms
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts (or sunflower seeds or salted peanuts?)
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup peanut butter

1.  Prep a baking dish that you want to put your granola bars in.  For thicker bars, try a 7×11 or a couple of bread pans.  For thinner bars, a 13×9 will work.  Grease the pan or lay down non-stick foil.

2.  In a great big bowl:  mix the oats, rice cereal, dried fruit, m&ms, chocolate chips, and peanuts.  Stir all together with a large spatula.  Have the spatula close and handy!

3.  In a medium microwave safe bowl:  Mix the honey and peanut butter.  Microwave for 30-45 seconds.  Stir until it is thoroughly mixed.

4.  Pour your honey mixture into the oat mixture.  Now, quick!  Coat the oat mixture with the honey mixture.  This is easier to do while it is still hot.

5.  Once coated, press the mixture into your prepared pan.  You can grease your hands and press.  I like to take cling wrap and wrap that around the bottom of a bread pan.  Then, I use that to press the bars into the pan really hard.  This is necessary for the bars to stick together.

6.  Cover and put in the fridge for at least 1 hour.  Cut and enjoy!!  Do not attempt before one hour or they will be a crumbly, honey gooey mess.  Still tasty, though.  Like many homemade granola bars, freezing these for a little while helps them stick together.

To store:  I left these in the fridge since they seemed chewier that way.  But since all the ingredients can be stored at room temperature separately, I believe they would keep just fine on the kitchen counter.  Now to go and buy massive amounts of honey at Costco…  (5 lb jar is $12.79 or 16 cents per ounce)

Recipe adapted from Bran Appetit

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

This cake was awesome!  We stored it in the fridge due to the cream cheese filling and it was still delicious 3 days later.  Even if you don’t want to make the entire thing, the frosting is exceptional.  I’m trying to think up other applications for it – maybe cupcakes or muffins.  Very simple and delicious – my two favorite combinations!

The cake is moist and flavorful with bits of apple and pecans throughout.  The spices really shine through and the crumb is tender and medium sized.  It was easy to slice and serve.  Decorating was simple and pretty and a breeze.  I may be a new fan of bundt cakes  – I really don’t care for decorating a whole lot.   The cake does take a little time especially since I had to finely chop 4 Gala apples.  I saved some time using my apple/corer/slicer and this cake didn’t seem to take as much time as a lot of my cupcakes other layer cakes do.   The reviewers on the original Southern Living website all gave this 5 stars as well!  I couldn’t wait to bake it – even the batter was good!

**Update 11/10** The cream cheese filling is difficult to keep inside.  I did it the first time.  The second time I made this I am having a little trouble and here is what you can do:  make the cream cheese filling and then put it in the fridge.  This will firm it up and then it won’t spread in the middle getting all over the layer.

Apple Cream Cheese Cake
serves 12

Cream Cheese Filling:
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (4 Tb.) butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tb. flour
1 tsp. vanilla

Cake:
1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
3 cups AP flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups peeled and finely chopped Gala apples (about 4 medium ones, 1.5 lbs.)

Frosting:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter (4 Tb.)
3 Tb. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1.  Filling:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  With an electric mixer in a big bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar on medium speed.   The mixture should be smooth.  Add your egg, flour and vanilla.  Beat on LOW speed – cream cheese mixtures usually need to take it slow.  Mix until blended and set aside.
2.  Cake:   Make sure your pecans are toasted:  you can toast them in the oven at 350 for 8-10 minutes, or in a skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes – making sure they don’t burn!  Stir once in a while.
3.  Mix your dry ingredients together in your mixer.  I used the whisk attachment:  flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and allspice.  Then using the paddle attachment, add the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla.  Remove from the mixer and stir in the apples and pecans by hand.
4.  Grease and flour your bundt pan (12-14 cup size) or use Baker’s Joy.  Baker’s Joy is a ton easier.
5.  Add about 1/2 of the cake mixture to the pan.  Drop spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture.  Try to avoid the edges.  It is difficult… but try.  I used a cookie scoop to help.  Use up most to all of the cream cheese mixture.  Now, spread and add the rest of the cake batter on top.
6.  Bake for 60-70 minutes.  Cool cake for 15 minutes.  Then, invert onto a wire rack and cool another 2 hours.
7.  Frosting:  In a saucepan, heat the brown sugar, butter and milk.  Boil over medium heat.  Whisk and whisk.  Continue to boil 1 minute and whisk some more.  Take it off the heat and add in the vanilla.  Whisk in the powdered sugar and allow the mixture to cool to thicken a little bit before pouring over the cooled cake.  I tried using regular powdered sugar and it seemed clumpy, so I started to sift it and it stopped being clumpy.

Recipe from Southern Living

Taco Chili – Slow Cooker and Freezer Friendly

Comfort in a bowl.  This is easy and economical.  You can make this as a freezer meal by cooling the mixture completely and then putting it into a freezer bag.  Make sure to try and not use previously frozen ground beef when doing this though since re-freezing food makes it lose a lot more moisture.  You could bring this to a pot luck – it feeds quite a bit and is full of flavor without being too heavy on the pocketbook.  You can make this into a crockpot meal:  use ground beef and onion you cooked the night before or that morning and dump everything into a  6 qt. crockpot on low for 6-8 hours.  Then, it will be ready for you when you get home.  I’m sure the house will smell lovely, too!

Instead of the spices, you can pick up a 1.25 oz. taco seasoning packet at the store.  I try to avoid pre-made mixes to control the salt and additives that go in a dish.  I have also had this with a 1 oz. Ranch Dressing seasoning packet added to the taco seasonings and it was good that way, too.

Taco Chili
yield 6 servings

1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey, or chicken breast
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (about 15 oz.) (I used reduced sodium)
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (about 15 oz.) or use more kidney beans
1 can Rotel, drained (I used mild because of kiddos)
1 can (15.5 oz.) corn, drained or 1 ear of corn and kernels removed
3 cans stewed tomatoes (about 15 oz. each)
8 oz. tomato sauce (I used no salt)
2 Tb. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander (or substitute with cumin)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (more for hot, less for not)
salt and pepper to taste

For serving:  Serve as is or crumble in taco shells, tortilla chips, add cheddar cheese, or salsa, chopped red onion or scallions, etc.
1.  In a Dutch oven, cook the ground beef and onion until the meat is no longer pink.  Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds.  Drain on paper towels if you don’t want the added fat.
2.  Now, dump the meat mixture back in and the rest of the ingredients.  Heat to a boil and then simmer until the corn is cooked.  If the corn is already cooked, just heat until hot and simmer 15 minutes.  Then eat!
3.  Or…. Cool completely and freeze it and thaw in the fridge overnight when you are ready to eat.  Simply heat and eat when you want it.
4.  Or….  Cook your ground beef dump everything in the crock pot in the morning on low, and then eat in the evening about 6-8 hours later.

The soup is more on the thicker side like a chili.  I like it this way.  If you want a thinner soup, simply add chicken stock.

Linked up to: http://www.ishouldbemoppingthefloor.com/2012/09/mop-it-up-mondays-33.html

Baked Peach Blueberry Oatmeal

Before posting a recipe, I try to do it several times to see what will happen.  This experiment turned out so delicious that I decided to make it a separate post!  I think this would be great for a healthy dessert alternative as well.  Some redi-whip or homemade whipped topping with it, perhaps?   We ate this for breakfast.  I’m trying not to eat the whole pan.

I usually double this recipe.  But I have made it several times.  Feel free to follow the directions below and test it out for yourself in a smaller quantity.

*Just made this for like the 10th time.  Don’t make it with half of the egg amount.  Ewwwww.  It wasn’t pretty.

Baked Peach Blueberry Oatmeal
yield 4 servings

1-2 peaches, sliced and pealed or 1-2 cups of frozen peaches (cover the bottom of the dish)
3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/8 cup honey or maple syrup
1 Tb brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup nuts (optional), chopped

1.  If using frozen peaches, simply spray your 8×8 or 9×9 pan with cooking spray and layer the bottom of the pan.  Cover it up so it doesn’t absorb funky stuff and let it thaw in the fridge overnight.  If using fresh peaches, simply:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees if making the same day.  Spray with cooking spray a 8×8 or 9×9 dish (I usually use glass) or a 1.5 qt. dish.
2.  Put the sliced peaches on the bottom as a layer and sprinkle a little over half the blueberries on top.


3.  Mix your dry ingredients:  oats, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.  You can sprinkle this on your fruit layer and mix with the wet ingredients.  It didn’t seem to matter either way.  Sprinkle this onto the peaches/blueberry layer.

4.  Using the same bowl, mix the wet stuff:  milk, egg, sugar/honey, vanilla.  (I measured the milk first then added the honey until the measuring cup hit 1/4 cup at the bottom since honey sinks.  Then added the egg and vanilla to it and stirred.  One less dish to wash.)
5.  Pour wet stuff over the dry stuff and gently mix.  Add the rest of your blueberries on top and then your nuts (optional).   Bake about 30-35 minutes.


6.  Serve warm.  You can put warm milk on this or be bad like me and put maple syrup on instead.  Or brown sugar, whipped cream, etc.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Have your chocolate and vegetables too!  (Well, it is a squash… so maybe it is actually a fruit?)  The kids NEVER ever noticed there was zucchini in this bread and they ate the entire loaf!  Well, it isn’t the most healthiest thing for you, but if you are going to eat something it might as well taste good and use up my produce as well.  I had quite a few zucchinis in my produce basket this time around, so I had to make this.  Even if it tastes great  — if Maddox can see the green, then he won’t eat it.

I might be MIA a little while this week.  Our show, “South Pacific”, is this Friday and Saturday.  We have rehearsal every single night.  And to top it all off, I chair the Homeowners Association meeting that same Saturday morning that we do two shows.  Then after the two shows, we clean the church for Sunday morning.  Now if I can hire two people to play me this week, I think we will be good.  Casting a Stay at Home mom and HOA director begins now!

**Update**  The Dark Hershey cocoa really works the best here.  I tried subbing applesauce for oil and it worked great.  I subbed white whole wheat flour for the AP flour and it still worked great.  You just can’t mess this recipe up!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
yield 1 loaf or 18 muffins or 48 mini muffins

2 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or canola)
1/2 cup brown sugar (3.5 oz.)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup Dutch cocoa (Hershey’s Dark Cocoa works awesome here. )
1 and 2/3 cup AP flour
2 cups shredded zucchini (8oz.) (1 large zucchini did the trick for me)
6 oz. chocolate chips (1 cup)

1.  Preheat to 350.
2.  In a great big bowl:  whisk the eggs, honey, and oil together.
3.  Add brown sugar, vanilla, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and flour.  Mix until combined.
4.  Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.  It will be very very thick.  That’s okay!
5.  Bake 60-75 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes then flip onto a rack to continue to cool.

These make great muffins and mini muffins.  Shorten the time to bake dramatically – minis took about 16 minutes and regular muffins took 20 minutes.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Linked up to skiptomylou.org

Bring your favorite chocolate dessert to Roxana’s Home Baking #chocolateparty and win amazing prizes from OXOCalphalonKeurigImperial SugarHoney Ridge Farms and Land O’ Lakes® Butter.

Strawberry Cream Cake

I looooooove strawberries!  They are my favorite food ever!  So, naturally I love strawberry shortcake and anything strawberry related.  This recipe has a few steps and I did break it down over two days, but it was really worth it.  Plus, now I have a super awesome way to make cream cheese whipped cream by just using the recipe below for the whipped cream on here.  If you need a topping for your ice cream, try the strawberry filling recipe.

 

**Recipe Update 5/15/16:  We accidentally left the butter cooling in the fridge…. and forgot to add it to the cake.  The cake didn’t rise as high of course.  We made a two layer cake instead.  But, it tasted great!  Tasted like angel food cake really.

**To simplify the whipped cream for the kids (okay, it’s cheaper this way actually):  We mixed 1 tub of Truwhip (like Cool Whip but without the antifreeze ingredients), 8 oz. of cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla  and 3 Tb. of powdered sugar together.  It wasn’t super sweet. But I liked it that way.  Feel free to increase the sugar if you like your desserts sweet.

Strawberry Cream Cake

serves 10-12

Cake:
1 cup (7 oz) sugar
1 and 1/4 cups cake flour (5 oz.)
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
5 eggs, room temperature (2 whole eggs and 3 separate but keep ALL of it!)
6 Tb. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 Tb. water
2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of cream of tartar

Filling:
2 lbs. strawberries, hulled
4-6 Tb. sugar
pinch salt

Whipped Cream:
8 oz. cream cheese, soft
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups heavy cream, very cold (No substitutes!  Don’t use half and half even for some of it!  It doesn’t work.  Believe me I know.)

Cake:
1.  Preheat oven to 325.  Put the rack in the lower middle of the oven.  Take a 9″ springform pan and grease it.  Then, take a piece of parchment and trace and cut to fit the bottom of the pan.  Grease the parchment too.  (If you are afraid you will not be able to saw 3 layers evenly out of this cake, I would instead divide the batter up evenly (preferable with a scale and weigh it to divide) and use 3 -9″ cake pans.  Then simply reduce baking time.  Next time I will do it that way.)
2.  Take 3 Tb. out of the 1 cup of sugar and set it aside.  Whisk Together your flour, baking powder, salt and rest of the sugar.   Add in the 2 WHOLE eggs and 3 egg YOLKS, melted butter, water and vanilla.  Whisk it all up until smooooooooth.


3.  If you have a kitchenaid, attach the whisk attachment.   Pour in the egg WHITES and a little cream of tartar into the bowl.  Whip on medium low for 1 minute.  You should see some foam on top.  Whip on medium-high for 1 minute.  Slowly, add the 3 Tb. of sugar you saved earlier to the mixture now while still on medium-high.  Whip to Soft Peaks – 1-2 minutes.
4.  Stir 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the cake batter.  Then, take the rest of the egg whites and fold them into the batter until no white streaks remina.
5.  Bake cake for 30-40 minutes.  Mine was done at 30 minutes.  Smells great.  Cool completely and I kept mine wrapped in plastic wrap and in the fridge overnight to assemble the next day.  Or you could wrap and freeze it for a month.

Filling:
1.  Take 24 of the pretty strawberries and slice them in half.
2.  Cut the rest of the strawberries into fourths and add 4-6 Tb. of sugar.  Strawberries aren’t too sweet in April… so I added shy of 6 Tb.  Stir that up and have it sit for 1 hour.  Afterwards, strain the strawberries but KEEP the juice.   Put the strawberries into a large or small food processor and coarsely chop.   Take the juice and put it in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Reduce that about 10 minutes or until you get about 3 Tb. of liquid left.  Pour that reduced liquid and the 1/8 tsp. onto your coarsely pureed strawberries.  Mix together.  I covered and stored this mixture in the fridge overnight to make the next day.  Or use it freshly made.  Whatever floats your boat.

Whipped Cream (Yummmmmm!!!):
1.  Using the whisk attachment if you have it, whip the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and salt on medium-high for about 1 minute.
2.   Turn down your mixer to its lowest setting (or you’ll have flying cream!).  Very slowly pour in the heavy cream.  Kick up the mixer to medium high until Stiff Peaks form – about 1-2 minutes.

How to Assemble:
1.  Cut the cake into 3 even layers.  (Or don’t worry about this part if you divided the batter into 3 pans already.)
2.  Put the first cake layer down on the platter.  Lay 8-10 strawberry halves out in a circle on the perimeter of the cake.  Then, put half of the strawberry puree mixture in the middle.  Spread with a spoon to just the tips of the strawberries – not the edge of the cake.  Finally, spoon one-third of the whipped cream mixture into the middle and spread on top of the puree – but not the edge of the cake.


3.   Put the second cake layer down on the whipped cream you just put on.  Lay8-10 strawberry halves out in the same circle like the first time.  Layer the rest of the strawberry puree on again.  Layer one-third of the whipped cream on again.


4.  Add the final layer of cake on top.  Spread the remaining whipped cream on top (the last one-third).  Add more strawberry halves or fan out a pretty single strawberry.  Keep refrigerated.

Wooo hoo!!  It is all done.  Consume within 4 hours and you will have lovely layers of cake, strawberries and whipped cream.  After 4 hours, the cake is still great, however, the strawberry puree will ooze a little bit into the cake layer.  No biggie.

Recipe Adapted  from Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Linked up to linked up to http://anoriginalbelle.blogspot.com/2012/04/m-i-y-monday-23-link-up.html and skiptomylou.org and http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2012/04/crazy-sweet-tuesday_09.html

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