Friday, July 16, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

During my one day off in a span of eight days I decided to bake a cake. I know. I can't explain what's wrong with me either. Except that cooking is relaxing for me. It keeps my hands busy when I'm stressed and it allows my brain to let go of everything but the recipe. And so on Monday I made the Pioneer Woman's Strawberry Shortcake Cake. It's like a sickness. I can't stay away from her blog.

Since I had just worked four 12-hr shifts, I was a little sluggish in getting the baking started. This means you'll have to forgive some lighting issues with the pictures and it explains why I don't have a good picture of a slice of the finished cake. I took multiple, but between the light and my weary eyes, I couldn't tell that they were all blurry until I uploaded the pictures today. Eh. You win some, you lose some. And then you eat some cake. Let me tell you, this cake is killer, but not at first. I tried it after making it and wasn't thrilled. I took it to work the next day and received some pretty impressive feedback, so I tested it again. The flavors had soaked in and it was perfect. So if you're going to make this, consider giving it time for the flavors to settle. I think this applies to 80% of baked items. They always seem better the next day.

You want to know my favorite part of using the PW's recipes or any recipe that I find online? I don't have to retype their recipe. Copy and paste, baby! It saves time which I love and I don't have to worry about messing up the recipe by mistyping an amount or forgetting to type a step. All I have to do is add my pictures and my own comments (generally at the start and under the photos) and I'm finished. I love the internet. If I could figure out how to change the font for their recipe vs. my comments I would, but it seems that each time I try to use the bold or italics it doesn't work. I'm limited in my blogging skills. Embrace it. Now, let's take a look at this lovely cake, shall we? (Is it wrong that I get a little giddy when I put the recipes and pictures together on this blog? Because I do. It makes me excited. What can I say? I'm easily entertained.)


1 1/2 cup Flour
3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
9 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 1/2 cup Sugar
3 whole Large Eggs
1/2 cups Sour Cream, Room Temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla

1/2 pound Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
2 sticks Unsalted Butter
1 1/2 pound Powdered Sugar, Sifted
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 pound Strawberries

Have you seen anything more beautiful? I love fresh, summer strawberries.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to use a cake pan that’s at least 2 inches deep! Before baking, the batter should not fill the pan more than halfway.

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch. Cream 9 tablespoons butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.

The PW suggested sifting the flour onto wax paper to make it easier to pour. Sure, it was easy and saved me a dish, but more importantly, look at the cool picture it provided!!

Pour into greased and floured 8-inch cake pan. (I used a 9-inch springform pan.)

Since we're making a layer cake, having an even start helps. I started with my spatula and thought it was okay...

Then my OCD paranoia kicked in and I used the proper tool for a more level batter.

And let's talk about the springform (spring form?) pan for a minute. This pan allows you to remove the sides easily. It unhinges and slips right off. Genius.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until no longer jiggly. Remove from cake pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.

See how the pan comes apart?

Now comes the part where you hold your breath, chant "oh please, oh please, oh please", and cringe as you flip the cake onto the cooling rack. Then when it works you cry tears of joy.

Stem strawberries and slice them in half from bottom to top. Place into a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar.

Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mash the strawberries in two batches. Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoons sugar and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.

I kept it chunkier because I like texture, not mush.

Make icing: combine cream cheese, 2 sticks butter, sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix until very light and fluffy.

I was tired of hand-sifting after one round, but since I had just washed my larger sifter I was out of luck. Water + powder sugar = not a good idea

Slice cake in half through the middle.

I can't cut a straight line to save my life. Seriously. Cake or paper. I can't draw a straight line either. Shouldn't I have learned this in kindergarten? I've been failed by the system.

Spread strawberries evenly over each half (cut side up), pouring on all the juices. Place cake halves into the freezer for five minutes, just to make icing easier.

Remove from freezer. Use a little less than 1/3 of the icing to spread over the top of the strawberries on the bottom layer.

Place the second layer on top. Add half of the remaining icing to the top spreading evenly, then spread the remaining 1/3 cup around the sides.

Leave plain OR garnish with strawberry halves.

IMPORTANT: Cake is best when served slightly cool. The butter content in the icing will cause it to soften at room temperature. For best results, store in the fridge!

For you, my dear friends, I'm going to attempt to italicize my comments that are mixed in with the PW's recipe. Let's cross our fingers and eyes that it'll work.

Heavens to Betsy, it worked!!!! (I have never understood the expression "Heavens to Betsy", but it's a phrase that I've heard since childhood and every so often it crosses my tongue. It's like a gut reaction.)


  1. Another good looking dessert! I googled "heavens to besty" and this is what I found (interestingly enough, it gave a realated search-"Heavens to Murgatroyd" ha!):


    A mild exclamation of surprise.


    This American phrase has been in circulation since, primarily restricted to America, the latter part of the 19th century, although its use faded throughout the 20th century and it is now something of an anachronism. The first example of it that I can find is from the US journal Ballou's dollar monthly magazine, Volume 5, January 1857:

    Heavens to Betsy!" he exclaims...

    It is possible that the phrase is a minced oath and an alternative to 'Hell's bells', although there's no real evidence of that,

    Of course, what we would like to know is, 'was Betsy a real person and, if so, who?'. Various theories have been put forward but it is unlikely that she will be identified. For phrases that contain names that are genuinely eponymous, i.e. named after a known person or fictional character, it isn't difficult to trace the person concerned, as in 'sweet Fanny Adams', 'kiss me Hardy' etc. When we come to phrase like 'Mickey Finn', 'happy as Larry', where there is doubt as to the named person, a strong case can be made to suggest that the names were invented. That seems to be the case with Betsy.

    The etymologist Charles Earle Funk published Heavens to Betsy! and other curious sayings in 1955. In that he ventured the opinion that the origins of 'Heavens to Betsy' were "completely unsolvable".

  2. And for this, I love you more. :) Know what's funny? I thought Heavens to Murgatroyd was Heavens to Bergatroy. Whoops.

  3. That's Awesome!!!

    I loved this cake. We made it in NY too, I'll post it soon. I just have to get up the energy to upload everything.

    I love you two!