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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Strawberry-Lemonade Cake

So much to do, so little time.

I've managed to do a little bit of everything over the last 24 hours.

A little bit of gardening. Trying to prune shrubs, plant bulbs and cut back all the summer flowers before the weather gets too cold.

I've already stored eighteen containers in my garage, flower pots that usually sit on my steps and boxes from my deck.  It was time for me to end the misery of the dying, straggly flowers that filled them.
Looks like these Gerbera daisies didn't get that memo.

I didn't have the heart to cut back the Cosmos yet.  Look at that bright, sunny face!

And I've finally found the fabric I've been searching for, I'll let you take a peak at what I'm currently working on.......

This is one of Caitie's doodles.  She created it last year on her tablet sketchpad when she was home on Christmas break.  I got it into my head that I had to find fabric to match, and I could use this design as the basis for a beach bag.

So I have been carrying this printout with me for the last ten months, hitting up more fabric stores than I can count. Spending endless hours surfing the web, trying to discern if the color I was seeing on my computer screen was true and wondering if the fabric content/weight was the dream fabric I had conjured up.

The closest I could find to the salmon dot was an oilcloth.  I was hoping for a nice cotton duckcloth.

I couldn't find anything close to the aqua stripe.

Until this week. 

Enter "Stripe Tease" and "Hotty Dotty," both from Maine Cottage fabrics.

The stripe is perfect.  I wasn't sure about the dot, but when I asked Caitie what she thought about it, she gave it her seal of approval.  (Actually she began a discourse about the "knockout" and the "negative space" until I realized she thought this was a positive thing.)

And the fabric!  A wonderful Belgian linen/cotton blend that far surpasses anything I could have hoped to find.  I washed it (to pre-shrink it) and the texture is just to die for.

I spent a good part of this afternoon finalizing the design that I had been playing with.  The fabric has been cut.  And as I'm typing this, I'm thinking about some trim that I might want to add to it, so I better start sewing and just finish it already, before I start tweaking so much that it will turn into a never-ending project.

Speaking of tweaking..........

I took today's recipe out of Cooking Light magazine.  It was featured in their "Lighten Up" section, where readers can send in their own recipes that need to be trimmed of fat and calories.

The recipe was for "Lemonade Layer Cake."  The original recipe called for almost 3 sticks of butter. Whole milk and 4 eggs.  By reducing the butter to 1 stick, and substituting fat-free buttermilk for the whole milk, reduced-fat cream cheese for full-fat cream cheese and egg whites for 2 of the eggs, calories were trimmed by thirty percent and fat was reduced by almost two-thirds........bringing the calorie count to 322 (from 468!) per serving (which would be 1/16 of the cake).

Even though I decided to add some strawberry jam to the recipe, I only used 2 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar in the frosting (instead of 3 1/2 cups), for a net savings of 5 calories per now we're down to 317 calories per serving. 

Today's Playlist
  • "I Won't Back Down".........Tom Petty
  • "Californication"..........Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "I'm Shipping Up To Boston".........Dropkick Murphys
  • "Train In Vain"........The Clash
  • "Is It Any Wonder?".......Keane
  • "New Soul"......Nael Yaim & David Donatien
  • "Snow (Hey Yo).........Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "Your Surrender"........Neon Trees
  • "Wake Me Up When September Ends".........Green Day
  • "Somebody Told Me"..........The Killers
Baby Registry - $100 credit towards diapers and wipes

Strawberry-Lemonade Cake (Adapted from Cooking Light, "Lemonade Layer Cake")

  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 3 tablespoons thawed lemonade concentrate
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
  • cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons thawed lemonade concentrate
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1/2 cup seedless strawberry jam

Gather your ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place butter, sugar, grated lemon rind, thawed lemonade concentrate and vanilla into the bowl of your mixer.

Beat at medium speed until well blended, about 5 minutes.

Add eggs and egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

There you go.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Stir with a whisk to combine.

Alternating, add flour mixture.......

and buttermilk to sugar/egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Beat well after each addition.

Pour batter into 2 (9-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray.  Sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles.

Bake in your 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean (for the record, it took 25 minutes to bake the cakes in my oven).

Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans, cool completely on wire rack.

Gather your frosting ingredients.  You will notice there is no strawberry jam in this picture.  I didn't decide to add in the strawberry jam until I was actually about to frost the cake.

(Note:  do not soften the cream cheese ahead of time.  The cream cheese should  be cold, or the frosting will be too thin.)

Place butter, grated lemon rind, thawed lemonade concentrate, vanilla extract and cream cheese in a large bowl.

Beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy.

Add powdered sugar.

Beat at low speed just until blended (do not over beat).

The recipe said to chill the frosting for one hour.  I did not do this, and the frosting was fine. If you feel the frosting is too thin and would benefit from being chilled, by all means put it in your refrigerator for an hour.

Just as I was about to frost the cake, I called an audible and decided that I needed to put strawberry jam between the cake layers instead of frosting.

Good thing I had some seedless strawberry jam on hand.

The jam is jelled and would be hard to spread.

Simply take a spoon and stir it around, right in the jar.

Place 1/2 cup of jam right onto the bottom layer of your cake.

Spread it around.

Place the top layer onto the cake.

Frost the top and sides with the cream cheese frosting.

You can serve the cake immediately, or you can chill it in your refrigerator first.  It tastes great either way.  The cake should be stored, loosely covered, in the refrigerator.

I'm sure the cake is delicious as an all-lemon cake without the strawberry jam in the middle--but oh, boy, the strawberry-lemon combo is divine.


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