Hubby’s Big 5-0 was coming up, so a few days before, I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for this momentous event. “Hmm…” he says, “like what?” Oh geez…. “Well, you’ve got the old chocolate standby, or carrot cake, or maybe something with strawberries since they’re your favorite.” His eyes got a little bigger. “How about like a strawberry shortcake, except a regular cake instead?” The decision was fast and sure – now I needed to come up with a way to make it happen!
Keeping in mind the cake had to be gluten-free, I hit the internet, and soon found just what I was looking for from The Pioneer Woman. A nice easy recipe with whole ingredients. Bonus? When frosting the cake, you’re going for the rustic, shabby-chic kind of finish. This is a win-win for me because I have ZERO skills when it comes to frosting and decorating baked goods. This is something that future-me wants to work on, but that time is definitely not now! (In an ironic plot twist, I frosted this cake pretty darn nicely, see pics.)
So let’s see, we have strawberries (yum), cake (yum), cream cheese frosting (super-yum), and a milestone birthday to celebrate (YAY!) I call this one a WINNER!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8-inch cake pan.
In a medium bowl, sift together dry cake ingredients.
In your main mixing bowl, cream the 9 tablespoons of butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low until just barely combined.
Pour into the cake pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until set. Turn cake out onto a cooling rack as soon as you remove it from the oven.
Remove the stems from the strawberries and slice them up. Add 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir together and let it sit for half an hour. After 30 minutes, split into 2 bowls and smash. Sprinkle each half with an additional tablespoon of sugar and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.
While waiting, make the frosting. Mix together the cream cheese, 2 sticks butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy.
Slice cooled cake in half to make 2 rounds, place cut side up. Spread strawberries and juice evenly over each half. Place cake halves into the freezer for five minutes to firm them up a bit.
Remove from freezer. Use about ⅓ 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 ⅓ cup around the sides.
If you’re ever feeling a lil bit grumpy, I have just the thing for you! Brown sugar caramel, pineapple, and maraschino cherries, soaking into a cake rich with butter and sour cream…if it doesn’t make you smile, it will at least make your tummy happy! Plus, how fun is it to pull a regular-looking cake out of the oven, turn it out of the pan, and BAM! All kinds of stuff happening there! The beautiful browned pineapple and bright cherries, the gooey caramel oozing down the sides, it’s like finding a treasure hidden in your oven.
I love the look of a pineapple upside down cake, and I’m a huge fan of caramelized anything, but my favorite part of this recipe is actually the cake. It contains sour cream and a lot of butter. It’s dense but tender, and brings to mind the flavor of a decadent pound cake, with the added flavors of brown sugar and pineapple layered over the top.
This isn’t what I would consider an “everyday/anyday” cake (mostly because I usually don’t have pineapple rings on hand!), but it’s simple enough to put together, much easier than the presentation of the cake suggests. But even if you do keep pineapple rings stocked in your pantry, I do not recommend that you make this regularly. You may think it’s strange for me to discourage repeated use of a recipe on this site, but this cake absolutely has got to be bad for you. It has 3 sticks of butter in it. And a lot of sugar. I don’t think the “…but it has fruit in it!” health claim works in this situation, and I’m pretty sure your doctor will send me hate mail if you make this too often.
Not gonna lie – this is one of my most favorite treats yet! I knew it was going to be good, how could it not? Brownies, caramel, salt…yesss! But I was surprised with just how much better than “good” these were! Like, we ate the whole pan, and I’m going to make more tomorrow. We were even scraping the parchment paper to get all the little bits of caramel off it. Ho-lee-cow!
This recipe is a little bit of a cheat. You start with an 8×8 pan of brownies. Homemade, box mix, whatever. I used a box mix of gluten-free brownies from Aldi’s (yay, Aldi’s!) which are really, really good – better than many of the glutinous brownie mixes I’ve had over the years! The brand name is Live G-Free, and they have a number of GF products in their stores. And every single one that I have tried has been good – not just “good for a gluten-free _______,” but really tasty all on it’s own. Their bread is the shining star – I can’t even tell that it’s gluten-free, and believe me when I tell you that making tasty gluten-free bread is grabbing the brass ring! Continue reading “She Sells Sea Salt by the Sea Shore”