Tomorrow is Mister Man’s birthday. Part of the tradition around here is that whoever has a birthday can choose whatever he wishes for his dinner and also for the cake, which I will make.
This year, it’s a bit tricky, as Northwestern inconveniently scheduled a game at 2:30 on his birthday (the year he was born, it was at 11:15 on ESPN2 at Indiana and they won in overtime). And he has swimming lessons in the morning. Needless to say, we’re doing a birthday breakfast instead with cake as soon as Daddy and I get home from the NU game, which he chose to not attend.
No problem. When asked what he wanted, Mister Man replied that he wanted pancakes and bacon (hey, fits with breakfast, cool!) and a Thomas cake. I clarified that I meant what flavor, and he decided on white cake with vanilla frosting. Peachy. I can do that.
Enter my mom. Yesterday she was talking to him about his birthday, and she’s somehow convinced him that he now wants a strawberry cake. A what? Seriously, I’ve never heard of a strawberry cake. Lucky for my family, that doesn’t deter me. When my husband wanted a chocolate cherry chip cake, I figured out how to make one.
Allrecipes.com is my friend. I consulted my dear friend. Ooooo, look! Lots of strawberry cake recipes. As I flipped through them, I quickly came to the realization that every one of them calls for white cake mix and strawberry Jell-O. Shhh but I’ve never made a cake from a box before, and I don’t have any box mixes.
So this morning — after we picked up 230 pumpkins for the Pumpkin Fest at school and dropped them of — we headed over to the store to buy eggs, as my lone egg just wasn’t going to cut it, and cake mix. That’s about when I realized we weren’t going to make it home before Mister Man’s bus would come to take him to afternoon preschool. I added bananas to the list so he could have a snack for school, and the poor kid now has Little Miss’s princess backpack at school.
I still can’t leave a recipe alone, but hopefully this one will turn out ok. It’s still in the oven as I type, and I’m planning to make a white frosting so I can make the train tracks and put Thomas on it later tonight.
So here’s what I did:
1 box white cake mix
1/2 of a 6 oz strawberry Jell-O (yep, calls for 3 oz and I have 6 oz in my house)
2/3 c oil
1 1/2 – 2 c strawberries
1/3 c milk
1 1/2 t lemon juice
Mix the cake mix and Jell-O in a bowl.
Add the eggs and oil to a measuring cup and whisk until well blended.
Pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry and then mix.
Hull the strawberries, and place them and the milk into a blender. Puree. Pour the pureed strawberries into a sieve to remove the seeds (I, for one, am not interested in a crunchy cake!).
Use a spatula to push the puree through the sieve until you get tired of it or until you have essentially only seeds remaining.
Stir it all together, and add the lemon juice (if you want it sweeter, leave it out but it was too sweet for me). The recipe calls for you to beat it for four minutes, but I just stirred really well for a couple. Pour it into a prepared 13×9 pan, and bake at 325 for 32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
With luck, the cake will turn out well and everyone will be happy. I will say that I tasted the batter, and it was surprisingly decent although with a weird bite to it, but I think that’s just what box cake mixes do.
Oh, and yes, you’ll hear all about Mister Man’s birth story tomorrow. Come on back and settle in with a nice piece of strawberry cake!