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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Buttercream

I am in love with this fresh strawberry frosting. Trying to think of an excuse to make it again, right now. You're moving? Frosting time! It's your hamster's birthday? Frosting time! I have literally been dreaming about it.  

(Speaking of dreams, last night I dreamed I was Pioneer Woman but I looked like Anna Maria Horner and we were filming a scene for PW's movie. And there was something about a bathtub.)

What was I saying? Oh yes, frosting. I have been experimenting making buttercream with fresh strawberries and am quite happy with the end result.

I made the cake above for Libby's birthday, and it was definitely a hit. I doctored up a cake mix and sugared some extra strawberries to top it with.

Sometimes the cake itself is the star. This time it's the frosting. Don't get me wrong, the cake is moist and delicious, but paired with this life-altering frosting, it just can't compete. It serves as the backdrop on stage, allowing the frosting to take the spotlight. Don't feel bad, the cake knows it will be able to shine once again as soon as strawberries are out of season.

Fresh Strawberry Buttercream

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened (1/2 pkg)
2 tsp. vanilla
4 1/2 c. confectioners sugar (about 3/4 of a bag)
3/4 c. fresh strawberries, crushed, pureed, or minced.

Prepare strawberries, place in sieve to drain out all the juices (this is important!). In large bowl, cream butter, whipping until fluffy. Beat in cream cheese and vanilla. Gradually add confectioners sugar, beating well (mixture will be quite stiff). Add strawberries, beat in gently. Mixture will immediately soften and tempt you with it's amazingness. Try not to lick the spatula constantly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before frosting, this will help the icing to firm up. After chilling, frost away and enjoy!
Yield: enough to frost a 2 layer cake, a sheet cake, or 2 dozen cupcakes.

Chocolate Cake

1 pkg. Devil's Food cake mix (I prefer Pillsbury)
1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding
3 T. cocoa powder (did you know that this is the world's best cocoa powder?)
 Eggs, as called for on box, room temperature
Water, as called for on box
Oil, as called for on box
2/3 c. milk

Fold together cake mix, pudding, cocoa powder. Add eggs, water, oil, milk. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter into greased pans (for the cake above I used three 8 inch rounds). Bake at 350 until cake tests done (baking time will vary based on pan size, 8 inch rounds took about 25 minutes). Cool and enjoy!

Sometimes I don't even frost this cake, I just bake it in a 9x13, and throw a handful or 2 of chocolate chips and some sanding sugar on top midway through baking.

If you're making a layer cake like I did, make sure you level the tops of your cake before frosting. You don't have a cake leveler? What is wrong with you?

Sugared Strawberries

Make a sugar bath by boiling together 2 parts water and 1 part sugar. ( I used 1 c. water and 1/2 c. sugar). After sugar is completely dissolved, remove from heat and cool slightly. Dip clean strawberries into the sugar bath, coating all parts, including the stem. Place on cooling rack to dry. Once berries are dry, they should be sticky to the touch (you can pat them gently with a paper towel if they are not 100% dry). Roll in sugar, coating all parts, including the stem. I choose to brush off a little bit of the sugar with a pastry brush so the sugar coating was more translucent. Use as a garnish or eat them straight up!

Note: This is not the technical way that fruit is to be sugared. Most recipes call for meringue powder or raw egg whites. However, I did not feel like running out to buy meringue powder and the thought of eating raw egg whites made me squirmy, so I tried this, and it worked. (I'm not sure why the egg whites bothered me, I have surely consumed dozens of raw eggs with the amount of cookie dough I have eaten in my lifetime.) If you are not going to eat them right away, you might be better off to use the meringue powder method, it probably makes a more durable coating. For me, the berries were eaten within an hour of being sugared, so this worked fine.

In case you're interested, this was my first attempt at a strawberry buttercream. Perfectly delicious, but as you can see, the frosting is a little to soft to be practical. The adjustments I made to the recipe help it to hold its form better now. I paired it with a lemon pound cake, and I think this is my favorite flavor combo for the strawberry buttercream. I believe Annie is going to make it for my birthday, and I can't wait.


the girl fink said...

the picture of the frosting in the mixer literally makes my mouth water...i love all pink food, and this looks like fabulous pink food...

Erin said...

it is fabulous, and you must make it.

Anonymous said...

Looks lovely - Thanks for sharing. I used to work with a lady who made wedding cakes. She has an incredible recipe for butter cream frosting that calls for Grand Marnier. Amazing. Can't wait to try yours!

Annie said...

wow, nice dream erin, as it involved a bathtub, it must have been a nude scene. i keep thinking about making that cake for you... i can't wait to eat it again.

mary lekoshere said...

lol! I too LOVE cookie dough, but the other day tried to scramble egg whites and they were too gross so I dumped them. I'm going to try this frosting...

Erin said...

annie, it was not a nude scene! i just remember there was a bathtub and a filming crew. and i'm pretty sure you were there. and there were lots of clothes on everybody.

Gwendolyn said...

oh Annie :)

I will be making this as soon as I am able...perhaps it will be Arden's birthday cake :)

PS: Jason loved the Tiffany Blue plate underneath all that strawberry goodness, as do I. Is it fiestaware or just another one of your awesome random finds?
I would love to find a cake stand in that color..

Erin said...

the blue plate was a random find, an antique store closing in ohio. but I think it might be vintage fiesta... can't remember for sure, when I get the plate back I'll check and let you know.

some lovely cake stands here:

Diane Ramos said...

How sweet of you to make this for Libby! Can't wait to try it!

Pamela Mc said...

Way late to the game on this one but I made this recipe for my mom's birthday in February. It was a HUGE hit... I couldn't stop eating it from the bowl. All of my family was crazy about it. My dad requested this one for his birthday which was 2 weeks later but with pecans added. I wasn't sure about the pecans so I actually found a recipe for a buttered pecan buttercream icing (it's his fave icecream flavor) and that one was a huge hit too. I've never considered myself a buttercream fan but you've definitely changed that. At this moment I'm baking my niece a chocolate cake & about to mix the strawberry bc icing for her cake. I'll have to enjoy just the icing as I don't like chocolate cake. Oh my mom's cake was a lemon with the sbc. My favorite!!! Thanks so much for sharing, I can't wait to explore your page some more when I have a chance! Blessings!

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