It’s Summer Pie Practice Season. Isn’t that what you call Spring?
Beautiful strawberries are starting to hit the markets, and they’re a bit early for super sweetness, but not too early to start experimenting with pies and practicing our lattice technique!
I hope this coming weekend finds you in the kitchen baking away. Maybe throw some blueberries in this pie, or a handful of raspberries. It’s the perfect time to get our Summer frame of mind right. Also, doesn’t everyone want a pie in their house come Sunday night?
These strawberries are big, beautiful, and not quite sweet enough for pie. Not to worry… nothing a little brown sugar can’t fix right up.
For more in pie adventures, see: Gluten-Free Strawberry Ginger Pie or Peach and Blueberry Pie… though it’s a little soon for peaches. I suppose we just need to be more patient before we get all Summer-pie-happy.
Here’s the good news: strawberry pie is super simple to make. Sliced strawberries, sugars, cornstarch for thickening, a hint of ground ginger for balance, and lemon to bring out all the flavors!
Pie crust… well you know how I feel about pie crust. Make it! You’re a baking champion.
Just in case: Five Tips For The Best All-Butter Pie Crust From Scratch
All in the bowl. No time to be shy!
Toss the strawberries, sugars, and cornstarch until all of the cornstarch has absorbed and disappeared.
And it’s time to roll out the chilled dough! You’ll need a good amount of flour, some courage, and a great big rolling pin.
This beautiful wooden rolling pin is from Food52. It’s simple and sturdy and really just perfect.
Lattice work. 1-inch strips to weave across the top of the pie. It’s like pie magic. No biggie.
See all those butter chunks!? That’s no accident. That’s going to create the most flavorful and flakey crust!
How to make a lattice pie crust. Step one: hold your breath. Step two: cross your fingers. Step three: close your eyes tightly. Step four: hope for the best.
That’s how I bake. You too?
Before baking the pie is brushed lightly with egg wash and sprinkled generously with sugar.
Put the pie on a pan.
Do NOT put the pie on any pan. Just… definitely put the pie on a rimmed baking sheet. That’ll catch all of the drips.
Because this pie is for-real juicy. All over the place juicy. Delicious and perfect… and juicy.
After it’s baked and golden brown, I let the pie rest for a few hours at room temperature before slicing into it. The juices need to settle down, decide where they want to be, and thicken.
If you’re wondering what a slice looks like… well, a delicious mess, that’s what. This pie is packed full of lightly spiced strawberries, juicy beyond compare, and a very nice entrance to the warm days ahead.
- 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup cold buttermilk
- 5-6 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- large pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 large egg, beaten and granulated sugar for topping the unbaked pie
- To make the crust, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture. Some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes; some will be the size of peas. Create a well in the mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk. Use a fork to bring the dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. That’s perfect. Divide the dough in two and gently knead into two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Allowing the dough to rest in the refrigerator will help rechill the butter and distribute the moisture.
- To make the filling, in a medium bowl toss together strawberries, sugars, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice and ground ginger. Toss until all of the cornstarch has disappeared into the strawberries and let rest for 10 minutes. The strawberries will begin to produce juice.
- To assemble the pie, on a well-floured surface, roll the bottom crust 1/8″ thick and about 12″ in diameter. Transfer it to a pie pan. Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan.
- Spoon filling into piecrust.
- Roll out the top crust in the same manner. Use a pizza slicer to slice the dough into 1-inch wide strips and weave the crust strips on top of the pie. Use this guide to help you: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-a-lattice-pie-crust-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-191672
- To finish, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Brush the egg wash over pie crust, then sprinkle with sugar.
- Place pie on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake the pie for 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden and the cherry filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving.
I was looking for rainbow carrots. I was thinking we’d roast some carrots… you know, sit around a plate of carrots and just chat.
And then, nope.
Turns out strawberries are in season! Now. Already. It’s time!
Maybe still a little too soon for the white jeans and the flip flops (shut up California and Florida), but strawberries are here and we have major reason to celebrate (with dumplings).
Come with it!
Strawberries have yet to reach their peek in sweetness and extreme loveliness. When in doubt: ROAST! And there better be butter and a little bit of sugar.
Let’s make it easy for these dumplings: self-rising flour.
Yea… just get into it!
I love this self-rising flour from King Arthur Flour because the flour is so light and fluffy, it creates the most fluffy dumplings.
A dumpling is nothing if it’s not fluffy, and you know that’s true.
If you want to know waaaaay more about flour: check it.
If you want to make your own self-rising flour at home: check this.
Lots of buttermilk in these little dumplings.
I also used a dark Muscovado Sugar which is dark and extra lovely. If you don’t have Muscovado on hand, light brown sugar will also be great! Depth.
Dumplings are more wet than biscuits.
It’s just science.
You should also know that I ALWAYS want to type a ‘z’ when I type biscuits.
The strawberries are roasted in the oven for about 15 minutes while we bring together the biscuit dough. They’re roasted until just softened and bubbly, then removed for the oven for the biscuit batter to be added.
Dollops. Big ol’.
Biscuits golden and tender. Strawberries all juicy and new. It’s Spring fresh and we’re allowed to enjoy it exactly right now.
- 2-3 heaping cups halved, ripe, and hulled strawberries
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1 cup cold buttermilk
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place strawberries in an 8-inch oven-proof skillet and place small pats of butter on top of the berries. Top with brown sugar. Place in the oven to roast for 12-15 minutes. While the strawberries roast, prepare the biscuit dough.
- To make the biscuits, in a medium bowl whisk together flour and brown sugar. Add the cold butter and use your fingers to quickly break the butter down into the flour and sugar mixture. Some of the butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, others will be the size of small peas.
- Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the cold buttermilk. Stir with a spoon. The mixture will be rather wet.
- Remove the strawberries from the oven and carefully dollop the biscuit batter over the hot strawberries. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for another 10-12 minutes, or until the biscuits are cooked through and the biscuits are golden.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool until the strawberries are no longer bubbling, and serve warm with or without whipped cream (but definitely with…).
- Strawberry skillet cake is best served the day it is baked. Enjoy!
This pie was made on one of those dusty summer days.
The kind of day where you wake up sleeping crazy diagonal in your bed with three pillows and a cat on your head… when the snooze button is more essential than luxurious.
The kind of day that’s cloudy cold… making you think that summer might be in its early farewells. The kind of day that requires a second and a half cup of coffee, a scarf until noon, and a phone call with your sister. The kind of day that feels somehow both unexpected and tender, in between sleep and dreams.
This pie was made on the kind of day that required a jolt of sunshine flavors and warm spices. This pie tastes exactly like what it feels like to hear someone you love call your name. That… with a touch of ginger.
I made this pie gluten-free because I’m absolutely smitten with Cup4Cup flour. Remember a few months back I visited my friends at The French Laundry, traipsed around, and made a quiche? I’ve been bonkers about this gluten-free flour ever since. It’s a straight substitution for all-purpose flour in my regular all-butter pie crust recipe… except I add an egg for extra binding.
We’re double crusting.
These disks are individually wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated. Chilling and resting allows the moisture to distribute and the ingredients to settle, making the dough easier to roll out come pie time.
This pie filling is a glorious mixture of summer and autumn. Where bigfatfresh strawberries meet a bit of cold weather spice. Freshly grated ginger feels like hot spice and imagination, while nutmeg grounds the pie flavors on earth.
There is great comfort in rolling out a pie dough.
And filling it with beautiful flavors.
And sealing it up tightly (though haphazardly).
And as if this creature hasn’t received enough attention, I brush it with egg and sprinkle it generously with sugar.
Ready for the oven!
This pie is summer and spice. It’s a sweet kick in the pants. It’s juicy like whaaaaat!? I love the combination of sweet strawberries and fresh, spicy ginger. Incidentally, I peeled the ginger root and grated it on the small setting of my box grater. I used about 2 teaspoons…. obviously, the more the ginger, the spicier the pie.
This happy pie was made using Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Flour. But should you want to make a gluten-filled crust, try this Double Crusted Pie Dough recipe.
Gluten-Free Strawberry Ginger Pie
makes 1 9-inch pie
For the Crust:
3 cups Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Flour, plus more for rolling out
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 large egg
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
For the Filling:
5 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
heaping 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (I peeled the ginger and used the small end of a box grater to grate fine.)
1 large egg, beaten and granulated sugar for topping the unbaked pie
To make the Crust:
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. In a small bowl, stir together the egg and buttermilk. Create a well in the butter and flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture. Use a fork to bring to dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. Sprinkle generously with flour. That’s perfect. Shape dough into two disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Allow dough to rest in the fridge for 1 hour. Dough is easiest to roll out when it’s cold and rested.
To make the Filling:
Toss together strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, salt, nutmeg, and ginger. Toss until all ingredients are well coated. Allow mixture to rest in the fridge while you roll out the pie crust.
To assemble to Pie:
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
When you’re ready to roll out the crust, on a well-floured work surface, gently roll out the pie crust into about an 11-inch circle. Press together any spots that might tear. Carefully lift down and place into the 9-inch pie plate. Use a pairing knife to trim the edges of pie dough, leaving about 1/2 inch extra dough overhang. Fill pie plate with strawberry filling. Brush edges of the pie dough with a bit of water. Repeat the dough rolling process and carefully place second crust on top of filled pie dough. Trim edges to 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the excess dough under and crimp with fingers, pressing together.
Thanks to all of you for the kind words in my cookie giveaway. I’m so glad I could lure some of you silent readers out into the commenting world with the chance at free cookies!
And the winners of fresh baked, express mail, Red Velvet Black and White Cookies are:
Megan of Meganscooking
Jennifer who is pregnant and probably really needs some black and whites
Tara who’s sister is a wiz at apron making
and Whitney in Chicago. Good luck on your big test!!
I’ll be baking this week and ship those cookies off to you all soon. And don’t fret, there are more yummy giveaways coming soon. I just can’t help myself!
What’s the strawberry treat above? It’s a simple and surprisingly delicious dessert. A bowl of quality vanilla ice cream, topped with sliced strawberries and drizzled with good aged balsamic vinegar. I know it sounds a little crazy, but it’s a pretty incredible, fresh, perfect for summer dessert. Go out on a limb and try this one. Do it for me.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have gotten prematurely excited about strawberry season. I’ve already played with strawberry sugar paper, and here I am with strawberry ice cream. It’s not even April! Strawberries aren’t at their peak flavor yet, but I see baskets of them in every market I visit. I just can’t help myself, so I buy and I bake. I should tell you now- it’s going to be a long berry season. Long, glorious and delicious!
This ice cream isn’t as rich and heavy as other well made ice creams. I used whole milk for the base and added a bit of buttermilk. The buttermilk adds a light, yogurt-like tang to the ice cream. And what a compliment to the macerated strawberries! This egg-less ice cream is full of sweet strawberry flavor and highlighted with tangy buttermilk notes. It’s so light an refreshing, I’m already anticipating craving this ice cream on those unbearably hot summer days.
Don’t have an ice cream maker? Well it’s high time you get one!
Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream
adapted from the New York Times
2 cups cream, half and half or milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
heaping 1/2 cup sliced and diced strawberries (optional 1 Tablespoon sugar)
Rinse strawberries under cool water and slice. Create a mixture of sliced and diced strawberry pieces. If you find that the strawberries aren’t very sweet, you can toss the sliced strawberries in 1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar and set aside until ready for the ice cream.
Put 1 1/2 cups of cream or milk into a small sauce pan. Add the sugar and salt and heat the milk over medium low heat. Keep and eye on the milk, stirring often so that the bottom of the pan doesn’t get any burned milk bits.
While the milk is heating, measure out the buttermilk and vanilla extract and set aside.
Also measure out the remaining 1/2 cup of milk or cream. Stir the cornstarch into this 1/2 cup of milk, until smooth and no lumps remain.
The milk on the stove should be hot and steaming. The milk does not need to boil, it just needs to be steaming. With the milk over a medium low flame, stir in the milk and cornstarch mixture. Stir the milk constantly until you begin to feel it thicken.
The milk mixture should look like the above picture after it has been thickened by cornstarch. Once the cornstarch is added to the milk it only takes a minute or two to thicken up.
Once the milk mixture is thick, remove from the heat and add vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Stir to incorporate.
Strain the warm milk mixture into a mixing bowl, cover in plastic wrap and allow to cool in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Once the mixture is cooled, remove from the refrigerator and stir in the sliced and diced strawberries. Follow the instructions on your ice cream maker and make some delicious ice cream!
This morning I started the day thinking about Easter as a child. It was the holiday as exciting as Christmas. There were personalized Easter baskets filled with candies and chocolates on a bed of fake plastic grass. There was always some sort of delicious ham and potato meal And the Easter egg hunt. Oh… the hunt! The hunt is the sole reason I could sit through church is my Easter dress, itchy tights and Sunday shoes. It was my little sister and I tearing through the house and backyard trying to find as many plastic eggs as we could. It was brutal, and there was no mercy. Flower beds were trampled, the house cat was scared from its house, tears were shed… it was the hunt, and it was serious. The coveted Easter eggs to find of the hunt were the silent one. Silent? Yes! Without the rattle of little chocolate candies, we knew those particular eggs were filled with cash. Oh how my sister and I would fight for those eggs. Thinking about it now, I have to shake my head at what greedy little children we must have been.
For Easter as an adult, I created a dessert that takes me back to Easter as a kid. Strawberry Cupcakes with light, fluffy frosting and mini Easter eggs on top. Since my sister and I don’t nearly kill each other in the Easter egg hunt anymore, I thought we might remember those sweet days with these darling cupcakes.
I used fresh, diced strawberries and ricotta cheese. The strawberry flavor was light and subtle. Next time I think I’ll use sour cream instead of the ricotta, just because I love the tender crumb that sour cream creates. These cupcakes are adorned with seven minute frosting, coconut and mini speckled robin’s eggs.
Strawberry Ricotta Cupcakes
adapted from Cooking with Amy
1/2 cup sugar1/4 cup (half a stick) unsalted butter, room temperature1 egg8 ounces ricotta cheese mixed with 1/4 cup whole milk1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon soda1/2 cup diced strawberries, freshCenter a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with 12 cupcakes papers and set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. Dice strawberries and set aside.In the bowl of a stand mixer, fit with a paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat for another 1 minute. Beat in the vanilla.Add the ricotta mixture alternately with the flour mixture. Starting and ending with the flour mixture. Fold in the strawberries .Divide among the 12 muffin tins and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until risen and very lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before frosting.
Seven Minute Frosting- Pink and Greenfrom Gourmet Cookbook2 large egg whites1 cup sugar1/4 cup waterCombine all ingredients in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, and beat with a handheld electric mixer on low speed until mixture is warm and sugar is dissolved. Increase speed to high and beat until frosting is thick and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Remove from bowl and beat until slightly cooled. Add a dash of vanilla extract and food coloring if desired. I used pale pink and green for Easter.
Praise the heavens! I got a new cookbook! I think I was in a cookbook rut. I found myself relying on the same two cookbooks day after day for my baking indulgence. Granted, they’re great cookbooks- charming, attractive and funny- but I had heard all their stories, seen all of their dress shirts, and laughed at all their jokes. I needed something new.
Just when I was about to accept my circumstance, a charming new love came into my life. Sweets by Patty Pinner is my new darling. This book is more than just a collection of recipes. Sweets is a gathering of family memories. In my life food is all about family and memories, so this book has quickly become so so dear to my heart.
Sweets is a southern style cookbook. The recipes are extremely approachable. Some of the cakes are made with (gasp!) cake mix, and then fancied up with additional ingredients. The family pictures are utterly charming and the stories that go along with each recipe are really touching. I read this book, cover to cover on an airplane, like a novel. I just love it!
Let me tell you about this strawberry cake. First things first- it’s sweet and moist and covered in cream cheese frosting and pink tinted coconut. The best part? It’s pink on the inside. Pink! Come on! Who doesn’t like pink cake? This is the kind of dessert that needs to be presented on your prettiest cake platter, under the spot light in your china cabinet. It’s a show cake. But it’s also really delicious. And… with the fabulous presentation of the cake, and the inevitable oooohs and aaaaahs you’ll get from guests, you’ll NEVER have to tell anyone just how easy it was to make. It’ll be our little secret.
Southern Style Strawberry Cake
1 (18.5 ounce) box white cake mix (without pudding)
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry jello
1 Tablespoon self rising flour
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup fresh strawberries, finely diced.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the cake, combine to cake mix, Jello, flour and sugar in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition Add the water and strawberries and mix well. Divide the batter evenly into three 8-inch round baking pans that have been oiled and floured. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean and the layers pull away from the sides of the pan.
Transfer the layers from the oven to wire racks. Let them cool, still in their pans, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, run a knife around the inside edge of each pan, then unmold each layer onto the racks to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 (1 pound) boxes powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
pink food coloring
4 sliced strawberries
To make the frosting, in a bowl combine the cream cheese and butter. Beat until soft and pliable and no lumps remain. Add one box of the powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Beat until incorporated. Add the second box of sugar and mix until incorporated. If you would like a smoother consistency, and a slash of milk. If you would like a thicker consistency, and a bit more powdered sugar until the desired consistency is achieved.
Put the coconut in a small bowl and sprinkle with two or three drops of pink die. Mix with hands to distribute the color and wash hands immediately. Once the cake is frosted, decorate the top of the cake with the shredded coconut and sliced strawberries. Enjoy! Happy Strawberry Summer!
I’ve decided to have a very quiet and still weekend.
Today- more pictures than words.
I hope you all find a piece of peace this weekend.
These unassuming, simple and delicious meringues might be just your ticket to bliss.
Memaw’s Meringue Shells
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon vinegar
Beat whites until stiff; add other ingredients and beat until shiny and very stiff. Draw circles on paper sacks and spread with a spoon or pipe with pastry tube within the confines of circles (I did my meringues free hand). Bake in 225 degree oven until lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Turn oven off, leaving the shells in the oven to completely cool. May be cooked before hand and stored in an airtight container until ready to use. Serve with fresh sliced strawberries and kiwis, or any fruit or berries you see fit.
This spring- green is the new pink, and navy is the new black. Trust me, I just know these things.
Are cake bites the new cupcake?
Cupcakes are all the rage, but these cake bites, they might just have something to em. These Strawberry Vanilla treats were inspired by Hilary and Bakerella. I fell hard for their Red Velvet Cupcake Balls and had to create my own.
So here you are! Cake shaped candy! What a wonderful world!
The inside of these little nuggets are soft, cakey, and have a hint of strawberry. The outside is silky milk chocolate that has hardened to a crunch. These Strawberry Vanilla Cake Bites are charming and delicious.
Strawberry Vanilla Cake Bites
adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
For the Cake
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg white, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
For the Strawberry Binding
1/3 cup strawberry preserves
2 heaping Tablespoons of marshmallow Jef Puff
14 ounces milk chocolate for dipping.
To Prepare the Cake
Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour one 8-inch round baking pan, knocking out excess flour.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer, on medium high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla, and beat until thoroughly blended, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed and add flour mixture and milk, alternately in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and mix until batter is just smooth, do not overmix. Batter will seem loose.
Spread batter evenly into pan. Bake until cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cake will still be pale in color, not golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan on a rack, then invert on a rack to cool completely.
While Cake cools, mix together the strawberry preserves and Jef Puff.
When cake is completely cool, crumble into a large mixing bowl. Add the strawberry mixture and mix together with hands This will be messy. Mix until the cake and preserves are thoroughly incorporated.
Shape cake mixture into 1 inch balls or squares by pressing the cake mixture together with your fingers and rolling in the palms of your hand. Place the shaped cake bites on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Once all the bites have been rolled, cover and place in the fridge for 20 minutes (I left mine overnight, no problem).
Melt milk chocolate in the microwave, or over a double boiler. Dip chilled cake bites into the melted chocolate and place back onto the baking sheet. Once all balls are dipped, place in the fridge for 20 minutes to harden the chocolate.
Yum and Yum.
We’re going back to the beginning with this cake. Ice Cream Cakes- that’s what started it all. Can I tell you a story?
I moved from Los Angeles, California to Burlington, Vermont when I was 18 and straight out of high school. I had it in my head that I didn’t want to go to college right away, and that I wanted to do some soul searching, as far away from my parents as I could get. I landed in Burlington with one suitcase and the phone number to one friend that I knew there. My friend Niki graciously let me stay in her apartment, and her Lisa friend gave me a job at the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream flagship store. Miraculously, I had it all worked out. I had a place to stay and a job. There was just one small hitch- I was TERRIFIED. I had never been so far away from home and out in the world on my own. I literally stayed in Niki’s apartment for a full week. I never even cracked the door open. I knew that I was in a strange place, surrounded by people I didn’t know and I, frankly, didn’t want anything to do with any of it. I stayed in that apartment listening to Niki’s entire music collection and taking lots of baths. That’s when I discovered I loved Billie Holiday and grapefruit bubble bath.
What finally drove me out of my cave? Food of course, I ran out of food and I’m no good with hunger pains.
Once I was out of the apartment and well fed, I realized that my new surroundings were actually pretty awesome. People acknowledged me as I walked down the street. I lived right around the corner from the most beautiful lake, a glass blowing studio, a picture perfect chapel and a culinary school that fed me samples of their student food every day. It was the most beautiful, friendly, warm and open place I’ve ever been.
My job scooping ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s quickly turned into the head cake decorator position. I could frost and decorate an ice cream cake like maniac. And because we’re talking about wild and wacky Ben and Jerry’s, the flavor combinations and signature tie dye frostings were completely over the top.
I loved my job. I loved Vermont. I met some characters that I won’t soon forget.
Once I stepped out of that apartment door, after a week of solitude and regret, I felt that I was blazing forward on the life I knew I wanted for myself. I also learned how to make a killer Ice Cream Cake along the way. That’s was almost ten years ago…. wow.
How I made a Strawberry Vanilla Ice Cream Cake-
What You’ll need:
2 8-inch (3-inch deep) round baking pans- you’ll need a deep cake pan to build your cake.
Vanilla cake batter (recipe to follow)
Half Gallon Strawberry Ice Cream
Heavy cream to make whipped cream frosting (recipe to follow)
adapted from the “Confetti Cakes” cookbook via ButterCakesbyEvan
2 cups cake flour (8 ounces)
1 3/4 cups plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour (8 ounces) (yes, two types of flour)
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
3 cups granulated sugar (21 ounces)
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 cup egg whites (8 ounces; about 7 eggs)
1 1/2 cups milk, room temp (12 ounces)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter, flour, and line pans with parchment paper (optional) and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla to the eggs and then add the egg mixture, a little bit at a time, until fully incorporated. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Try to do this as quickly as possible so you don’t dry out the cake by over mixing. It is okay to add the milk immediately after adding the flour, and vice versa.
Divide the batter between your cake pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For cupcakes, bake 20-25 minutes.
Whipped Cream Frosting
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar
In a large bowl of an electric mixer add whipping cream and vanilla extract. Using the whip attachment, begin to beat the mixture on medium speed. Gradually add the powdered sugar, increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Assembling the Cake
Step One: Grease the two 8-inch round cake pans. Make the vanilla cake batter and add about 2 -2 1/2 cups of batter into each cake pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove cakes from oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Once cooled, loosen the edges of the baked cake with a butter knife, flip the cake pans over onto a wire rack. Return 1 cake round to one of the 8-inch cakes pans and place the other cake round on a plate. Place both cake pan and plate in the freezer to begin to freeze the cake rounds.
Step Two: Freeze the cake rounds for 1 to 2 hours. You’ll need the cakes to be firm enough to spread fairly hard ice cream over them. Take the ice cream out of the freezer about 15 minutes before you’d like to use it, letting it rest on the counter.
Step Three: Remove the cake that’s in the cake pan from the freezer. Using the back of a stiff spatula, spoon the strawberry ice cream into the 8-inch cake round, on top of the first layer of vanilla cake. I used all but 1 cup of the half gallon of ice cream. Leave about 1-inch of space from the top of the 3-inch deep cake pan. At this point you’ve got a vanilla cake bottom layer topped with strawberry ice cream, leaving about 1 inch of empty space at the top of the pan.
Step Four: Remove the plated vanilla cake layer from the freezer. Place the second layer of vanilla cake inside the 8-inch round, on top of the strawberry ice cream. Return pan to the freezer to set for about an hour, depending on how soft your ice cream became while you were shaping the cake.
Step Five: Make Whipped Cream Frosting and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Step Six: After 1 to 2 hours in the freezer, remove the cake pan. Run a butter knife under hot water and run the knife along the cake, in between the cake pan and the ice cream cake to loosen the sides. Flip pan over onto a serving plate or cardboard cake round. Return cake to freezer if you find it too soft.
Step Seven: Quickly frost Ice Cream Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting. Return to the freezer to chill. Decorate the cake as you like. I used fondant to make a layered heart topper.