I’ve done a few programs with OXO in the past, but I think that this is my absolute favorite one thus far. When I got an email asking if I’d like to have a crate of strawberries from Driscoll’s sent to me so that I could come up with a fun recipe or two, my immediate response was, of course, “Duh!” This project was called #TheIncredibleHull, and it was so much fun. These were some wonderfully juicy berries. When the shipment arrived, Kramer and I just put our heads over the bag and let the amazingly fresh strawberry scent waft over us. They smelled so good you might have even thought that they were fake. Anyway, since I received a king’s ransom in strawberries, I wanted to make sure that you were eligible to share in the wealth, too! After the jump, you’ll be able to enter to win a prize package from OXO and Driscoll’s worth $350! It includes a OXO Strawberry Huller, OXO 3 Piece Berry Bowl & Colander Set, a $70 Gift Card to OXO.com and Driscoll’s berries for a year, so you’ll be able to make some berry-rific recipes along with me. Honestly, I’ve gotten a lot of fun stuff over the years as a result of running this blog, but I really hope that one of you takes home this prize because there’s nothing quite as exciting as having unlimited access to ripe, juicy berries. I know that kind of makes me sound like an insufferable food person, but just trust me on this one.
I’m not usually one to bake cakes, to be quite honest. I hate making frosting because it means that I have to wash my mixing bowl not once, buy twice, which is clearly the worst kind of punishment imaginable for playing with butter and sugar. I made an exception for these strawberries, though. They just seemed to cry out to be made into something pretty rather than what I’d usually do with them, which is cover them up in some kind of crumble (not that I didn’t also do that…old habits die hard) or smother them in Greek yogurt and honey. When I told Kramer I’d be making a cake, he politely suggested that maybe I should not. His reasoning is sound. Last time that I made a cake, it was almost a total disaster. It was lopsided. The frosting was runny. Kramer and I were both scouring the internet for keywords such as “how+to+fix+cake” or “cover+up+ugly+cake”. After that, I did what all reasonable people do, which is lay on the couch on the verge of tears threatening to just toss the whole thing in the trash. This was also a four layer cake, but it was a tiramisu cake and weighed about 10 pounds. Eventually, I made a bunch of lady fingers to place around the cake. This worked on two levels in that the cookies were integral to the structural integrity of the cake, and they also actually made the cake look good. This time around, I set much lower expectations. I went for a more “rustic” look, if you will, but I still think that the cake looks pretty decent. I brought it into the office to share with my co-workers, and they all seemed to enjoy it and commented that they, too, thought it was a good lookin’ cake. So there you have it. I’m never trying to screw around and frost the sides of a cake ever again. I’m going to let whatever frosting or filling I decide to use shine through – thankfully, in this case, it was an appetite-inducing pink strawberry variety.
Other than eating our way through the last of our strawberries, Kramer and I had a nice, easy going weekend. On Friday night we met up with some of my co-workers for drinks, then Kramer and I headed back to Brooklyn (and even at dinner at The Brooklyn Star) before heading home to catch up on a TV show or two and go to bed early. On Saturday, I went into the city to get my hair colored (I needed to add more blonde to please my savior, Jared Leto) then had some friends over to play The Settlers of Catan, which was endlessly fun and comes highly recommended. After the battle, we ordered in barbecue from Mabel’s and went to The Drink for a friend’s birthday party. We ended the evening with a nightcap on our friend’s new roof with an amazing view of the city. On Sunday, I worked like a dog on yet another freelance project, then back to our friend’s previously mentioned awesome roof, followed by a couple of drinks at Harefield Road before grabbing some Korean food at Brooklyn Seoul and calling it a night. Nothing too crazy, but just the right amount of fun, I’d say. We’ve got another week of work ahead of us, but I feel ready for it, especially because it’s Memorial Day weekend coming up and we have a day off! I’ll have to go and get myself some more strawberries.
I have to say, these OXO huller tools worked really well. I was surprised at how fast I was able to tackle pound after pound of strawberries!
Puree your strawberries and set them aside.
Cream together your butter and sugar.
Then add in your eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla, flour mixture and strawberries.
Divide the batter equally among four pans, and bake until just golden.
While the cake layers cool, make your frosting! I don’t usually sift my powdered sugar, but I went the extra mile today. For you.
Then you can start layering and frosting! You’ll need about double the frosting if you want to cover the sides of the cake. I say, let them shine through.
- 1 pound (16 ounces) strawberries, hulled and pureed
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
- 2½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 ounces (1/2 a pound) strawberries, hulled and pureed
- 1¼ cup (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
- 3¼ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of kosher salt
- 8 ounces (1/2 a pound) strawberries, hulled and sliced, for decoration
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Puree your strawberries in a blender or food processor and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together your flour and baking powder and set aside.
- Cream your butter in a standing mixer until smooth. Add in the sugar and beat until light and fluffy and a pale yellow color, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Alternate adding in the flour and strawberry puree, starting and ending with the flour.
- Line 4 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and butter the parchment and sides of the pan well. Divide the batter among the 4 cake pans, then bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cakes are lightly golden on top (all ovens vary, so start checking on them at 20 minutes and bake for another 5-10 minutes as needed). Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely before running a butter knife around the edges and removing them from the pans.
- When the cake is ready to be frosted, make the frosting. Puree your strawberries and set aside. In a standing mixer, cream your butter until smooth, then add in the sifted powdered sugar (sifting helps keep lumps out of the frosting), pureed strawberries, vanilla and salt and beat for a minimum of 5-6 minutes, until fluffy. The frosting will be a bit lumpy, but that's because you are using fresh strawberries and they will never be smooth unless you run them through a sieve, which you are more than welcome to do, but I opted for a more 'rustic' look.
- Place one cake layer on your work surface when you are ready to frost the cake. Spread about ¼ of the frosting onto this layer, being sure that there is enough frosting around the edges to peek out and create this said 'rustic' look to the cake. Place another layer on top of the frosting, spread about ¼ onto this layer, and repeat. For the last layer, spread the remaining ¼ of frosting on top, then decorate with sliced strawberries. You may also sprinkle with a bit more powdered sugar, if you like.
Please also do yourself a favor and check out the other bloggers participating in The Incredible Hull!