Better Baking

My favorite desserts are always strawberry-related – especially in the Summer: strawberry shortcake, strawberry icecream, strawberries with honey and cream, strawberry popsicles, whatever. In high school, my then-boyfriend’s mother brought one of the most amazing strawberry-related desserts ever to a cook-out that was more than likely marching band related. It was cold and refreshing and had so many tasty components: frozen strawberries, jell-o, pudding, cool whip, and cake. Thankfully, she isn’t one of those Southern women who withhold recipes like they do affection and approval and she gave my mom a copy. Being that it has been oppressively hot for what feels like forever, I decided it would be the perfect dessert to bring to the Fourth of July party we went to on Wednesday. So, before getting down to business on my kick-ass American flag tank-top, I ran to the store to get the fixins for the cake and, while enjoying my morning coffee, got to baking.

Strawberry Ice Box Cake. The ingredients are simple:

For the cake:

  • 1 box white cake and everything it says you need on the box
  • 1 large (6oz) box strawberry Jell-O
  • 16 oz box frozen strawberries (chopped/halved/sliced/whatever)

For the Icing:

  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 medium Cool Whip (softened)

First, you bake the cake in a 9×13 pan according to the directions on the box using the 3 whole egg directions, not the bullshit 4 egg white directions. Meanwhile, mix the box of strawberry Jell-O with 2 cups of hot water until the Jell-O is dissolved. Add the frozen strawberries to the Jell-O and stir until melted/thawed. Once the cake is finished baking, poke holes all over it with a fork. I mean ALL OVER it – go nuts with the fork. Once you think you have poked enough holes, poke a few more just to be sure. Then, slowly pour the Jell-O mixture over the cake, allowing it to soak in evenly. The strawberries will sit on top of the cake for the most part, but some will sink down into it over time. Like so:

Chill several hours, or over night. Make the icing by first mixing the box of pudding and the 2 cups cold milk then, using a hand-blender (or whisk if you’ve got the stamina), add the container of Cool Whip a big dollop at a time. Evenly spread over the chilled cake and serve cold. Like this:

I enjoyed a pretty sizable piece at the party (the above picture is merely the last bite – I was so engrossed in the cake I almost forgot to document it in all its glory) and then, foolishly, left the remaining half of the cake at the party so I was unable to enjoy it for breakfast the following morning when I was suffering from a hangover-related headache and icky-belly. I trust that it went to good use though. Before Summer is over, I plan on making it again using frozen peaches and peach Jell-O. I’ll report back with delicious results.

 

 

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Better Patriotism

This year, I had zero plans for the Fourth of July until the afternoon of the third when we were invited to a last-minute shindig at a friend’s house. Elsewise, I would’ve started this project earlier and posted it in time for the Fourth but, alas – such is life. For the last few weeks Pinterest has been covered in adorable patriotic creations ranging from ridiculous to sane. I mean, really – who has the time to make a danged ole American flag yarn wreath, paint their nails with stars and stripes, arrange fruit kebabs and various other edibles to look like the flag, and place said edibles on the table around the red, white, and blue bean (I don’t know where they found blue beans either) centerpiece? After all, it is a holiday meant to be spent drinking cold beer, playing yard games, and blowing shit up. But, I don’t own any patriotic clothing so I had no choice but to make an American flag tank top out of one of J’s old white shirts. So, I woke up early-ish to get a head start on the strawberry ice box cake for the fiesta and to create my star-spangled ensemble.

First, I took an old white v-neck and, using one of my favorite tank tops as a template, cut out the sleeves and neck. Like so:

Then, I covered the giant clipboard my husband has for some reason in paper and secured the tank to it placing a broken down Cinnamon Life cereal box inside the shirt to avoid getting paint where it didn’t belong. You could probably use any kind of cereal box, but Cinnamon Life really is the best. Next, using a variety of tapes and cardboard cut-out stars, we secured the design to the shirt. Observe:

Then, using some acrylic paint J had lying around (I am telling you, I have been known to complain about the random shit he accumulates but it really comes in handy sometimes) to execute the bitchin’ design. Like so:

Once I got the shirt on my person, we cut the sleeves into strips and tied the back of the shirt together to create a skinny racerback. And, BOOM – festive attire for the Fourth of July:

Not to toot my own horn or anything but the shirt got a lot of good press at the party and certainly made me feel more American than everyone else. Happy Birthday America!!