Strawberries and Cream Cake!

I discovered this cake on Twitter!

I follow Hungry Rabbit NYC and he told the most lovely story from his childhood and made the most beautiful cake for his mother for Mother’s Day!

Ken, otherwise known as HungryRabbitNYC, takes amazing photographs and builds an even more amazing cake.

My photos aren’t nearly as good, and my skills don’t seem to be as sharpened as Ken’s but this cake was delicious!

Strawberry n Cream Cake

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated


1 tablespoon lemon zest, freshly grated
1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
1-1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

2-1/2 pounds fresh strawberries (medium or large, use 3 quarts), washed, dried, reserve 8-10 strawberries (stems in tacked) for decoration
4–6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons rum
Pinch table salt

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (3-1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 cups heavy cream


1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 by 2-inch cake line with parchment paper, grease and flour, set aside.

2. Add lemon zest and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in large mixing bowl, rub with fingers until sugar is slightly moist and takes on a pale yellow color. Add flour, baking powder, salt, whisk to combine. add 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water and both extracts; whisk until smooth.

3. In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form,about 2 minutes. Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 25-35 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto greased wire rack; peel off and discard parchment. Invert cake again; cool completely, about 2 hours.

5. Stemmed and halve 24 of best-looking berries and reserve. Quarter remaining berries; toss with 4 to 6 tablespoons sugar (depending on sweetness of berries) in medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve (you should have about 1/2-3/4 cup). Place macerated berries in food processor fitted with metal blade, give it five 1-second pulses (you should have about 2 cups).

6. In small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices and rum until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.

1. Place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow, steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2-1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed.

1. Using large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers. Place bottom layer on cake plate and arrange half of the strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer. Pour one half of pureed berry mixture in center, then spread to cover any exposed cake. Gently spread about one-third of whipped cream over berry layer, leaving 1/2-inch border from edge. Place middle cake layer on top and press down gently. Repeat with remaining strawberry halves and berry mixture, and half of remaining whipped cream; gently press last cake layer on top. Spread remaining whipped cream over top; decorate with reserved strawberries. Chill for 1-2 hours.

The aroma of the batter; full of lemon zest and vanilla, was intoxicating!

We wanted to eat it fresh out of the oven!

The texture is also fantastic and I could see using this recipe for other fruity type cakes, heavy frostings, or nut fillings.

I am a bit sloppy campared to Ken who seems to be an engineer of all things Baked!

Thank you Hungry Rabbit for a beautiful recipe and for inspiring me to make this cake for myself on Mother’s Day!

I assure you that I thuroughly enjoyed it!


The Biggest Piece of Chocolate Cake, Ever! at Tavern on Rush in Chicago!

The waiter warned me and I just assumed he was a wimp. A supermodel in waiter clothing.

How could he think for a moment that I could not finish a piece of cake?!

It was just lovely! and HUGE indeed!

There was no finishing this cake but it was spectacular!

Not too sweet, moist and a chocolate buttercream landscape of heaven!

It was a brisk and windy Chicago day and we spent it on the patio of Tavern on Rush, sipping coffee and nibbling on this cake!

There was people watching and the luxury of a carefree afternoon with my loved one.

A small pool of creme Anglais, fresh strawberrries and a delicate chocolate sauce created the perfect balance of flavor and texture!

Look at this! From every angle a monument to yumminess!

I can’t wait to go back and do it all over again!


Carrot Cake and Company

carrot cake pd nice

The cold winds are blowing and coffee and carrot cake is the only remedy.
This tastes best after a long walk in the chill autumn air.
It’s so cozy and yummy and feels like Fall to me.
I added a little yogurt and butter to make it extra moist and have been enjoying this all week.


1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
½ cup raisins

Cream cheese frosting

1 package cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
enough milk to soften


Heat oven to 350 fahrenheit
Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.
Mix sugar, oil and eggs until well blended. Beat for 1 minute
Stir in remaining ingredients except carrots, nuts and raisins.
Beat 1 minute then stir in remaining ingredients

Bake 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

Frost with cream cheese frosting if you’d like


Ode to Betty


This page of my Betty Crocker cookbook, which my mother gave to me when I was in college, is ridiculous! It is covered in crusty splotches and is unreadable in spots due to dried cake batter and greasy spots from butter spills.

Although I‘ve had this book for more than 20 years it is only within the last 10 or so that I have grown to truly appreciate the beauty and simplicity of “Betty”.

As a budding gourmand in college this book was a guide to cooking basics and old standbys. Basic cakes and bread recipes taught me techniques that would serve me well into the future. I learned how to truss chickens and beef roasts. I learned how to blanch stuff.

The biggest bang was this Banana-nut Bread. Everyone loves it. Some like it cold, some like it hot. I often make this for gifts at holiday time.

I have adapted this recipe over the years and experimented with healthful whole grain ingredients, and turbinado sugar. I’ve tried vegan versions and lo-cal substitutions. The best recipe is the one which I will present here and it seems to be everyone’s favorite. It is basically Betty Crocker’s recipe with a few minor tweaks which have made this perfect for my 2 loaf pan preparation. I have created a highly portable Banana Bread type treat which can be toasted and carried on the way to school or eaten cold with a cup of coffee or a glass of ice cold milk.

Banana-Nut Cake

(Adapted from Betty Crocker)

2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup sugar ( I sometime use turbinado which can add moisture so I then add 2 tbs flour)
5-6 medium sized mushy bananas
2/3 cup finely chopped nuts
½ cup butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips ( or your desire)
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour 2 8 ½” x 4 ½” x 2 ¾” loaf pans.

Mix eggs, sugar, buttermilk, and butter until creamy. Sift together dry ingredients, add chocolate chips and slowly add to the wet mixture. (Hand held mixer produces the best result) Beat on high speed for 3 minutes scraping the sides of the bowl. Pour into pans.

Bake until wooden pick comes out dry, about 40-45 minutes.

Remove from pans immediately and allow to cool on cooling rack.
I like to wrap mine in aluminum foil at once and place in the fridge. This ensures that the loaves are moist and delicious!


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