This week my boss asked me to take over the employee birthday celebrations. Now, let me tell you. I have never worked at a place that took better care of its employees...ever! They tend to go all out for our birthdays, personalizing the whole celebration as much as possible. So, needless to say, I have big shoes to fill. And, funnily enough, I just realized the reason for the timing of this change. There are FIVE birthdays in our office in March!! Yep, five. Which means we may just have a few more detours from our cupcake path in the next few weeks. But, back to this post.....
My first birthday girl is Ms. Rita. A sweet, funny, caring lady who makes me smile every time she laughs. She runs our shipping department. Well, to be honest, she IS our shipping department! She has a big job and does it well. In trying to figure out the right dessert to celebrate this sweet lady's birthday my options were wide open. She's not at all picky and has a child-like excitement over sweets that I just love! Hello! What baker wouldn't?? So, I decided to do a little investigative work on this cake that will help me with my next cupcake post. Remember how I kept promising Raspberry-Lemon cupcakes then posting about Triple Chocolate, cupcake liners, and oh yes, Doughnuts? Well, the very next post (after this one) will be the promised Raspberry-Lemon. Again, back to this post....
Sweet & Sour Strawberry Cupcakes post. Ready for it? Strawberry Lemonade Birthday Cake! Yum-my! I'm so excited about this one. It's such a classic flavor combination. Pinterest addict that I am, I came across the Lemonade cake recipe on that fantastic site (Pinterest) and decided to use it here. So, the cake goes like this - 4 alternating layers, 2 each of Strawberry Cake (see link above) and Lemonade Cake, filled and iced with a light Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream. I "messy iced" the cake (my favorite!), put a rosette/fresh strawberry border on top, and drizzled with a homemade Strawberry Lemonade Sauce that I threw together in a pot on the stove.
For the cupcake fans out there you could very easily make this into a single-serving treat! I don't know how you "pour" your batter into the liners, but I use a large melon baller or small ice cream scoop and typically use 2 scoops per standard size cupcake. So, if I were making this as a cupcake, I would first drop 1 scoop of the strawberry batter followed by 1 scoop of the lemonade batter. They may move around a bit while baking but that just makes them a little more unique! :) Anyway, the whole point is to have fun while baking so you can mess around with it however you want!
Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
about 8 cups confectioner's sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 t vanilla
In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening, and cream cheese. Mix on high until fluffy. Add vanilla and lemon juice and blend. Add sugar a little at a time on low speed. Whip at high speed til fluffy.
Strawberry Lemonade Sauce
1 cup frozen sliced strawberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1/3 cup water
about 1 1/2 t cornstarch
Combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in pot over medium heat. Whisk water and cornstarch until cornstarch is dissolved, then add to pot. Bring to rolling boil, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and run through a fine sieve. Let sauce cool completely before using on cake.
Notes on the Lemonade Cake: I was *gasp* almost out of milk when I got home from work to bake this cake and didn't feel like going back out to the store. So, I used a mixture of 1/2 cup milk (all I had left), 1/4 cup water, and 1/2 cup lemon yogurt, whisked together until smooth. This cake is good but not exactly what I'm looking for in a lemon cake. I prefer lemon cake to be light and airy and this one, while tasting good, is a bit dense for me. It's possible that my messing with the called-for ingredients (my lack of enough milk) is what changed the texture. So, if any of you try this cake as-is and it comes out light, PLEASE let me know! The good thing is that this is what my blog is all about. Trying new ideas and recipes and seeing what works and what flops. Unfortunately for me, this means I'm back to the search for the perfect lemon cake recipe for my next post!
The consensus at the office? YUM! Really, I've never seen my coworkers finish off that much cake in less time! These were huge pieces and almost every plate was cleaned! The birthday girl was extremely happy and the excitement that I mentioned before was there to see. :) So, overall, I'd say this was a successful foray into the unknown. Until next time, happy reading and, most importantly, happy cupcake-ing!