Tag Archives: Cake Slice Bakers

The Cake Slice: Strawberry Lemonade Cake

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Doesn’t a pink cake just scream “HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!”….???

Well, maybe not. But, this cake is special. For the June cake selection, as part of the Cake Slice Bakers, I carefully selected this lovely pink cake for my husband. You see, he loves strawberries. Every year for either his birthday or father’s day, I try to make him something with strawberries in it. Strawberry pie. Strawberry shortcake. Strawberry ice cream. Etc., etc.

With my monthly cake baking deadline the same weekend as father’s day, I decided on the Pink Lemonade Cake recipe from Southern Living’s The Southern Cake Book. I did, however, make one substitution by substituting the pink lemonade mix with fresh, crushed strawberries…thus, Strawberry Lemonade Cake.

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The cake came together in a flash. It was quite dense, though. I believe that’s on account of the directions that said to mix the flour with the remaining ingredients without first whipping the butter. Regardless, it was a fairly tasty cake. I’m not sure that I’d make it again, but it was a great, suitable cake for the occasion.

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Check out what the other ladies in my club chose to bake this month:

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The Cake Slice: Chocolate Marble Sheet Cake

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If you ever had even the remotest of urges to bake a cake from scratch, THIS is THE CAKE to bake.

Reason #1: All you need is a standard 13 x 9 pan. No fancy round pans, stacking, or balancing act needed.

Reason #2: It’s THAT good. As in, the stuff of dreams. Moist, delicious, marble crumb. Smooth, rich, chocolate buttercream.

Here is the link to the recipe: Chocolate Marble Sheet Cake

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This is THE CAKE that you want to bake for a birthday, an anniversary, a graduation…really any day of the week. Wednesday will do. Yeah…we made it half way through the week. Now, let’s eat cake.

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As I mentioned in last month’s post, I’ve joined a new gym and have embarked on a rigorous daily workout program. Cake has never been further from my mind. As proof: my 25 pound bag of flour has sat lonely in the cupboard, barely seeing the light of day over the past several weeks, only to appear briefly to dispense a cup or two here or there for a batch of pancakes for the kids. In earlier days, I could go through a 25 pound bag in a matter of weeks. On big baking days, I could burn through a good 10 pounds of flour without blinking. Notice my tiny 5 pound bag…isn’t it cute?!?!

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I’ve been on such a good roll with my new cake-less routine and healthy diet, that I almost skipped baking this month’s cake. But then, with only 2 days to spare until the monthly cake reveal, I decided to give the four options a quick look and decided that if I had everything on hand, I’d give it a go.

Boy, am I glad I did.

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This cake. THIS CAKE. I can’t even begin to describe how I feel about this cake. All I can say is that it’s just that good. It’s that good AND it’s easy. I literally mixed up the batter, plopped the white batter in the pan, plopped the chocolate batter on top, and baked it. Once it cooled completely, I whipped up the buttercream, sampled some, plopped it on the cake, sampled some more….it was SO good, and smoothed it with a spatula. And then…well luckily my camera was close because I barely got a picture of the finished cake snapped before I couldn’t resist cutting into it and carving out a huge chunk.

Needless to say, this cake did not last long in our house. Just make it. Trust me.

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Check out what the other Cake Slice Bakers made this month.

The Cake Slice: Carrot Cake

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The April cake reveal has finally arrived, and this month, of the four choices we had to select from in our cake baking club, I chose to bake the carrot cake…a truly perfect cake for the Easter season.

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This month I faced the ultimate dilemma. You see, as a baking enthusiast, I not only love to bake the cakes, but I also love to sample the cakes. I could eat cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mmmmm…buttercream. Who couldn’t, right?

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But, I took a big leap this month and joined a new fitness program. The initial program lasts for 10 weeks with a mix of kickboxing, cardio, and strength training workouts six days a week. Proper nutrition is essential to success in this rigorous program. Which means: CAKE is out. Ouch. It pains me to even think of it.

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Fortunately, the one day a week that I’m not working out is considered a “fun day”…which I translate to CAKE DAY. On “fun day” you can eat whatever you want whenever you want. Yippee!!! In fact, I just might eat cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that day!

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And yet. I could resist the urge to eat the cake and instead bring it in to the office to share with my coworkers. That’s what I did with this month’s cake. One of my work friends had a birthday, and I had already planned to bake her a carrot cake, and the stars just happened to align in that carrot cake was one of the four options in our cake club this month.

Aside from black forest cake, I’ve got to admit that carrot cake takes a close second in my book. The creamy, thick frosting…and the moist, burnt umber hued crumb. Southern Living rates this recipe among the best carrot cakes they have ever tested. It disappeared fast, and tasted great. Definitely a keeper recipe that I’ll make again. The cake turned out moist, and the cream cheese buttercream was a delicious compliment to the cake. I topped it with toasted pecans, as well.

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So, at least for the next 10 weeks, maybe just a little slice for myself won’t hurt. All things in moderation, right? Someone has to review the recipe, after all. I can’t just stop baking and let my fellow Cake Slicers down!

Might as well find a happy medium between the cake and the boxing glove!

Here’s the recipe, if you’d like to give it a try. You will not be disappointed.

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By the way, the other three choices this month included: Coconut Cheesecake Squares, Brown Sugar Pecan Coffee Cake, and Green Tea Honeysuckle Cake. If you’d like to see which of the four cake recipes my fellow Cake Slice bakers selected to bake this month, click on the link below to check out their sweet treats.

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The Cake Slice: Luscious Lemon Layer Cake

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Sometimes things just don’t go exactly as planned. So it goes for the March cake. I happened to have all the required ingredients and few spare minutes to knock this out on a recent Saturday. The only thing I didn’t have were three round pans of the same size, which was what the recipe prescribed. Instead, I opted for two layers, and given the results, I’m really glad I did.

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Forging ahead, I used a spatula to spread the batter between the pans, trying as best I could to smooth and level them.

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Into the oven they went, and off I went to some other distraction until the timer buzzed.

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The next sign that something was wrong came as soon as I pulled the pans out of the oven and noticed the layers were flat and dense. Referring back to the recipe, I quickly realized that, in my haste, I had added only 2 tsp of baking powder…not the 2 Tbsp that I should have added. Oops.

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The first sign of unexpected consequences was when I tried to pour the batter into the pans and it did not move. As in…I could literally tip the bowl upside down, and the batter would not fall out.

On to the frosting while the layers cooled. I added a bit too much powdered sugar, resulting in a relatively stiff buttercream, similar to a thick cookie frosting.

That’s when it hit me. This cake wasn’t really a cake, but more like a giant layered cookie. Alas, the layered sugar cookie “cake” with luscious lemon buttercream was born!

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This is my third selection of 2015 as part of The Cake Slice, a group of international baking enthusiasts who get together “virtually” every month to bake cakes from a chosen cookbook. This year, we are in the process of baking our way through The Southern Living Cake Book. Each month we can pick from four selections to make. Take a look at what the other bakers chose to make this month:

The Cake Slice: February Cake

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It’s February. A short month. A month of hearts, love, and a whole lot of pink and red. To me, there’s no greater way to share the love than with a homemade cake. Baking brings me so much joy. Baking for others is such a wonderful way to celebrate life’s special little moments. The more I delve into this world of a million possibilities crafted out of a simple combination of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar…the more I know this is my thing.

This month, I chose the red velvet cake out of the four options we had for our Cake Slice Bakers club. The other choices were: king cake, black and white torte, or Mississippi mud cake. All good options.

While I love a good red velvet cake, I don’t love the amount of red food coloring that goes into the batter to make it a deep, blood red. Sooooo….I made a few tiny little changes. I basically baked the cake true to the recipe with the exception of the 1 ounce of red food coloring it called for. I did use a few drops, just not the four 0.25 ounce bottles per the recipe.

I also modified the presentation, including the frosting. While the recipe suggested a more traditional white mascarpone frosting, I used a whipped cream cheese, butter, cocoa, and powdered sugar combination, and then I covered that with pink, peppermint, homemade marshmallow fondant. I decorated it with white homemade fondant and we enjoyed it with our friend who recently received a big promotion at work.

This is the most I’ve ever changed up one of our monthly cakes since I started baking with The Cake Slice club. I do hope my fellow Slicers forgive me. I mean, my cake wasn’t even red inside…it was brown. And if not, I can always redeem myself next month!

If you’d like to see which of the four recipes my fellow Cake Slicers chose to bake this month, click here:

The Cake Slice: Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

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It’s the start of a new baking year for the Cake Slice…which means it’s time to reveal the new book we’ll all be baking from for the next 12 months. By “all” I mean my fellow Cake Slicers – a lovely group of ladies from all over the world who share a common love for baking and agree to bake one cake from the same cookbook each month for a year. We learn from our successes and failures and – most importantly – have lots of fun. We use a private Facebook group to compare notes, share pictures, and recount our latest baking adventures. As we were preparing for the launch of our new baking year, we ran a quick roll call to share where we all lived, and I was blown away by our diverse list of locations:

Cambridge, UK
Shedd, Oregon
Saginaw, Michigan
Weybridge, Surrey UK
Somerset, New Jersey
Modesto, California
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Singapore
Santa Rosa, California
Sydney, Australia
Montgomery Village, Maryland
Limerick, Ireland
San Fernando Valley, California

Wow…all of us connected through our affinity for flour, sugar, and butter!

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Each month, there are four cake recipes in which each baker may choose from, and then on the 20th of each month, we reveal the cake we chose on our blog and link all the blog posts together so all the world may see the pictures of our wonderful cakes.

The chosen book for our new baking year is called the Southern Cake Book by the editors of Southern Living Magazine. It’s loaded with beautiful, full-page pictures of each cake within the book and the recipes are easy to follow. I initially checked the book out from my local library so that I could give it a quick peruse before committing to another year’s worth of cake baking. I was pleasantly surprised.

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From the four options for November, I selected Caramel Apple Coffee Cake, and it was FAB-U-LOUS…and dangerous. Who knew homemade caramel was so easy to make and would taste so good?!? And better yet, the batch of caramel sauce was more than enough for the recipe, leaving an extra ½ cup for other purposes….like drizzled over homemade vanilla ice cream or slathered over fresh apple slices. I confess…I cut up an extra apple just to scrape the remaining caramel from the pan…into my mouth…at 8:00am…for breakfast. Don’t judge. No regrets.

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So here are the details on this cake. A fairly typical dense batter makes up the base. Then a layer of lightly sautéed apples is arranged on top on the batter, followed by a generous drizzle of caramel sauce. Finally, streusel crumbs are placed on top, and the whole thing is baked uncovered for 45 minutes, and then covered and baked for another 30 minutes. After it’s thoroughly cooled, more caramel is poured over the top.

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Now that you are most likely drooling all over your screen, you really should make this. Here’s the recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/caramel-apple-coffee-cake

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A few notes: Be sure to make the caramel sauce and streusel BEFORE you make the batter, so they have time to cool and are ready when you need them. Also, there is more butter in the batter/caramel/streusel combined recipes than a butterhead at the Minnesota State Fair…so don’t be afraid to cut it down a bit…I used half the butter called for in the batter and the streusel and it was just as decadent. Finally, I substituted ½ cup oats in place of the nuts in the streusel so my little coffee-cake loving kiddo with a nut allergy could enjoy this with the family.

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So, there you have it. And the kiddo gave it his seal of approval saying it’s the best coffee cake I’ve ever made. You know…because I bake coffee cakes all the time, right? Don’t we all?

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Check out what my fellow Cake Slicers baked this month:

The Cake Slice: Very Berry Roulade

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I just made it in under the wire this month. Truth be told, I wasn’t even sure if I would get to making this month’s cake. But…here it is. Isn’t it cute? Well, not sure if a cake can be described as “cute” but who doesn’t love a good jelly roll?!?!

I’ve recently graduated from Casual Baker to Serious Baker. Meaning: I now buy powdered sugar by the truckload – behold the 7 pound bag from Costco.

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If I ever break down and buy the 50 pound bag, it’ll definitely be time to lock me up.

So, this month I was torn between a marble cake and this one. Ultimately, I thought this one was more suitable to August – light, airy, loaded with fresh, seasonal berries.

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I veered a little off course from Carole Walter’s Very Berry Roulade recipe in Great Cakes by adding lemon zest to the batter and then incorporated whipped cream cheese into the whipped cream to produce a loftier filling with a hint of a cheesecake feel to it. I also folded diced strawberries along with raspberries and blueberries into the filling. Triple Berry Cheesecake Roll would probably be a more suitable name for my version.

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This Strawberry Cream Roll recipe is very close to the recipe that I used. The key is to a light sponge is to beat the eggs until they turn thick and lemon colored – a minimum of 5 minutes, sometimes longer. I baked my cake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes – just until the edges began to slightly brown and pull away from the sides of the pan.

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When making a rolled cake, it’s really important to line the jelly roll pan with parchment paper to keep the cake from sticking to the pan. Flip the cake onto a powdered sugar covered cotton dish towel, peel off the parchment, sprinkle the cake with more powdered sugar, then roll it up in the towel and let it sit until completely cool. Piece of cake…and super impressive!

If you’d like to check out what my fellow cake club bakers close to bake this month, click here to see their links:

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The Cake Slice: Black Forest Cherry Torte

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There are two desserts I could eat every single day: tiramisu and black forest cherry torte. Whenever I find them on a menu, I just can’t resist…and I lick the plate. Every time.

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Both are equally intimidating to make at home with ingredients that take some work to seek out (ladyfingers for the former; morello cherries and kirschwasser for the latter).

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I spent a semester in college studying in Germany, and that’s where I first discovered both desserts. Every little café throughout Bavaria had Schwarzwaldkirsch Torte (i.e. black forest cherry torte) on the menu. After class, we’d head over to the nearest café and indulge in a cappuccino and a thick slice of this decedent torte. On the weekends, we’d head south with our Eurail passes to explore Italy, stuffing ourselves with pizza and tiramisu along the way. I don’t know how we didn’t gain a bazillion pounds back then…but adapting to the European mode of walking everywhere coupled with frequent hiking in the mountains helped offset all our indulgences.

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By the way, the reward for hiking up a mountain in Germany is typically a quaint little chalet perched atop the peak, serving, you guessed it…schwarzwaldkirsch torte.

Back in my college days, I had just begun to take interest in baking, as well as cooking in general. During my semester in Germany, I spent numerous hours in my German host mother’s kitchen learning her recipes and techniques for preparing classic Bavarian dishes, while at the same time introducing her to some of my favorite American picnic recipes, like shrimp pasta salad and layered taco dip.

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When I wrapped up my semester in Germany, my German host mother gave me a German cookbook and a glass measuring cup as a parting gift, and we made one last recipe together – black forest cherry torte.

My 1st Black Forest Cherry Torte - Rosenheim, Germany

My 1st Black Forest Cherry Torte – Rosenheim, Germany

Needless to say, I was thrilled to see that black forest cherry torte was one of the four options to pick from for our July cake club selection. At the same time, I was apprehensive, as this cake is no small task. It consists of many steps – providing ample opportunity for things to go wrong.

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The first obstacle was locating morello cherries – a tart, almost sour cherry that’s packed in juice and goes well with the chocolate cake and whipped cream in this recipe. Fortunately, I was able to find them available at Trader Joe’s, which is a German-owned grocery store. Trader Joe’s imports these from Germany, so they are the real deal. If you can’t find morellos, the next best alternative would be canned bing cherries.

Kirschwasser can also be a challenge to find in the U.S. It’s often quite expensive. I used a bottle that I had brought back from my last trip to Germany, and a few tablespoons are all that’s required.

The cake portion of this torte is a chocolate gateau recipe that’s heavy on eggs with less than a cup of flour. The eggs are beaten in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water. Then the flour, cocoa powder, and other ingredients are folded into the batter. I have to admit, this was a clunky, time-consuming process that I would not repeat. In the future, I’d just make a simple chocolate sponge cake and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

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The cherry filling for the torte was easy to make and will be something I’ll definitely incorporate into other future dessert recipes. To make the filling, cherry juice is mixed with cornstarch and is brought to a slow boil until it thickens. Then the cherries are carefully folded in to the glossy, thick syrup.

The whipped cream recipe is the standard heavy cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar mixture.

To finish the torte, I poked holes in the two layers and drizzled a few tablespoons of kirschwasser on them which was quickly absorbed. Then, I piped a wide ring of whipped cream around the edge of the first layer and filled the middle with cherries. Next, I added the second layer, frosted the edges, piped a ring of whipped cream on the top and filled the middle with the remaining cherries. I used the remaining whipped cream to decorate the cake, finishing with a sprinkle of chocolate shavings and some stemmed maraschino cherries.

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Whew…just writing this all up took a lot of work. So, you can imagine how time-consuming it can be to make the whole torte.

So, how did it taste? Well, I have to say, I thought it was tasty for a first attempt at this highly intimidating recipe, but there are definitely things I would change. Swapping out the gateau for a chocolate sponge would cut down on the time it takes to make this and would most likely make it more comparable to the tortes I recall from my days in Germany. Perhaps it’s just my lack of gateau skills.

My boys were on the fence with this cake. My cherry loving boy is more in the sweet cherry camp. He could eat a jar of maraschino cherries in a flash. My other boy doesn’t care for cherries, but he still tried the cake and seemed to like it. All in all, they’d be fine if their mom just stuck to making good old fashioned chocolate cake with chocolate frosting! But for me, it brought back memories of young and carefree times experiencing the world and proved that I’m ready for my next cake challenge….maybe tiramisu???

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If you’d like to see what the other bakers in our cake club made for July, check out their links here.

The Cake Slice: Absolutely The Best Yellow Cake

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We capped off Father’s Day weekend with this delicious, simple yellow cake. Is there really any better way to cap a weekend off than with cake?

It was a weekend filled with baseball, fun, friends, and memories. Not only was it Father’s Day weekend, but also the annual festival our town throws to celebrate it’s potato farming heritage, called Tater Daze.

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The festival runs all weekend long and includes a tater tot little league baseball tournament, a spud run 5k race, a parade, fireworks, and the usual carnival games, rides, and food.

Amid the festivities, we battled intermittent rain showers and thunderstorms throughout the weekend. And, on top of it all, my monthly cake deadline loomed for the Cake Slice Bakers.

This is what it looks like when a mixer throws up:

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Fortunately, this cake came together VERY quick, which made it a definite keeper. I sprayed my angel food cake pan with baking spray and lined it with some foil to ensure the batter didn’t leak out of the bottom, as this is a three-piece pan, similar to a springform.

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The batter makes a HUGE cake. I’m not sure if the pictures really do it justice, but it baked up golden brown on top, and after cooling for 15 minutes, it popped right out, and stood a solid 3 inches tall!

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The best part is that it didn’t even require any frosting – just a slight dusting of powdered sugar on top, just before serving. It was moist and delicious served with a handful of fresh berries. A scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream or fresh whipped cream would make it even more decadent.

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The recipe for this cake can be found in Carole Walter’s Great Cakes cookbook. Although I’ve had my initial doubts about this cookbook and it’s lack of pictures, I’ve now baked several cakes from it as part of our baking club that I know I will certainly make again. The recipe is one of them.

It’s actually been fun to try a recipe without seeing a picture of the final cake in the cookbook…it makes the cakes that turn out well all the more exciting.

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This cake is one of four different recipes that my fellow Cake Slice Bakers got to choose from for the June cake club selection. If you’d like to see how the other cakes turned out, check out their links below. Happy baking, my friends!

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Check out my prior month’s cakes:
May: Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake
April: Coconut Layer Cake
March: Espresso Cake with Hot Kahlua Syrup and Milk Chocolate Ganache
February: Lemon Velvet Squares
January: 18th Century Pound Cake
December: Streusel Squares
November: Applesauce Spice Cake

The Cake Slice: Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake

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We’re well over half way through our baking year, and we’ve decided to change things up with the Cake Slice Bakers club starting this month. Rather than voting on a single recipe for all members to bake, club members will now have 4 selections each month from which they may choose.

Why the change? Well, some club members have struggled with the selections in this year’s cookbook – myself included – and this switch will allow us to be more creative and to select a cake that not only challenges us but also fits our own personal tastes…no point in baking something that you know ahead of time nobody in your household will eat. And, if my family doesn’t help me eat the cake, then I’m compelled to eat it, because you just can’t let cake go to waste, right?

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So, for May, I let my family vote on the four choices we were given for the month, which included: a cheesecake, a chocolate cake, a pistachio cake, and a white cake with strawberries and whipped cream.

The results were unanimous.

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Carole Walter, author of Great Cakes, calls this recipe Strawberry Gateau. As written, the recipe consists of three separate recipes put together – the first of which is an eggy (5 large eggs!) single layer white genoise cake that is thinly sliced to produce three layers. The layers are then drizzled with a sugar syrup (recipe #2), and then topped with an orange liqueur whipped cream (recipe #3) and sliced strawberries.

To make the genoise batter, eggs and granulated sugar are beaten with a hand mixer in a bowl on top of a simmering saucepan of water. Air is beaten into the batter to add volume without the use of leavening. I tried to get a few photos of this step, but it was no short of an acrobatic event to manage the hand mixer in the bowl suspended above the saucepan let alone juggle – and focus – the camera. After this step, lemon zest and vanilla extract are added to the batter, followed by flour and clarified butter.

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I made the genoise according to the recipe, but divided the batter into two 9” rounds rather than the single 10” round called for in the gateau recipe. Then I simplified things by skipping the syrup and making plain old “whipping cream-vanilla extract-powdered sugar” whipped cream.

Rather than piping the whipped cream, as suggested in the recipe, I just plopped it on and smoothed it with a spatula. Simple.

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Truth be told, I’m not sure how a genoise is supposed to turn out, but mine was a slightly dense sponge that tasted similar to shortcake, so our family dubbed it a strawberry shortcake layer cake.

And in less than 24 hours, the whole cake was devoured…by the whole family!

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Want to see what my fellow Cake Slice Bakers made this month? Check out their links here: