Pink Lady (Strawberry) Cake

So this week I celebrated my birthday. YAY ME!!! But I had to make my own birthday cake. BOOO!!

Last year, my friend made me a great cake that was decorated beautifully with little fondant sunflowers all over it. The cake was awesome. Now keep in mind, my friend is a cake designer. She makes the most amazing cakes in so many different shapes and flavors. On top of that, they taste divine. They're light and moist and then sometimes, she will add a surprise ingredient or filling that gives it that extra special something. The cakes really are great. She has already promised to make my wedding cake...and I will not let her forget that she has already promised.

Fast forward to this year. My schedule has been so busy recently, that I was unable to see my girlfriend and unfortunately my mom and I don't live in the same city. That means that if I wanted a birthday cake, I was going to have to make it myself. And with all the cooking and collecting of recipes I've done over the past year, a box cake or even a store bought cake was not going to be acceptable.

Since baking is one of those things I have to talk my way into (remember, I consider myself a chef not a baker), I decided to finally try this recipe that I've held on to for about a year now. I thought this would be as good a time as any to venture out and try this cake. Pink being my favorite color even adds to the appropriateness of making this cake for my born day.

I saw this Pink Lady cake on smitten kitchen and immediately feel in love with it. I couldn't recall ever having strawberry cake but it looked so pretty and....it's a pink cake for Pete's sake. Deb (over at smitten kitchen) warns readers not to taste the batter while making the cake because it would be hard to stop and boy was she was right. The batter tastes just like strawberry ice cream. So addicting and a great precursor to this cake.

Well, I did end up seeing my mother, for mother's day, and served the cake as dessert with the brunch I made. She and Mr. Foodie REALLY liked the cake. This cake was surprisingly good. I say surprisingly because cake with pureed strawberries it not a common cake around this house. Now I warn you, with the cream cheese frosting, this cake is really rich (3 sticks of butter. 8 egg whites and 3 cups of sugar not including the cream cheese frosting). But it is good and goes perfectly with a nice glass of cold milk.

So if you want to try a different celebratory cake, this is definitely one you should try. But if it's a really big or nice occasion and your in the Atlanta area, I urge you to check out my girlfriend's cake design business, Sweet Tooth Cake Design (she also has a page on facebook since I'm sure you're a member). Either way, you won't be disappointed with the outcome.

Pink Lady Cake (Strawberry Cake)

Printable Recipe

4 1/2 cups of cake flour
3 cups of sugar
5 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of pureed frozen strawberries
8 egg whites
2/3 cup milk
2 drops of red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour three round 9-inch cake pans

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large mixing bowl. With the mixer on low speed, mix for 30 seconds. Add the butter and strawberry puree and blend the ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and mix until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. The batter will look like strawberry ice cream

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk and red food coloring. Add the mixture to the batter in 3 additions, mixing to incorporate each addition. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Divide the batter into the three buttered pans

Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in their pan for 10 minutes. Then invert the cake and let cool on wire racks. Let cool completely before icing, approximately one hour (I was too anxious and didn't wait long enough. This is why my icing looks like it melting, because it is)

Cream Cheese Frosting: 3 - 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 stick (3/4 cup) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter. When combined, mix in the vanilla extract. Then add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.

Cake Assembly:
Place one cake layer on cake board or platter. Spread approximately 2/3 cup on top of first layer. spreading it evenly to the edge of the cake. Repeat with the second layer. Add the top layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting (you can reserve extra to tint with red food coloring if you want to decorate the cake). Slice and enjoy with a glass of milk.

adapted by Deb of smittenkitchen.com, originally from Sky High


White Cheese Pizza w/ Shrimp & Spinach

Sorry to overload you with shrimp recipes, but shrimp was on sale last week so that meant it was time to get creative. Shrimp can be frozen for up to three weeks and defrosts quickly for a great weeknight meal.

I've already let you in on the pizza battles that occur in our household (Mr. Foodie being a pizza snob...because he's from the deep dish pizza capital of the world, Chicago...*insert eye roll*). But I love pizza. I mean I love cheese and I love bread. So when you put those two things together (quesidillas, grilled cheese sandwiches, etc) I'm sold. So the compromise we've made has been homemade pizza.

Recently, I ate white cheese pizza when we ordered it at work and I loved the taste of the ricotta cheese on it. I wanted to recreate the white cheese pizza at home, adding spinach. And since I had the extra shrimp at home, I decided to add shrimp to it also.

Now I'm really am at a loss for words in describing how GOOD this pizza is but I'll try to formulate something. I have made a few variations of pizza (I will share them with you soon) and this one has won out as the current favorite. The cream sauce on top of the dough is perfect with the Italian seasoning added. The ricotta and mozzarella cheese, spread over the entire pizza, taste heavenly with the spinach and seasoned shrimp. I cut each shrimp in half so there would be enough shrimp to go over the entire pizza. I didn't want to miss out in any bite. Bottom line, this pizza is extremely flavorful and satisfying.

It is also a very quick and easy recipe. Although you can follow the recipe I created below, feel free to make your own variations. I think it would be great with some artichoke hearts or broccoli instead of shrimp, to make it truly vegetarian, or maybe a little crabmeat instead. The possibilities are endless so please...try this pizza. You'll be glad you did.

White Cheese Pizza w/ Shrimp and Spinach
Printable Recipe
flour, for dusting
1 ball prepared pizza dough
1 tablespoon olive oil
garlic cream sauce (recipe below)
1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup steamed spinach
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deviened, cut in half, lengthwise (I seasoned the shrimp with a little old bay seasoning)

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees

Flour your hands and work surface liberally. Knead dough and roll out using a rolling pin, to approximately 12-14 inches in diameter. Place on lightly floured baking sheet (I have a round one I use or you can use a pizza stone). Lightly brush the dough with the olive oil. Bake in oven for 5-6 min.

While dough is in the oven, mix the ricotta cheese with pepper and Italian seasoning

Remove dough from oven and brush with the garlic cream sauce. Spread the sauce over the dough, leaving 1/4 inch around for your crust. Then spread the ricotta cheese on top of the garlic cream sauce, using the back of a spoon to spread it out evenly. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Then top with the spinach and shrimp, spreading evenly.

Place the pizza in the oven to bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown and bubbly. Leave pizza in oven for additional time if you want a crispier crust.

Remove pizza from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve warm and enjoy.

Cream Sauce -
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
pinch salt and pepper

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Then add the garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream, lower to medium low heat and let simmer, approximately 5 minutes, until it thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.