The last twelve months have been absolutely insane, full of ups and downs and a whole host of new experiences. Today we celebrated with the Munchkin’s first birthday party, and the joy of seeing him sitting in the grass trying to grab soap bubbles made the embarrassment of having to open all of his presents because he still doesn’t get the concept and wanders off after approximately fifteen seconds worthwhile.
Look, I’m not the kind of mom who is going to have a perfectly coordinated party (obviously, judging by that roll of tape in my photo) with favors and tablescapes and fun craft ideas, so if you’re hoping to find those ideas here, I apologize, but you are very much in the wrong place. I’m too lazy and broke for that. :D What I do aim for is stuff that tastes good in a place with enough stuff to keep everyone entertained.
This cake at the park? Totally rocked.
I also had tons of non-“Hello, sugar coma” foods: pulled pork and chicken BBQ, fruit salad, pasta salad, coleslaw, fresh veggies, chips, and pretzels. If anyone left hungry, they must have tried for it.
I had never made a cake from scratch before, so before I got started, I hit up the internet for recommendations on recipes and got two excellent-sounding ones, one for strawberry cake and one for a lemon raspberry cake that used a lemon syrup, that got me wondering what it would be like if I combined them to make strawberry lemonade cake. But wait! I like limeade better than lemonade, right? So I would have to like a strawberry limeade cake better than a strawberry lemonade cake. QED.
So, this recipe is an amalgamation of two recipes and a spur-of-the-moment idea I had as I was debating how to assemble everything. Cake from A Dash of Sass (a modified version of Paula Deen’s hummingbird cake) and lime syrup adapted from Bon Appetit‘s lemon syrup recipe.
Strawberry Limeade Cake
All-purpose flour, for pans (although I admit that I didn’t have any so I used self-rising)
3 c self-rising flour
2 c sugar
3/4 c vegetable oil
1 1/2 c pureed strawberries, strained (you’re aiming to remove the seeds)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
4 large eggs, beaten
Red food color (I actually didn’t need any to get the cake pink; the strawberries did their job)
Lime syrup ingredients
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c boiling water
1/4 c lime juice
Strawberry lime compote ingredients
Juice of 2 limes
3/4 lb strawberries
1/3 c sugar
Preheat the oven to 325*. Spray your cake pans with nonstick spray and dust with all-purpose flour; shake off excess.
In a large bowl (or, if you’re lazy like me, your stand mixer), combine the self-rising flour, sugar, oil, strawberries, vanilla, lemon zest, and eggs. Add food coloring if you want a deeper pink color to the batter.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans — this made two 9×1.5 inch rounds and four regular cupcakes and is designed to make three 8×2 inch rounds. Bake, rotating halfway through (which I just realized I forgot to do), until the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertips, 26 to 28 minutes. The cupcakes only needed 15 minutes.
Transfer cake pans to wire rack and allow to cool for ten minutes. Then flip the cake pans over to remove the cakes. The original recipe then calls for flipping the cakes back over to finish cooling, top side up, but mine ended up collapsing in the center a bit, so I wonder if cooling them top side down might help.
To make the lime syrup, put the sugar in a bowl, add the boiling water, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Then stir in the lime juice.
To make the strawberry lime compote, toss the lime juice, strawberries, and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook down. Remove from heat and allow to cool (I didn’t have time to do this and needed to because it ran everywhere).
To prepare the full cake: Take a toothpick and poke holes in the top of the cakes. Brush tops liberally with lime syrup. Apply a layer of frosting (I took the easy way out and used canned frosting this time) and a layer of compote to every layer but the top, then put everything together and frost.