It is birthday season. Blane Sr. last week and Blane Jr. this week. I made this strawberry wonder for my son after he asked me to surprise him with a special cake.
I started with three layers of white box cake mix. Between the layers I put a layer of strawberry preserves and some fresh sliced strawberries.
The icing is the magical part. It is a meringue type icing, not something you can buy in a tub or box but something you have to actually crank up the stove to make. It is worth the entire seven minutes of your time. That is one of the popular names for it, Seven Minute Icing. But it takes a little longer than that to make. It is also known as Never Fail Icing, but I’ve had it fail on me before. Those failures have much to do with the humidity. If it is rainy outside, it won’t sugar properly and will be sticky.
So, besides sunshine, here is what you need for the icing:
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup of sugar (granulated, not powdered)
3 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla
You’ll need to make it in a double boiler. Don’t panic if you don’t have one, I ghetto mine with a bowl and a stock pot. Just make sure the boiling water in the lower pot does not touch the bowl.
Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar and water in a bowl and mix for one minute before putting the bowl or upper pot over the boiling water. (hold off on the vanilla for now)
See below, my aluminum bowl fits perfectly over my stock pot with the boiling water.
While the water in the lower pot boils on med heat, use an electric mixer to whip the mixture until stiff peaks form (yes you are doing this over the stove, don’t burn the cord for your mixer).
Like this in the above photo. This takes about seven minutes. Then you take it off the pot of boiling water and add the vanilla. Whip some more until the sides begin to sugar, about a couple more minutes and not over the stove.
Now you need to work fast and you had better have that cake ready because the icing needs to go on now!
Ice the sides first, then the top.
I added some special toys on top while the icing was still wet. What will happen over the next half hour is the outside of the icing will become crunchy and yummy and…
That cake did not last 12 hours in this house.
While the strawberries on the outside are really pretty, I do not recommend you put them on the icing as they cause the icing to run due to the moisture in the berries. (now I know)
Another variation is the banana cake. Blane’s grandmother gave me this recipe years ago, so it is a family favorite. Bake a yellow cake instead of the white, and for the layers between, make a small box of Jello brand instant pudding (small box and only use 1 1/3 cup of milk in the directions). Spread a layer of pudding then a layer of sliced banana between each layer. Frost with the Never Fail Icing and call yourself The Boss.