This past weekend was my grandma's 88th birthday. It was one of those few occasions when the whole family can get together to catch up on each other's lives, see how much the little cousins have grown and my favorite part; EAT! I think the food tastes better when you have great company to enjoy it with.
My grandma is probably the most loving, affectionate, generous woman I have ever met. When I was younger, every summer, my grandma would take my cousins and I to the neighborhood pool. Now, I'm not a very good swimmer, if I can't feel the pool floor on my feet-- I start to panic. Why can't I swim, you ask? One day at the pool, I spontaneously decided to "try out" the deeper waters, well...5 feet. Keep in mind, I was in elementary school.
So I eased myself over the rope floats that divided the kiddie pool from the big kid area. I began to doggy paddle my way over to my cousins, who were making their way over to the 9 feet area. To be honest, I don't remember how but I started to drown!
But, lo and behold, my grandma came to the rescue! Long story short, she fished me out with her cane. Now looking back, it's actually a funny story, but definitely was not at the time.
Oops! I think I sidetracked with the story, but my grandma is such a special person that I really take for granted. I decided to bake her a cake because I wanted to make her something special with all my heart and soul.
I was inspired to decorate this cake after I saw Amy's beautiful cake post. The way she decorates her cakes are so unique and lovely! Her posts constantly inspire me to be more creative!
For the vanilla cake, I just used one box of cake mix and followed the directions on the box. I love baking cakes from scratch, but I love a simple box cake mix from time to time.
Recipe for Strawberry Filling
2 pounds strawberries, fresh or frozen (I used fresh)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp corn starch
a splash of orange juice (optional, I just used some left over OJ from my fridge)
1. Combine all the ingredients in a stovetop safe pot, and boil on high heat until all the sugar dissolves. 2. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium heat and simmer for about 25-30 minutes.
3. When it looks like the strawberry filling has thickened, take pot off heat. You can cool to room temperature or use a emersion hand blender to blend the strawberry chunks and speed up the cooling process. Kill two birds with one stone!
Recipe for Greek Yogurt Fresh Cream Icing
1 cup plain or flavored greek yogurt
1 cup powdered sugar (you can always add more if you like it sweeter)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1. In a stand mixer, combine all the ingredients and whip on low speed until all the powdered sugar is combined.
2. Increase speed to high and whip until you get stiff peaks. Add food coloring if you'd like.
Please check out my previous meringue post for the recipe!