Saturday, March 24, 2012

Easter Blog Hop...Featuring White Chocolate-Strawberry Easter Cake

Happy weekend everyone! My other half has the entire weekend off...which isn’t usually the case in his line of work. So...I’m planning to hang out with him and have a bit of springtime fun! Perhaps we’ll find some bluebonnets to snap photos of...and hopefully we’ll catch Will Ferrell’s new movie! I’ll be back with a new post on Monday featuring soyrizo -- a meatless version of Mexican chorizo that tastes great and is much healthier than chorizo, its high-fat cousin! In the meantime, I'm hosting an Easter blog hop (ha...a pun!) to share some of our Easter favorites...only two weeks to go until Easter, and it's always good to have a few good recipe options to choose from!

I'm going to share a few recipes, but I wanted to spotlight one of my favorite recipes from 2011: my White Chocolate-Strawberry Easter Cake. It was my very first decorated cake. It was a bit of a challenge, but a lot of fun...and I was thrilled with the final results! As I discovered last year, it makes a really cute centerpiece to your Easter dessert table. It tastes fabulous, and isn't difficult to make thanks to using a cake mix as your jumping-off point. The decor is whimsical and fun...and easy enough that someone who doesn't have mad baking skillz (like me) can pull off something that’ll impress your friends and family. It’s not only cute, but it tastes great too...that white chocolate buttercream is sinfully delish, and it pairs really nicely with the fresh strawberry filling.

This cake features white chocolate in both the cake batter and the cream cheese icing. Strawberry filling is placed between the two cake layers before it's frosted with the white chocolate cream-cheese icing. I tinted the icing a light shade of green and topped the cake with green coconut "grass," Cadbury mini eggs, and a cute Vosges chocolate bunny. It was a very simple idea, but it turned out pretty cute. If I can do this? I PROMISE that you can too!!! If you've got kids at home, this could be a fun project to do with them in lieu of...or in addition to...coloring eggs!

White Chocolate-Strawberry Easter Cake
adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Prepare the cake batter by adding the following ingredients to a mixing bowl: 1 package white cake mix, 2/3 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 3 large eggs, and 6 ounces melted white chocolate. Beat on low for 1 minute, scrape down sides of bowl, and beat on medium speed for another 2-3 minutes. 

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on a rack for another 45 minutes.

Step 2:  While the cake layers are baking and cooling, make the icing and filling. Combine 1 stick butter, 8 ounces softened cream cheese, and 6 ounces melted white chocolate in a mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until fluffy. Then a dd 3 cups powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until combined. Remove 3/4 cup of the icing to a small bowl. Add 1 cup chopped strawberries and a few drops red food coloring and stir to combine and set aside in the fridge until you're ready to assemble your cake.  Then add a few drops of green food coloring to the remaining icing.

Step 3:  To assemble and decorate the cake, place the bottom layer on a serving platter. Top with the strawberry filling. Make sure to leave a bit of a border so the filling doesn't come out the sides. Top with the second cake layer and frost the top and sides with the green icing. Place 1 cup sweetened coconut that's been tinted with green food color to look like grass on top.

Step 4:  Decorate the top of the cake with a cute chocolate Easter bunny and Cadbury Mini Eggs to resemble a yard decorated with eggs ready to be found on Easter morning. I found some cute mini meringue cookies while shopping for ingredients, so I placed them around the base of the cake to add a cute decorative border...but that's optional if you can't locate them.

Step 5:  When you're ready to serve the cake, cut into slices with a serrated knife. I thought the pink strawberry filling was a nice visual contrast to the green exterior of the cake. The burst of color really popped, and it was a nice surprise for everyone at the table!

This cake is really good...the white chocolate gives the cake and the icing a rich flavor. The coconut compliments the strawberries in the filling nicely, and the little chocolate eggs are a nice little treat at the end. If you can't locate the little mini meringue cookies, you can leave them off...or you could use white chocolate Herskey kisses or even pipe an icing border if you have a bag.

What are YOUR favorite Easter foods? It can be a sweet treat decorated for Easter, your favorite side dishes to pair with the Easter family meal....or anything you want to share. The blog hop is open until next Saturday! Have fun...I can't wait to see what everybody posts below!!

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