April 29: Midday Fix - Fresh Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Anne Byrn

To purchase a copy of the book:

The Cake Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free

Gluten and Allergen Free Expo
April 29 - May 1
The Wyndham Hotel
3000 Warrenville Road

Fresh Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves: 10 to 12
Prep: 35 minutes
Bake: 18 to 22 minutes
Cool: 25 minutes

vegetable oil spray, for misting the pans
2 teaspoons rice flour, for dusting the pans
2 cups (16 ounces) fresh strawberries
1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix
3 Tablespoons strawberry gelatin (half of a 3-ounce package)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly mist two 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray, then dust them with the rice flour. Shake out the excess rice flour and set the pans aside.Rinse and drain the strawberries, then pat them dry with paper towels. Select the 6 prettiest berries for garnish and set them aside. Set aside one large strawberry to use in the Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting. Cut the green caps off the remaining berries and mash the berries with a fork or place them in a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth puree, about 10 pulses. You need 3/4 cup of pureed strawberries. Place the cake mix and strawberry gelatin in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the strawberry puree, oil, eggs, and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops with the rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side. Bake the cake layers until they are golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer the cake pans to wire racks and let the cake layers cool for 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake layer and give the pans a good shake to loosen the cakes. Invert each layer onto a wire rack, then invert it again onto another rack so that the layers are right side up. Let the layers cool completely, about 20 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, make the Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting.
To assemble the cake, transfer one layer, right side up, to a serving plate. Spread the top with about 1 cup of the frosting. Place the second cake layer, right side up, on top of the first layer and frost the top and side of the cake, working with smooth, clean strokes. To make slicing easier, place the uncovered cake in the refrigerator until the frosting sets, 10 to 15 minutes.7. Just before serving, garnish the cake with the 6 whole berries or slice the berries and pile them in the center of the cake. Or slice the berries lengthwise 2 or 3 times, slicing up to but not through the green stem end. Gently spread out the berries to form fans and arrange these on the top of the cake.
Keep It Fresh! If your kitchen is cool, store the cake, lightly wrapped with aluminum foil or in a cake saver, on the kitchen counter for twenty-four hours. Or, store it in the refrigerator for three days. Freeze only the cake layers, wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to one month. Let the layers thaw overnight on the counter before assembling and frosting the cake.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

1 large strawberry
4 ounces (half of an 8-ounce package) cream cheese, at room temperature
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Rinse and pat the strawberry dry. Cut the green cap off the strawberry and chop the berry into small pieces. Place the chopped strawberry in a medium-size mixing bowl and mash it with a fork until pureed. Add the cream cheese and butter and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, 20 seconds. Stop the machine and add the confectioners' sugar. Beat with the mixer on low speed until the confectioners' sugar is well incorporated, 15 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat the frosting until fluffy, 2 minutes longer. The frosting can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered. Let the frosting return to room temperature before using.

Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

Brownies may be Americans' favorite bar cookie, but in the South lemon bars are pretty high on the list. With a cookie layer on the bottom and a lemon custard filling on top, they are sheer perfection to eat and suitable most any time of the year. Be sure to read the directions carefully as you need to set aside a little of the cake mix to whisk into the lemon filling. Let the bars cool completely and they will be easier to slice. And to make the bars look their best, dust confectioners' sugar over the top before serving.

For the crust: 1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix
2 Tablespoons vanilla instant pudding mix
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg

For the lemon filling:
2 large lemons
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar (optional), for dusting the top

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Set aside an ungreased 13 by 9–inch metal baking pan.
Make the crust: Measure 2 Tablespoons of cake mix and set it aside for the lemon filling. Place the remaining cake mix, pudding mix, melted butter, and 1 egg in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until the mixture comes together into a ball, 15 to 20 pulses. Place the crust mixture in the baking pan and press it over the bottom and 1/4 inch up the sides. Place the pan in the oven and bake the crust until it turns golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the lemon filling: Rinse and pat 1 lemon dry with a paper towel, then grate the yellow zest from the lemon onto a plate; you should have about 2 teaspoons. Cut both lemons in half and squeeze the juice through a fine sieve, discarding the seeds and pulp. Measure 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Place the 4 eggs, granulated sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and the reserved cake mix in the same food processor bowl that was used to make the crust (no need to wash the bowl or the steel blade) and process the filling until creamy, 10 to 12 pulses.
When the crust is baked, pour the filling over it and return the pan to the oven. Bake the bars until the filling sets, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the bars cool for 30 minutes. Dust the top with the confectioners' sugar, if desired, then cut the bars and serve.
Keep It Fresh! Store the bars in the pan, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to three days. Freeze the bars in the pan, wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to one month. Let the bars thaw on the kitchen counter overnight before serving.