Monday, September 12, 2011

Angel Food Cake and the Most Amazing Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

After being left disappointed with the artificially sweet strawberry taste of my past strawberry cake attempt but completely overjoyed with the outcome of the frosting, I couldn't stand not experimenting with at least one more cake and strawberry cream cheese frosting combination.

Because this strawberry cream cheese frosting is so unbelievably tart, sweet, and deliciously pink, I knew the cake itself should serve as a canvas for the frosting rather than as the star of the show. Light and spongy, angel food cake was the perfect subtly-flavored background that allowed the frosting to shine to its fullest. Add in some chopped strawberries and bananas and you have a great cake for any birthday or celebration (or lazy afternoon).

And yes I know, once again I used boxed cake mix, but I was in a time crunch and it really did help...

Angel Food Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

for the cake:
1 16 oz box Betty Crocker white angel food cake mix
1 1/4 cups cold water
zest of 1 lemon

for the frosting
12 oz cream cheese, room temp
8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
2 c powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 c fresh strawberries, mashed to 1/2 c, drained well

for garnish
1 banana
a handful or two of strawberries
strawberry jam or lemon curd

Follow the directions on your cake mix with the addition of lemon zest in the batter.

**I was a little confused after seeing that it only listed loaf pans and angel food cake pans as cooking devices, and that it advised against greasing your pans. However, while it did cause me to nervously anticipate the outcome of my against-the-rules cake, I used canola oil to grease two 9 inch cake pans with very tall sides and baked for about 40 minutes. It is very important that you bake your cakes in something with tall sides otherwise they may overflow, as angel food cake rises A LOT.

Let cakes cool completely on wire racks before removing from pans. It might be difficult to get them out, but angel food cake has a lot of give so its ok to forcefully, yet somewhat gently, use a knife to pull your cake out.

To make frosting, cream together butter and cream cheese, then mix in sugar and strawberries. Frost first layer of cake, spread on some strawberry jam or lemon curd if desired, and distribute chopped banana and strawberry in one even layer. Place second layer over first, frost cake, slice remaining strawberries and decorate the top. This process should be done quickly because the frosting is slightly runny and will begin to drip off your cake if not allowed to set. Place frosted cake uncovered in fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving.

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