I admit that I am prone to the hyperbolic tendency of claiming that every holiday was superior to the years proceeding, but last weekend's Fourth of July truly was the most festive, memorable, and beautiful of my recollections. Dayton's CityFolk festival coincided with the holiday weekend, so we were able to walk from our apartment down to Riverscape park and enjoy folk music and workshops all weekend, in addition to incredible treats from all the food carts at the festival. On Sunday, a lecture on rare instruments coincided just perfectly with lunchtime, allowing us to savor the most unique falafel sandwiches we've ever sampled, prepared with pickled cabbage, fresh basil, and fresh mint!
My parents also drove to Ohio to join us for the 4th of July weekend, and they decided to be kids again and get snow cones and a root beer float - aren't they adorable? :-)
Naturally, a 4th of July celebration also calls for a Celebration Cake - after all, we do come from the South, the land of Celebration Cakes, the region where an occasion is deemed an Occasion by the presence of a towering, 4-layer coconut cake.
And this year's 4th of July cake blew us away. Fireworks style. From the vibrant color, to the light, almost spongy cake, bursting with juicy strawberry flavor, to the sensual, alluring frosting... Dayton's fireworks are incredible, especially because we have a perfect view from our living room windows...
(Lilly seemed unperturbed by the sound of the fireworks...)
but this cake was the true finale.
Strawberry Layer Cake with Amaretto Cream Cheese Frosting
(Adapted from Cooking Light May 2009)
1 1/4 cups sliced strawberries
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
1/2 cup SmartBalance Light
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 cup soymilk
1 T lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring
~ Preheat oven to 350°. Coat 2 8X8" baking pans or 9" round cake pans with parchment paper and cooking spray.
~ To prepare cake, place sliced strawberries in a food processor; process until smooth.
~ Combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
~ Place sugar and SmartBalance Light in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.
~ Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
~ Beat in egg whites
~ Stir together the soymilk and lemon juice
~ Add flour mixture and soymilk mixture alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
~ Add pureed strawberries and food coloring; beat just until blended.
~ Divide batter between cake pans, and bake for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Once your cakes have cooled, they're ready to frost and decorate with berries!
For the frosting:
2/3 cup reduced fat cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
2 T amaretto liqueur
~ Place cream cheese and amaretto liqueur in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar, and beat just until blended.