A friend of mine gave me this recipe and I made it for my family while I was home. It is incredibly delicious.
-solid vegetable shortening for greasing pans
-flour for dusting pans
1 package plain white cake mix
1 package (3 oz.) strawberry gelatin
1 cup mashed fresh strawberries w/ juice (about 1 1/2 c. whole berries)
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole milk
4 large eggs
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans (very optional-- I've never put these in)
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Please note that the following ingredient list is to make frosting for the layer in between the cakes, and the outside of the cake. To make just enough frosting for the layer in between, (and use an alternate
frosting for the rest of the cake, like a store bought chocolate fudge) you can fourth the cream cheese and butter, and guesstimate on the strawberries and powdered sugar. I had enough leftover ingredients to make a little extra and pipe it on top for decor.
1 package cream cheese, room temperature
8 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
3/4 cup fresh ripe strawberries, rinsed, capped, and mashed to make
1/2 cup, then drained well.
3 and 1/2 cups of powdered sugar (about, add enough to achieve
desired consistency. frosting tends to be runny)
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup pecans (optional)
1. Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9" round cake pans 1/ shortening, dust with flour then shake out excess. (Or just spray with Pam for baking) Place aside.
2. Place cake mix, strawberry gelatin, oil, milk and eggs in large mixing bowl and combine. Then add mashed strawberries and juice and blend with electric mixer on low for at least one minute. Increase speed and beat 2 more minutes, scraping sides as needed. Strawberries should be blended well into batter. Fold in coconut and pecans (if you'd like).
Note: While some may feel coconut is an option in any recipe, I stress that in this one it is not. Because of the overall moistness of the cake, something about the coconut helps it solidify. Without the coconut, the cake is just as delicious, but be forewarned, more than likely it will cave in the center, or have structural issues. There is so little coconut in the recipe, that most people don't notice.
Divide batter into pans, and place on same rack, side by side in oven.
3. Bake cakes until they are light brown and just start to pull away from the pan, 28 to 30 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Remove cakes from oven, and place on wire racks to cool completely. Seriously, walk away for awhile, or make the frosting, and walk away for a while. When it comes time to remove them from the pan, run a dinner knife around the outside edge and invert.
4. Meanwhile, prepare frosting. This is much much easier when your cream cheese and butter have been sitting out the entire time you've been baking. Combine cream cheese and butter until well blended with
an electric mixer. Then add strawberries (this time without the juice-- if you leave the juice in, the frosting will be more runny) and blend. Slowly add powdered sugar to achieve desired consistency--the more powdered sugar, the stiffer the frosting will be. You'll be reaching a desired consistency when the frosting lightens noticeably.
If you're frosting the inner layer, and the entire outside cake, I suggest folding in the coconut. Again, something about the coconut makes it stick together better. You can leave it out, but it will be runny. If you're just doing the inner layer, and maybe piping for decoration, I'd leave the coconut out.
5. To assemble, put a little frosting on the serving platter to hold the cake in place. Put down one cake, frost with strawberry cream cheese frosting, then put the next cake on top. Frost with chocolate or with additional strawberry cream cheese frosting. To pipe a heart as decor, place excess strawberry cream frosting in ziplock bag, snip one corner and pipe away.
6. Chill cake. I promise you, you won't get the desired taste if it's room temperature or warm. Chill it. It's delicious.