The Strawberry Kid's Birthday

by Pat
(Houston, Texas)

When my younger daughter was about to turn four years old, of course the subject of her cake came up. The one solid rule for birthdays in our family was that you got the kind of cake you wanted if it was humanly possible. For their Dad, this meant his birthday cake was always a pie, for example, since he didn't like cake very much.

But #2 dear daughter did like cake, and the year she was four she loved strawberry shortcake, both the TV character and the dessert. And that was the cake she wanted. She was enrolled in a day school where she was in PreK and her older sister was in kindergarten, and the cake would be for a little party there.

I got a Strawberry Shortcake picture and made a stencil to decorate the top, but the cake itself was pretty simple, just the normal 9X13 sheet pan for the cake layers. These layers were from scratch golden pound cake to hold up under all the fresh, juicy berries. On serving platter, I put some waxed paper around the edges over the lace doilies, and placed the first of two cake layers. I cut a thin slice from the top to expose more cake surface pores to soak up juice.

I used lightly sugared sliced fresh strawberries, several quarts of them, covering the cake with a generous layer, and then a layer of real whipped cream, with some softened plain gelatin added to stabilize it. Another layer of cake went on top, then more whipped cream. The Strawberry Shortcake decal was used to pipe red clear icing gel into an outline, which I filled with regular decorating butter cream. More whole fresh strawberries were added as garnish, and the sides were also iced with whipped cream.

For more fun when they served the cake, I sent several cans of aerosol whipped cream for the kids to add as they wished. This add your own whipped cream was wildly popular and not too messy. My daughter was completely pleased.

In fact, this same cake reappeared for several more years running. The decorations on top changed, but the cake was always her favorite strawberry shortcake. It seemed to taste just as great with My Pretty Pony on top the next year, and all the animals in the zoo the year after that.

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