Last year about this time I made a fabulous Pioneer Woman Strawberry Shortcake Cake for a church function and it was fabulous. This year, using small sweet berries from the same orchard as last year, I made the Southern Living Strawberry Lemonade Cake for a cookout party. Both cakes took a little more time and care than usual. You cut the PW cake into layers and macerate the berries before placing them between the layers, and freeze for a few minutes,which isn’t too complicated but it takes time. Icing is delicious but not especially complicated. The SL cake requires making fresh strawberry jam and baking 4 separate thin layers then a cream cheese – no powdered sugar – icing with fresh berries. Which is better?
My husband loved, loved the SL strawberry jam recipe, claiming I should make a few batches just to use as jam. The icing is delicious and the cake was attractive. I believe the secret to a great cake is a great cake, meaning the foundation to a fancy cake has to be a moist, delicious cake that’s good enough to stand on its own. When I took the SL cake out of the oven to cool, it didn’t smell or touch or look like a great cake on its own. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/strawberry-lemonade-layer-cake-50400000134449/ [Cute platter, eh? It’s vintage Blue Ridge; I got it at Pop’s in Lexington]
The PW cake I made last year was fabulous as soon as it began baking and while it was cooling. It looked like a special cake when I was done icing and garnishing it. I got a lot of compliments and recipe requests for it. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/05/strawberry-shortcakecake/
People complimented the SL cake but mostly they mentioned the jam filling or the icing. That’s not good enough for me and my rule of a great cake, so I have to say the Pioneer Woman Strawberry Shortcake Cake is the winner. I won’t make the SL cake again.
I did make the SL Strawberry Milk, which had a good old-fashioned taste. I also made the SL Green Bean Apple Bacon Sandwiches, which were popular and interesting. Not difficult, healthy, and the vinaigrette was delicious so I’ll probably do that again. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/green-bean-apple-bacon-sandwiches-50400000129588/
Here’s a couple of things I made at Easter, both Pioneer Woman recipes. The Krispy Eggs treats were delicious but my husband said they looked like a carton of nipples so I’d leave off the jelly bean garnish from the tops next time. I put waxed paper on the egg carton bottoms to keep the treats clean. I also made the PW Sigrid’s Carrot Cake and it is the best carrot cake you can eat . I make a lot of carrot cakes and carrot cupcakes and this cake is so good you can’t believe it. One woman said it was like dying and going to heaven. Can’t vouch for that but do try the recipe. Both recipes are in The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/03/sigrids-carrot-cake-perfect-for-easter/