Monday, June 1, 2009

A Trifling Dessert

Ah, late spring/early summer. It's one of my very favorite times of year. And for me, one of the happiest places to be at this exact time of year is at a farmer's market. Walking through the throngs of smiling Sunday morning people, my thought process goes something like this - "Strawberries! And asparagus! And peas! And strawberries! And green stuff!...And strawberries!"

Yes, with row after row of those insanely sweet smelling and juicy strawberries on display right now, I would be remiss if I didn't offer at least one sigh-inducing dessert showcasing these little beauties. So, other than suggesting you eat them right out of the carton in the middle of the market, I give you Strawberry Trifle Cake, a riff on a delicious trifle my parents like to serve. You can make it quick with box mixes and ready-made pudding, or you can go old school and make each part from scratch. Either way, it's one of the best desserts I've ever had. (Seriously, I'm thinking about making another one right now). So enjoy, and please share any favorite strawberry dishes you have with me - I will try to keep my hands off my newest batch long enough to try yours out!

Strawberry Trifle Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced, divided
2 tbsp sugar
2 8-oz packages cream cheese
4 3-oz cups vanilla pudding
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

Pour cake batter into two greased 8-inch cake pans. Cook according to package instructions. Turn out onto wire racks and cool completely. Meanwhile, place half the sliced strawberries in a bowl. Sprinkle with sugar, stir to combine and place in fridge while cake is cooling.

For the icing: In a stand mixer or large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat together the cream cheese and pudding until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar, being sure to break up any lumps. Add the vanilla extract; stir to combine.

Place one cake round on a cake plate. Smooth a cupful of icing over the top. Cover with a layer of the unsweetened sliced strawberries. Top with second cake round and finishing icing the top and sides of cake. Let chill for several hours.

To serve: Mash up the chilled sweetened strawberries with the back of a fork until a thick sauce forms. Slice the cake and serve with the strawberries.