I’ve always enjoyed being in the kitchen, especially when the kitchen involved dessert. One year, Santa brought me a Little Tikes kitchen, and I made everyone “bokshakes” (milkshakes). When my sister took her first steps, I was three, and I was in the kitchen “making cookies,” i.e. banging things together in the sink to bring the attention back to me. (I’m not proud of my behavior, but I am reminded yearly, as there is video footage to prove this happened.) When I was in kindergarten and we went to Disney World, I got a Disney Princess tea set, and I arranged intricate tea parties for my friends (and stuffed animals.)

I guess you could say that this behavior pointed to the fact that I would someday want to be a party planner, which I did, for the better part of my high school and college years. I wanted to design, plan, arrange, and host lavish events – weddings, women’s luncheons, galas – anything girly. In high school I took on all kinds of event planning roles, both formally for organizations and informally for friends. I LOVED to see an event come together from idea inception to flawless execution. Every detail had to be perfect, and the menu was no exception. As we all know, the menu is key to any event – the items, flavors, colors – every part must work together to bring the theme to life.

I’m 24, and I live in the South. Translation: a lot of my friends are starting to get married. Which means I’m looking forward to hosting some fabulous bridal showers. The other day I daydreamed of an all-pink party (some of you are thinking “ick,” but stick with me), and this cake popped into my mind. This fresh strawberry cake is wonderful in every way – girly enough for the “foof-iest” of us, but it also passes the “man test.” (My brother and boyfriend were all over it.) It’s dense, fresh, and summery all at once.

Gather Up:
2 ½ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter
1 2/3 cup sugar
5 large eggs
½ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup strawberry puree, made from about 2 cups strawberries
2 cups sliced strawberries

To make strawberry puree, load strawberries into food processor.

Process until smooth. Measure out 1 cup. (Smells wonderful…)

Prepare cut berries for cake batter.

In a medium bowl mix the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon together. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat after each. Continue beating until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream and the vanilla.

Fold the flour mixture and the pureed strawberries into the mixture, about a third at a time alternating and starting with flour.

Fold in sliced strawberries. Spoon the batter into a buttered and floured bundt pan.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool partially in the pan and then invert onto a rack to complete cooling.

Meanwhile…prepare the White Chocolate Drizzle.

Gather Up:
½ cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¾ cup white chocolate chips
¾ cup powdered sugar

Combine the cream, butter and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan. Heat and stir until it simmers.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Add the powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth.

Let cool. The mixture will thicken as it cools, and will then be ready to harden when it is poured over the cake. (We were not patient enough…) Drizzle over the cake.

Remove to serving platter. Cake should be stored in the refrigerator.

Recipe from The Prepared Pantry.