As previously mentioned, I’m not much of a baker. I like to mix ingredients without paying attention to amounts which is not a great trait for a baker. Baking is a precise science…but unlike the study of science, there isn’t much room for experimenting.
I try so hard to do well when baking, and often, to my chagrin I forget a critical step like sifting the flour, or I forget to add a critical ingredient, like, say, I dunno, flour? I share my worry over baking with one of my all-time favorite, childhood heroines, Anne of Green Gables. Anne wants to impress everyone at the church picnic with a delicious layer cake, and is so worried about her seemingly impossible task, she asks her bff, Diana, “Oh Diana, what if it shouldn’t be good? I dreamed last night I was chased all around by a fearful goblin with a big layer cake for its head?”
I can relate.
When Diana tries to temper her worries, Anne, still unsettled, quips, “Yes, but cakes have such a terrible habit of turning out bad just when you especially want them to be good.”
Once again, I can relate. However, I have a few successful cake baking stories, and in honor of the irrepressible Anne, I thought I’d share a recipe I developed (yes, I suppose there is some room for experimenting in baking) for a strawberry-vanilla, coconut, layer cake I baked a few years ago for my husband’s birthday. (Note: he loved it, even though it wasn’t his all-time favorite dessert—banana crème pie).
One of the great things about this recipe is that it involves modifications using boxed mixes!
Strawberry-Vanilla, Coconut Layer Cake
1 yellow cake mix (I like Duncan Hines)
1 box of instant strawberry jello mix
1 box of instant vanilla pudding mix
1 container whipped topping (Cool Whip), unfrozen
1 bag of coconut flakes
2 cups milk (for the pudding)
1/3-1 c. vegetable oil (for the cake mix)
Eggs (amount varies—see cake mix)
- Prepare the instant vanilla pudding according to instructions. Chill.
- Prepare the cake mix according to directions on the box. Bake in two, 9-inch, round baking cake pans.
- Once the cake is baked, remove it from the oven, and let it cool for a approx. 10 minutes.
- Poke holes in the top of the cake with a toothpick.
- Now, prepare the jello by mixing the power with hot water (according to package directions). Do NOT add the cold water yet (you don’t want the jello to jell)
- Add the remaining water, and drizzle half of the liquid jello over the cakes in stripes. The liquid should ooze into the toothpick holes, creating a striped design within the cake.
- Place one of your cakes on a cake platter.
- Poke more holes in the cake, this time with the end of a wooden dowel.
- Now, spread the vanilla pudding over the cake, letting the pudding fill the new holes. (You do not have to use all of the pudding here).
- Top the cake with the second tier.
- Repeat steps 8-9.
- Spread the whipped topping over the entire cake, including the sides.
- Sprinkle with coconut flakes
- Decorate with sliced strawberries.
- Optional** If you want to add sliced strawberries and coconut in between layers, you may.