The Charlie Brown Cake

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a cake!

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Some backstory: my friend Nancy makes a wonderful strawberry cake, and like any good magician, she will never reveal her secrets. When I got home from school, my mom and I were determined to make one similar. I don’t bake often- if ever- so naturally, we forgot about our endeavor until I saw the most beautiful southern strawberry cake  on Pinterest. We quickly reignited our interest in a strawberry cake, and a trip to the store with Caitie ensued. We picked up two containers of fresh strawberries, a vanilla bean, almond extract, cake flour, powdered sugar, strawberry jam… who even knew that Vanilla was actually a bean? I sure didn’t. The recipe was so fun to make- we had to pull out the big bad kitchenaid, scrape the little bean things out of the vanilla bean (which totally looked like a turd… it is what it is), we pureed strawberries, and then we ate a few strawberries, we sifted lots and lots and lots of powdered sugar until there was a tiny, fluffy sugar cloud in our kitchen. I had lessons in how to zest lemons and how to tell when the cake is done. I felt so fancy and mature, dancing around the kitchen, mixing in the strawberry puree, pinching salt and measuring extracts. I am 99% sure that I had flour in my ears and I definitely found lemon peel in my hair. Considering that neither of us are expert bakers, my mom and I were pretty darn proud of ourselves when it was all said and done, considering it a great victory for the women of our family. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to spend some quality time together and I enjoyed it so very much.

Here are some photos! Our only road bump was that the homemade frosting was a little runny and didn’t quite stay on our cake… it just sorta dripped down the sides. It was a little sad, so we tried to make due by adding a bunch of powdered sugar- something I certainly didn’t oppose (although it still remained runny)!

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My mom and I made the first bite of cake something of a ceremony- neither of us had cheated and tried it before then, regardless of the temptation. I cut us two pieces (hers was a bit smaller) and momma crafted us big mugs of coffee. We sat in the breakfast room’s early afternoon sunshine, and moment came for the big taste test. I tried my hardest to enjoy my first bite, but was much more preoccupied with my mother’s. I really just wanted to know what her reaction was (as her opinion is regarded so highly in my mind), and waited… and waited. I then watched a big smile crawl across her face and she slowly began to nod her head with her eyes closed- the whole show. “Bopper, this is divine- we did gooood,” momma said with a tinge of satisfaction in her voice. But then that grin erupted into giggles and she added, “but I’m not gonna lie, we may as well call this your little Charlie Brown cake.”

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