At times, the best way to get better at a given activity is just to keep doing it until you work out the kinks and eventually improve. For a long while, I have wanted to learn how to cook/bake random things. I am interested in cooking/baking as a hobby of sorts, but part of me also respects those who know how to make yummy food.
So I was having an iffy day, which prompted me to seek something to cook or bake to distract myself from the crummy feelings. I opted to bake a cake.
I grabbed a box of strawberry cake mix and then went from there (truth of the matter is, a lot of restaurants use cake mixes).
Of course, even a cake mix can be spruced up a bit with a lot of simple substitutions. For starters, I replaced the cup of water with milk and also used 1/3 of a cup of melted butter instead of vegetable oil. This makes a big difference toward a fluffier and richer cake.
And then I wouldn’t feel like a cook without the addition of spices and whatnot.
- Splash of vanilla extract.
- And the all-important nutmeg.
All right, baking 101. Gotta mix the dry ingredients first before you add the wet ingredients. Cake mix in, spices, milk, melted butter, eggs and then the use of an eggbeater to get it all spun together.
After the natural reaction to taste the freshly mixed cake mix off the eggbeater with the index finger, I felt like I could have done a bit more with the batter. I thought that some chopped bananas would complement the strawberry flavor. Bam. Now the cake batter had some banana slice goodies in there as well.
The cake pan was brushed with the leftover, melted butter and then also lightly padded with some all-purpose flour. In the cake mix went.
As the cake was going to spend some in the oven for at least 35+ minutes, I thought about some other additional touches.
Strawberry cake, so why not strawberry pieces to go on top?
And then I wanted a textural component to the cake, so I crushed up some graham crackers.
The cake came out just right. It needed to cool before it could be iced.
As for the frosting, there are always a lot of flavor varieties you can find in the grocery store. I just had a frosting can lying around with a cherry vanilla flavor mix.
Cake icing is always fun.
Now it was time to add the graham crackers and strawberry pieces. Graham crackers were just thrown on everywhere, while the strawberries were just placed on top and then sprinkled with more graham cracker crumbs.
I let the cake chill overnight to help the frosting thicken up a bit.
Cake-slicing time the next day. The cake turned out real well. Very flavorful, moist and fragrant. The graham crackers added a bit more sweetness and some extra texture as intended. The strawberries on top really elevated the strawberry flavor of the cake, and I also enjoyed the bits of banana slices found inside. Simply put, delicious.
Kitchen courage. >^..^<