At some point in our young lives, my sister made a cake. This stands out because my sister doesn’t bake. Food is a necessity to her, lucky woman, unless we’re talking about salsa or hot sauce. Okay, apples, popcorn…she’s a grazer. She’s petite and lean — fit. And she’s more beautiful than she’s ever been. Don’t misunderstand. She’s always been a lovely woman (outside of her cranky junior high phase), but at this point in her life she is truly lovely. Is it the recent empty nest? Perhaps the East Coast climate? Or is it that she is blissfully free of those of us on the West Coast where she truly belongs?
Teasing, Lori. Teasing.
I sent her a card for her recent birthday which was quite the auspicious occasion because I don’t send snail mail even if I have to admit I like the feel of adhering a stamp to the perfect corner of a freshly sealed envelope. And it’s rather pleasant to get something in the real mail outside of catalogs I had no idea I was interested in, and advertisements for window replacements or paving when I live where those choices are not an option. I like a nice card in the mail once in a while, don’t you?
Although I always remember my sister’s birthday, I rarely send her anything outside of positive mental vibes aimed in her direction through the universe – vibes that include wishes for good health, happiness, all one’s hopes and dreams to come true immediately upon request after clicking one’s heels three times. Things like that. The heavens always comply, I’m sure. But I sent her a card this time, and because my track record with the USPS is ridiculously awful, sent it quite early. I imagine receiving it must have been somewhat like a opening the door to a guest who has arrived well before dinner and knowing that you shouldn’t give into the temptation of putting her to work peeling potatoes, settle her down instead in a comfy place to observe and converse about witty things while sipping a glass of a crisp sauvignon blanc.
My sister, ah, my sister.
She is not quite four years younger than I, and smart as a whip. More determined than anyone I know. There are no frills about her other than her incredible sense of humor, which rises more quickly that one might expect, and never fails to amuse. I think she should do stand up comedy, but as with many of us, I’m sure she’ll save that suggestion for another life. In the meantime, we will be at a loss.
I told her I’d make her a cake for her birthday — her 53rd. I write that number and think surely, it’s not correct. If she is 53 then I am nearly 57 and shake my head in wonder that the years pass so quickly regardless of what my mirror and bones tell me each day.
Although it’s well past her birthday, I did bake her a cake. It’s dense and moist, made with cream cheese, fresh strawberries, and key lime zest whirled into the sugar — truly delicious. It’s not the cake my sister made all those years ago, though. I’ll save that for another time.
In the meantime, a very belated Happy Birthday to my sister whom I hope likes this “kack.”
Strawberry Key Lime Cream Cheese Cake
8 oz. unsalted butter, softened
2-1/3 c. flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1-3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. key lime zest (about 5 limes)
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 lg. eggs + 1 yolk, room temperature
2 c. fresh strawberries, hulled and diced
1 c. powdered sugar, sifted
2 T key lime juice
- I had quite a few strawberries in the fridge I couldn’t keep up with and which had lost their dazzling beauty so wanted something to bake them into. This recipe was perfect! I used fewer strawberries than the fresh blueberries called for in the original recipe because they are quite juicy and I didn’t want to alter the consistency of the cake too much.
- I used a standard angel food cake pan (instead of a bundt pan because I have never owned one) with a removable bottom and sprayed it with Pam baking spray instead of buttering and flouring the pan. The cake did not stick at all.
- I used key limes because that is what I usually purchase. If you want to garnish the top of the cake with zest, then you’ll need more than the recipe calls for.
- I’ve made quite a few citrus-based cakes and have learned some tricks from people who make them far more than I do. This recipe calls for processing the sugar with the lime zest (which I did) — and although it smells completely heavenly, it really doesn’t add a lot to the lime flavor of the cake itself. What does impact the flavor is citrus oil such as Boyajian. Although I did not use it for this cake, I have used it and it really allows the citrus flavor to stand out. If you’re in San Diego, Great News! in Pacific Beach sells this product.
- The batter of this cake is on the thick side — which is good. The berries don’t all sink to the bottom of the pan as it bakes.
- And speaking of baking, I set my timer for 50 minutes, checked the cake with a wooden skewer and found it was not done so left it in for an additional 10 minutes. The cake had begun to come away from the side of the pan by that time.
- The glaze is delicious! The lime juice really gives it a pleasant zip of flavor — if you’re into glaze, I’d add about 50% more to the recipe.
- I can hear my mother saying I am supposed to tip the cake upside down before glazing it, but I like the rustic look of a cake like this — all those nooks and crannies give it character.
- The texture of this cake reminds me of a Tres Leches cake — or in the case of one I’ve made in the past — a Quatro Leches Cake. It’s very dense and moist and slices like a dream even at room temperature. The strawberry flavor is subtle, but it’s there, and with the key lime in the glaze, the combination is quite satisfying.
- It will travel well because it’s pretty sturdy, and sits in a cool room over night covered.
- The hubster absolutely loved it and he’s not a cake person.
More Strawberry and Lime Cakes from Around the Web
Lime Bundt Cake with Lime Glaze from Ryan Bakes
Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Strawberry Coulis from Annie’s Eats
Vanilla Lime Pound Cake from How Sweet it Is
Strawberry Swirl Cream Cheese Pound Cake from Half Baked
Strawberry & Lime Layer Cake from Kitchen Simplicity