I love to cook and and I love to read. As I was sitting on the beach in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. reading my latest novel, a "novel" idea came to me. I decided I would start a blog which combined both passions where I review a book, and also write about a new dish I cook. The food will be inspired by either the food mentioned in the book, or inspired by the geography and culture in the book. Enjoy!
The reason it is called a "shortcut" cake is because you use a strawberry cake mix (I used Duncan Hines) as the base, follow the instructions on the box, and bake the cake. The recipe calls to bake it in a rectangular pan. I used a Spring Form 9 inch pan instead, which allowed all the layers to show through and was very easy to unmold! I baked the cake in the greased and floured pan for about 40 minutes.
As the recipe says, after the cake had cooled, I poked holes all over the top of the cake with a straw, and then I poured over the top of the cake, the somewhat set, strawberry gelatin (I made the jello according to the box directions and let it firm up to thickened liquid, but not solid or chunky). Then you add a layer of sliced strawberries which you have previously marinated in sugar and cognac. I used Grand Marnier to add a little orange/cognac flavor.
I let the cake refrigerate over night (I think this makes it extra moist and good) and before serving, I took the Spring Form ring off the cake (it was so pretty with all the layers showing), let it stay on the Spring Form pan base, and then whipped up a cup of heavy cream, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 cup powdered sugar until I got a medium stiff whipped cream and spread on top of the cake. For garnish, I fanned a strawberry.