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Faking a Fantastic Cake

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Did you ever want to serve up a cake that screams "homemade" but were short on time? Here's a little trick: focus on the frosting. A great frosting can save a bad cake but a great cake can't save a bad frosting. That's because the sweet, thick, buttery awesomeness is the last thing on your tongue when eating cake.

This post takes you through a strawberry and cream cheese frosting, but you can use any frosting recipe to suit your purposes.

Strawberry and Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted sweet cream butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup of strawberry preserves
  • 1 1/4 cups of toasted almond slices
  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries, sliced in half
  • 1. While your favorite boxed cake mix is baking in the oven, combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat until smooth. Reduce to low speed, add the sugar and beat until even. Add the vanilla extract and beat until even. Use immediately or refrigerate until later.

    2. Make sure you allow the cake to cool entirely before frosting. Make sure the frosting is at room temperature before using.

    3. After frosting the middle layer, add a layer of the strawberry preserves before adding the next layer of cake.

    4. Coat the sides of the cake with the toasted sliced almonds and decorate with the strawberries.

    Voilà! You now have a cake that looks homemade and almost tastes it, too.

    So the next time you're pressed for time, prepare a box of your favorite cake mix and, while it's baking, whip up some homemade frosting. You, your guests and your personal trainer will be glad you did.

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