Strawberry Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

1 c. halved fresh strawberries

1 c. softened butter

2 c. sugar

1 3 oz. pkg . of strawberry flavored jello

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 t. vanilla extract

3 c. cake flour

2 1/2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

1 c. whole milk, room temperature

(White chocolate cream cheese icing recipe to follow at end).

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Spray three (3) 8-inch pans with non-stick baking spray with flour.

In blender, place strawberry halves. Process until smooth. You should end up with 1/2 c. strawberry puree.

In a large bowl, beat butter at medium speed of mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar and jello. Beat for 5 minutes until light and fluffy (time it). Add eggs, one at a time, beating until yellow disappears. Add strawberry puree and pure vanilla, beating just until blended.

In another bowl, sift together cake flower, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beating at low speed just until blended after each addition. Spoon batter into pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely. (You may wrap the cool layers in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to frost).

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

1 c. white chocolate morsels

1 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese, softened

1 3 oz. pkg. of cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. butter (Mom uses unsalted butter)

1 t. pure vanilla extract

1 16 oz pkg. of confectioner’s sugar

Melt chocolate morsels according to package directions (Mom melts in microwave). Stir to remove any lumps. Let stand for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with mixer until creamy. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Gradually add confectioner’s sugar, beating until light and fluffy.

How to frost the cake: Spread white chocolate cream cheese icing between layers and on sides and top of cake. (If mixture is too stiff to spread, add a little milk until it is the right consistency). Garnish with fresh, cold strawberries if desired. Mom added blue berries for the patriotic occasion. Store cake covered in the refrigerator up to 3 days.