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Whole Foods Strawberry Cake (in train formation)

On the morning of his birthday I came down the stairs and asked Calvin, who was already deep in the building of a large train system, what kind of cake he wanted for his party. Having really exercised my scratch cooking skills over the past year I figured the open ended question was safe. Without so much as a pause, or a glance up from his track building for that matter, the child answer strawberry. Strawberry cake? It's nice to know that he sees my powers in the kitchen as limitless, but strawberry cake? So I spent my morning coffee on a search through cyber space comparing recipes, tips, and ideas and ultimately deciding to use a recipe I found that was attributed to Whole Foods. The hardest part about baking this cake, actually, was the trip to the store. Other than that it was a smooth process and one that produced enjoyable results. I have to say that to me the cake had good flavor but seemed incredibly dense, which, when I went to make the cake into a train during afternoon quiet time, turned out to be a good thing.

Whole Foods Strawberry Cake

cake ingredients:
• 2 cups Flour
• 1 cup Sugar
• 1 tbsp Baking Powder
• 1 tsp Sea Salt
• 4 Eggs
• ½ cup Butter, melted
• 1 cup Pureed Strawberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
• ½ cup Milk

Icing ingredients
• 16 oz. Cream Cheese (room temperature)
• ½ stick Butter (room temperature)
• 2 cups Powdered Sugar
• 1 tsp Vanilla

• Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9x13 cake pan and set aside.
• Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat remaining ingredients together. Add to dry, beating with a wire whisk. Pour into prepared cake pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until done when tested with a toothpick.
• To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Nutrition Info
Recipe makes 12 servings. Per Serving (140g-wt.): 410 calories (120 from fat), 13g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 1g dietary fiber, 5g protein, 71g carbohydrate, 100mg cholesterol, 350mg sodium (with first frosting)

My own notes: I made this using King Arthur organic pastry flour, Whole Foods frozen organic strawberries, and I colored the frosting using India Tree natural food coloring.

As for making the cake into a train? I turned the cake out onto cooling racks and when it was mostly cool wrapped it in wax paper and put it in the freezer for 2 hours so it would be stiff enough to work with. Using a bread knife I cut train car shapes (rectangles) and stacked them as need be to give the train more height (since the cake was denser than I'd expected and therefore thinner). Looking at the picture you can see where I cut larger or smaller rectangles and stacked them to give the engine and caboose their shapes. To make the rounded engine front I used the bread knife to give one of the rectangles rounded edges, making it half a cylinder.

The track is made with organic pretzels for cross ties and organic fruit twists for tracks. The wheels are organic cookies, the smoke stack an organic ice cream cone with the pointed tip cut off. The sides of the box cars, which are carrying raspberries, blueberries, and a 4 candle, are just very thin slices of the cake itself, and the bars on the animal cage are more pretzels, and four of them are candles. The animals, of course, are an elephant and a hippo from a box of organic animal cookies. At candle lighting time we filled the smoke stack with ice cream, just for fun.

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