. . . and for the finale . . .
What better way to celebrate the last of our Meyer lemon stash and all of the red, ripe strawberries overflowing on our kitchen countertop than strawberry-filled meyer mint mini cakes?
First, she mixed the cake (see the flour spray evidence in the photos below).
Then, while the cake was in the oven baking, she removed the strawberry stems from four cups (about 3 baskets) of our organic strawberry stash:
This activity is a great exercise in organization and if your toddler is like mine, he will enjoy the methodical process of picking a strawberry from the first bowl, carefully pulling off the stem, and placing the usable strawberry and discarded stems in their respective bowls.
Next, she squished the ripe strawberries in her fists and poked them silly with her little fingers. When it was clear the strawberries were definitely dead, we placed them in a pot with 1/2 cup sugar (you could increase to 1 cup) and 2 tbsp butter (you could reduce to 1 tbsp), brought them to a boil, and then kept them on a medium heat simmer until the berry mixture cooked into a nice sauce. By “nice,” I do not mean a nice “gourmet” strawberry sauce, but a nice “chunky, toddler-chopped” sauce.
Next, she helped mixing my Favorite Buttercream Frosting. I roughly chopped and added a ridiculous amount of mint leaves: about 3 to 4 tablespoons (but you could reduce to a dignified amount, like 1 to 2 teaspoons), and added an insane amount of lemon juice and crude lemon zest: 3 to 4 tablespoons juice and 1 to 2 tablespoons rind (you could reduce to 1 to 2 tablespoons juice and 1 to 2 teaspoons zest). Be aware that if you use as much lemon juice as I did, you’ll probably have to add more confectioner’s sugar to the finished frosting to stiffen it up a bit.
After the mini-cakes cooled, I used a melon baller to hollow out the cakes. Then I filled them with the cooked strawberry chunks and sauce. The cake will soak in the sauce, so after the first round of filling, go ahead and top off your cakes a second time.