This week I had the chance to host my church lady friends for lunch. I made a few favorites, in particular a recipe for strawberry cake that our whole family has enjoyed for generations. There are five birthdays in the month of February and almost always this cake is requested. My brother Jim and Mother loved it, too, when their April and August birthdays came ’round. And it’s my nephew’s go-to dessert as well. I got to thinking that I didn’t know the origin of the recipe and I messaged Sister Bee to get the story. Here is her memory…
“It was Kent’s mother Frieda’s recipe. She made it for us when we were in junior high. She liked me alot (probably better than Kent) and she would always tell Kent before he left for school that she was baking a strawberry cake that day and invite Paula to come home with him after school for cake and a glass of milk. Kent adored his mother so he happily obliged. He’d always find me between classes and just wink and say, ‘Strawberry cake after school today?’ We did that alot over the course of junior high. In high school we went steady (she inserted a winking emoji here). I would go with him to his sister’s house for dinner and help her feed her little boy in his high chair.
Because Frieda was so precious to me, I kept in touch over the years after I married and had children. After Carrie was born, Frieda would still want me to come and visit so she could see Carrie. Suffering from MS made it difficult for Frieda to bake the strawberry cake, but she still did. I was the one this time to slice the cake and boil the water for the tea. We would sit and drink tea and eat cake while Carrie played on the floor in Frieda’s cozy living room. I asked her to share the recipe for the cake to bake for Carrie’s second birthday. That started the tradition of making the strawberry cake.Frieda passed away when Elizabeth was born so she never got to see her, but the cake lives on in our family. Carrie started baking it for her daughter, Violet. Violet, now a teenager bakes it for Elizabeth’s daughter, Amelia. Christina bakes it for Bryan’s birthday, and the beat goes on.”
Here’s Frieda’s recipe for her amazing strawberry cake. It really is a winner and I hope when you make it, you will say a little “Thank you, Frieda!”
Mix together one box of white cake mix
One small package of strawberry jello
3 TBL of flour
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water
3/4 of a small bag or box of thawed, frozen strawberries (if they are whole mash them with a fork).
Mix together and pour into a greased and floured 9×13 pan. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350.
One box of powdered sugar
Remaining strawberries (mashed with the fork)
1 tsp of vanilla
3/4 cup of softened butter
Mix until all the butter and strawberries are creamy. You may add more powdered sugar if you want a stiffer icing.
Iced completely cooled cake.