French Strawberry Cake

Genoise cupcakes and two dogs

French Strawberry Short Cakes

This was the most relaxed baking experience I have had since I joined the Tuesdays with Dorrie (TWD) club back in January. While the more skilled bakers would find this a mild success, this was a wild success for me. I was completely relaxed from start to finish. Once I got over the anxiety and began to bake.

I usually read and re-read  the recipes several times to understand the recipe:  1) what equipment I need (and need to buy); 2) what ingredients I need to buy (and when to buy them); and, 3) my steps to baking and over how many hours/ days.

What gave me a full blown anxiety attack was the ‘Lovely Necessary Evil’ ingredient:  Sour Cream.  I LOVE sour cream but never eat it.  Too many calories. I pinch my waist every time I think of sour cream. And while I am quite aware of the yogurt substitute, I want the real stuff. So this caused a lot of anxiety. So I wrote down the following questions to consider:  1) Should I not try this recipe? 2) Should I use yogurt instead of sour cream? or 3) Should I use the sour cream?

So it took me three days to make the decision. Honestly, one would think I was trying to determine school bus schedules or reading the small print to a treaty on disarmament of nuclear weapons. But every time I thought about it, I would pinch that roll around my waist to see if it had gotten bigger.

So I wrote the answers my questions:

1)  Should I not try this recipe at all?  Well, I decided that if I really want to improve my baking skills, I had to bake that with which I was unfamiliar. And the genoise cake is unfamiliar to me. So, the answer?  No, I do not, not do the recipe. (It’s like math – two negatives multiplied together make a positive.)

2) Do I use yogurt? No is the answer to this one. There is, after all, a difference between sour cream and yogurt.

That leaves me with a big fat YES to question 3! Should I use sour cream? I was so relieved that I had finally made this decision and on a day when the roll at my waist didn’t seem bigger. So I proceeded to prepare. First, I was surprised that I had all the equipment I needed!  Yipppeeee!  This may be the first month that I didn’t have to buy new baking tools and equipment! So, next, I went grocery shopping and then had to look for the sour cream. I didn’t know where it was located.

Once I was standing in front of the sour cream section I was extremely happy to see  a very small, eight ounce sizes for sale.  Who Knew?????  It was exciting to know that the 32 ounces of sour cream I anticipated buying will not be shoved to the back of my frig, become ugly moldy and won’t be discovered until Halloween. I grabbed one carton and shoved it under the lettuce, low fat dressing and rice cakes. I checked out and pinched my waist.

Once home, I looked at my tiny sour cream carton with eagerness and anticipation. I bravely put it in the frig where it could be seen easily to anyone who opened that door. I was going to use sour cream. Exhausted, from all the angst and sore from pinching I sat down to watch the movie Bridesmaids. It was during the sad and lonely scene where the main character bakes herself a single cupcake (and, might I add, she was pretty darn skinny, too.) and I thought I can make cupcakes instead of the whole darn cake! This can be my PORTION CONTROL! I wasn’t changing the recipe, I was going to change the presentation. My reasoning, was that a cake would encourage cutting a second piece. A cake would get soggy in the frig with the strawberry filling.

So, I made those cupcakes. I followed all the directions, including slicing the cupcakes into three layers and adding the filling according to the directions, and then adding the frosting. (I didn’t do the piping as I consider this art and that’s a talent for another lifetime.) I did have the extra whole strawberries but I instead drizzled the juice over the top of the cakes.  I made the cakes and served them up after a rippingly low calorie dinner hummus, blanched asparagus and tabbouleh.

The portion size was just right. It is was so right that I made a second one for each of us. (I’m sure we worked off that sour cream between servings – well, at least I did with that cutting of layers. . .)  AND!  The most exciting thin I realized is that I can re-create the cake over the next couple of days. With the components stored separately, I can have ‘freshly made French Strawberry Short Cake!’

Now that’s portion control!


10 responses to this post.

  1. Funny post. 🙂 I like your single serving size!


    • Thanks! I really like reading your blogs, too! Do you have all your cookbooks numbered? Kristine (louisawalter)


    • Thanks! I have looked at your blog several times. Do you really have 200+ cookbooks? How do you choose a book to cook from? A sophisticated rotation system, I’m thinking?????

      Kristine Mika



      • Thanks for visiting! I do have over 200 books – it’s an addiction of mine – could be worse! I just grab a book and hope I find something that sounds good for that day. I place a small dot on the book to let me know that I have blogged on it already. Nothing sophisticated here! 🙂

      • You have inspired me! After reading your blog/ site on books, I ordered several cookbooks. (Most vegetarian). I have been grabbing and opening to a page, just as you describe doing, and go from there. I used to be quite intimidated by following a recipe and have no idea why! Anyway, it has been working and I credit your blogging as a motivator. I do mark my recipes by dating them – indicating when I made the recipe. And I note what changes I’ve made, if any.

        I thought you might like to know that someone out there is cyber-land has been inspired by you!

        Best, Kristine Mika


  2. I like your cupcake version!
    That scene in Bridesmaids where she makes one cupcake is just such a depressing moment, isn’t it?


  3. Great idea to do minis–they look delicious! I’m glad that you enjoyed making this one. =)


  4. Cupcake! this is such a great solution! They look so sweet.
    Lovely, entertaining post.


  5. Kristine, thank you for your kind words. Knowing that I have inspired someone is the biggest compliment of all! Hopefully you will be posting some of your recipes here so that maybe I can get some inspiration from you – our daughter is a vegetarian. Happy cooking! 🙂


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