poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie


Junk in My Trunk: Strawberry Cream Cake

I grew up in a house of people who did not bake. The only cake pan we had was a bundt pan, so until my mid-20’s I had no idea how layered cakes worked. I still am the worst froster (frosting applier?) I know.

I did, however, grow up eating a lot of cakes, whether it was store-bought or from a box (baked in the bundt pan, of course). I also ate a lot of processed foods as a child, as every good American (and wannabe American) does.

So that brings us to this “recipe” — or perhaps I should call it a concoction? It’s Betty Crocker Super Moist Chocolate Fudge cake + Cool Whip “frosting” + sliced strawberries. Despite my usual disdain for processed foods, HFCS, etc., this combination will always occupy a dear place in my heart. Not only is it super easy, but it’s also extremely delicious: moist cake, not-too-sweet frosting, and ripe strawberries. I was inspired to make this cake for last week’s stitch n bitch, following our strawberry picking field trip. Unfortunately, I couldn’t use the ones we picked; those had all been frozen on Saturday. So it was with a heavy heart that I shelled out $4 for a quart of organic strawberries from Safeway.

There’s no recipe, but here are the instructions for assembly:
1. Defrost the Cool Whip. It helps to buy everything one day in advance and let the Cool Whip thaw in the fridge. I used regular Cool Whip, but the low-fat version tastes almost as good.
2. Bake the cake according to instructions. I like Betty Crocker’s Super Moist mixes for this cake, though I think I used Devil’s Food once and it wasn’t very good. Let it cool to room temperature.
3. Slice strawberries.
4. Frost the bottom layer of cake, adding a layer of slice strawberries.
5. Place 2nd layer of cake on top. Frost the whole cake with Cool Whip.
6. Add strawberries. I try to follow a symmetrical/radial pattern so that it looks pretty.

Additional ideas:
– Try this cake with an assorted combination of cake flavors and fruit, depending on what’s seasonal.
– For the 4th of July one year, I made a sheet cake and decorated it with strawberries and blueberries to resemble the U.S. flag (how patriotic!).
– Of course, if you don’t want processed foods, make the cake from scratch and/or use real whipped cream… but that sounds awfully labor intensive. 😛



Junk in My Trunk: Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s

One side of the Joe-Joe's box... the other side is teal. I like the disclaimer, "Not actual cookie size."

It’s been so long since my last “Junk in My Trunk” post, you probably thought I forgot about that series, didn’t you? Well, fear not, my loyal readers, for I have a new snack to share with you all! It’s from Trader Joe’s, seemingly the only place from which I buy junk food. I admit that part of the reason that these posts have been so few and far between is because I try not to buy snacks at all. Lately, however, with my training for the Oakland Half Marathon, I had a two-fold reason for snacking:
1. An increase in metabolism = increase in appetite – same size meals = need for extra calories.
2. I really curbed my drinking since alcohol tended to make my training runs more hellish. I went from ~1 drink/night to ~2 drinks/week. Without a glass of wine with dinner, I felt like a sweet treat afterward might satisfy my need for a little indulgence.

I’m proud to say that I possess a good amount of self-restraint. Even with a whole package of cookies, I’ll only have 2/day, 3 at the most. Unfortunately, TC doesn’t share my ability to eat just 2. For instance, I bought a package of palmiers from Trader Joe’s (also ridiculously delicious), thinking that it would take me forever to eat all 12 cookies. (They’re really big cookies, and very rich and buttery too.) Well, with TC’s “help” they were gone in less than 3 days. Good thing the man has super metabolism on his side. Me, not so much.

Anyway, on to today’s featured snack: TJ’s Joe-Joe’s. These are like Oreo cookies except with chocolate filling. I had somewhat low expectations; after all, how can anything be as good as an Oreo? But I was very pleasantly surprised. Not only is the cookie good, but the chocolate cream filling is smooth and rich. Very satisfying! I’ve had the vanilla Joe-Joe’s too; I can’t say that I’m as big of a fan of those.

In summary, TJ’s chocolate Joe-Joe’s: go getchu some!

getting close to finishing the box of Joe-Joe's... so sad