Mother’s Day Vanilla Naked Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting & Strawberries

Not to brag, but Mother’s Day was my daughter’s favorite holiday when she was little. ❤ It has now been surpassed by her birthday, Easter, and Christmas, of course, but she still recognizes it is an important day. 🙂 She tirelessly made this cake- completely independently- for Mother’s Day this year.

My son made a family favorite (my choice!), Penne with Vodka-Cream Sauce, for our Mother’s Day dinner. He served it with garlic bread and a giant salad. This lovely dessert topped off our celebratory meal. Lucky me! 🙂

The recipe was adapted from one of our favorite birthday cakes, Rainbow Sprinkle Cake, contributed to The New York Times by Julia Moskin. She used 8-inch pans, omitted the sprinkles, and modified the proportions and baking time. She also topped the cake with fresh strawberries. Delicious.

For the Cake:

  • 1/2 cup/110 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), slightly softened, more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups/190 grams all-purpose flour, more for pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup/158 ml whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 whole egg plus 2 egg whites

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, slightly softened
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), slightly softened
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
  • 2 1/4 cups/225 grams confectioners’ sugar, sifted, more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, optional

To Make the Cake:

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees, preferably on convection, and place a rack in the center.
  2. Butter and line the bottoms of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Butter the parchment. Flour the pans, coating the bottom and sides, then tap out any excess flour.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together milk and vanilla.
  5. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Reduce speed to low and, with mixer running, slowly add egg and whites and beat until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down bowl.
  7. Add half the flour mixture, then the milk mixture, then the remaining flour mixture, beating to blend after each addition.
  8. Scrape down bowl and blend once more.
  9. Remove bowl and use a spatula or spoon to fold in sprinkles by hand.
  10. Divide batter evenly between the pans (approximately 400 g per pan), and bake until the tops are just dry to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through baking. (She baked the cakes for 22 minutes.)
  11. Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cool completely, at least 2 to 4 hours, before turning out.

To Make the Frosting & Finish the Cake:

  1. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, butter and salt together at medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes.
  2. Reduce speed to low and, with mixer running, slowly add sugar and beat until smooth.
  3. Beat in vanilla just until incorporated.
  4. Taste frosting; you should be able to taste the cream cheese and a little bit of saltiness, as well as the sweetness. If desired, add more salt or sugar. Keep refrigerated.
  5. Turn cooled cakes out of pans.
  6. Using a bread knife, cut off any domed or uneven parts of each cake to make flat surfaces.
  7. Place one of the cakes on a platter or a cake stand, cut side up. Line the edges with parchment or wax paper to keep the cake stand clean.
  8. Using an offset spatula, frost the top.
  9. Stack the other layer on top, cut side down.
  10. Place remaining frosting on top of the cake and, working from the center outward, frost the top and sides of the cake, as desired. (She kept the sides relatively naked.)
  11. Top the cake with sliced strawberries, as desired.
  12. Refrigerate cake 30 minutes or longer to set. Serve cool.

Berry Breeze

Mr. BrookCook searched for the perfect Mother’s Day cocktail and this was it. 🙂 Springy, tasty, and, in the vein of a Moscow Mule, topped with a splash of ginger beer. I loved it!

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Camille Austin of Hakkasan in New York City, via Town and Country magazine. It would also be perfect for the upcoming holiday weekend- and all summer long.

Yield: 1 drink

  • 2 oz lemon vodka
  • 4-5 blackberries
  • .25 oz fresh lime juice
  • ginger beer, to taste
  1. Muddle blackberries in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add vodka and lime juice; shake over ice.
  3. Strain into ice filled double old-fashioned glass or copper mug.
  4. Top with ginger beer, to taste.
  5. Garnish with a lime wheel, a lime wedge, and/or blackberries. Serve.

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Mr. BrookCook’s Mother’s Day Dinner: Aji de Gallina

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On Mother’s Day, I was showered with flowers, poems, handmade jewelry, and love. 🙂 The weather was gorgeous and we were able to spend a wonderful day outside together as a family. My kids were so well behaved! It was PERFECT.

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We were also able to enjoy our first outside dinner of the season. Mango Margarita‘s and Aji de Gallina- both meticulously prepared by my husband… Mr. BrookCook! 🙂 (I had to copy the “Mr.” from The Seasoned Traveler after seeing that Mr. Seasoned Traveler did a Mother’s Day post- the best title ever!) One of my absolute favorite dishes is Peruvian Aji de Gallina. It is a creamy and spicy chicken stew with many layers of flavor. The key ingredient is Aji Amarillo, which we were able to order through Amazon. Last year, this dish was my birthday dinner request… this year I didn’t want to wait until June! This recipe was adapted from PiscoTrail.com, via Foodista. Instead of poaching a chicken, my husband used rotisserie chicken meat. The stew was served over boiled potato slices and garnished with hard boiled egg slices. FABULOUS!! Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all of the mothers and grandmothers out there. 🙂 & Happy Fiesta Friday #16 at The Novice Gardener!

Yield: 8 servings

  • 1 rotisserie chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken leg, shredded
  • 2 rotisserie chicken thighs, shredded
  • 4 1/2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 slices of bread, crusts removed
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 teaspoons aji amarillo
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup ground walnuts
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk
  • 4-6 Yukon gold potatoes or red potatoes, boiled until tender, cut into slices
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and quartered
  • parsley and black olives for garnish, if desired
  1. Shred the chicken meat into long, thin strands.
  2. Soak two slices of bread (minus the crust) in 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and mash with a fork to make a purée.
  3. Dice a yellow onion, mince the garlic, and chop the parsley.
  4. Grind the walnuts using a (mini) food processor.
  5. Prepare the sofrito by sautéing the onion and garlic with the canola oil in a pot over medium to high heat. Cook until onion is translucent.
  6. Add the aji amarillo, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and turmeric and continue to sauté until all the spices are mixed well.
  7. Add the parsley and bread purée minus any extra soaking stock, mix well, reduce heat and cook until the mixture begins to simmer.
  8. Add 3 cups of chicken stock, cook until it begins to simmer.  Then add the shredded chicken.
  9. Stir occasionally and continue to simmer partially covered until stew thickens, about 45 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and stir in ground walnuts, parmesan, and milk.
  11. Serve over slices of cooked potatoes and garnish with a hard-boiled egg, black olive, and sprig of parsley, as desired.

Note: The stew is done when it has reached a thick and creamy consistency, or when you can see the bottom of the pot when stirring the stew with a spoon.

One Year Ago:

Mango Margarita

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My kids and I go through cases of mangoes- fighting for the last piece. Margaritas are my favorite cocktail. You see why this is the perfect recipe, right? 🙂 Perfect for Mother’s Day! Perfect for Fiesta Friday #16 at The Novice Gardener too! I didn’t join the party last week and have to make up for it this week with two contributions. (My fabulous Mother’s Day dinner will be next….)

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by David Yan of Casa Noble Estate. We added a little bit of granulated sugar to the chile powder coating on the rim of the glass. My kids enjoyed a non-alcoholic version as well. Super tasty!

Yield: Makes 2 drinks

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 3 ounces tequila
  • 1 small mango—peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped (3 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces Cointreau
  • 1 1/2 ounces agave nectar
  • 3 ounces Italian grapefruit soda
  1. Spread the chile powder and granulated sugar in a dish. Moisten the rim of a margarita glass with the lime wedge; dip the rim in the chile powder to coat.
  2. In a blender, puree the mango. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into the glass and serve.

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One Year Ago:

Mother’s Day Huevos Rancheros

I always request that my husband make Huevos Rancheros on Mother’s Day – is that weird? It makes sense for us because my husband is an expert at preparing eggs- his weekly Saturday morning special, and we love Mexican food. I also love breakfast for dinner. This is his favorite recipe, adapted from gourmet.com. This is officially my first guest post! My husband prepared this dish while I posted on thebrookcook and played “fairies camping” with our daughter. 🙂 He prepared a fried egg (to order) for me, with extra salsa, while he and my son had their eggs scrambled with queso fresco. The salsa was terrific.
I had a lovely and mellow Mother’s Day with my husband and our kids. After the kids’ swimming practice in the morning, we went out for breakfast and then to the farmer’s market in Port Jefferson where we got some gorgeous artisan bread and herb plants for our garden.
Avalon Fairy House
We had a picnic lunch in a beautiful nature preserve near our house, Avalon Park. My husband has been running on the trails in the woods and wanted to show us a “fairy house” that he discovered at the base of a tree- complete with an outside table & chairs, swing set, and clothesline. Sweet. In the evening, after a celebratory margarita, we enjoyed this dish for dinner. Happy Mother’s Day!
Yield: Serves 4
  • 6 tablespoons vegtable oil
  • 8 (5-inch) corn tortillas
  • 2 (14- to 15-oz) cans whole tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus additional for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 2+ garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 large eggs (or 2 per person)
  • avocado & crumbled queso fresco, for serving, optional

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  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 200°F. Stack 4 ovenproof plates on oven rack to warm.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Stack 2 tortillas in skillet and cook 30 seconds, then flip stack over with tongs and cook 30 seconds more. While second tortilla cooks on bottom, turn top tortilla over with tongs, keeping tortillas stacked. Flip stack again and cook in same manner, turning over top tortilla and flipping stack again so that both tortillas are softened and both sides puff slightly, then deflate (do not let them become browned or crisp). Wrap tortillas loosely in foil and keep warm in oven. Fry remaining tortillas in same manner, adding 1 tablespoon oil to skillet for each batch. (Do not clean skillet.)
  3. Purée tomatoes with their juice, onion, cilantro, chipotle, garlic, and salt in a blender until very smooth. Carefully add mixture to hot skillet (it may spatter) and simmer, stirring occasionally, until salsa is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then crack 4 eggs into skillet and cook 3 to 4 minutes for runny yolks, or to desired doneness. Transfer to a plate and keep warm, covered, then cook remaining 4 eggs in remaining tablespoon oil in same manner. Season eggs with salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon 1/4 cup salsa onto each plate and top with 2 tortillas, slightly overlapping them. Transfer 2 eggs to tortillas on each plate and top with some of remaining salsa. Sprinkle with cilantro. Garnish with crumbled queso fresco and avocado, if using.
NOTE: If concerned about salmonella, you may want to fully cook the egg yolks.
Mother's Day

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