Whenever we get around to it, we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake, a recipe Fred requested. It was originally posted here on Buzzfeed.
Fred spotted this recipe on Facebook a few weeks ago, and requested that I make it. I figured, since I was going to be making it anyway, why not ask Nance if she’d be willing to make it too, and kill two birds with one stone? She was up for it, so off to the grocery store I went.
I was immediately irritated by this recipe. Why buy a cake mix and then make half a cake? What the hell am I going to do with the other half of the cake mix? That is just sloppy and lazy and stupid recipe creation, if you ask me. So I trolled through the comments and decided that I’d just make the damn cake in a 9×13 pan. A lot of commenters (shut the fuck up, spellcheck, commenters IS SO a word) mentioned that there was way too much of the topping, so I decided not to double it (which was my first instinct), and I’d buy two containers of Cool Whip just in case.
Cake mix, graham crackers, strawberries, cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, milk, “whipping topping” (which we all know is Cool Whip).
Like all poke cake recipes, it starts with making the cake.
While the cake is mixing, spray your cake pan with cooking spray and then line the bottom with graham crackers, like so.
After the cake is done mixing, tell Betty Crocker to kiss your ass.
What is the point of making a cake if you can’t eat the batter? I’ll take the chances of salmonella poisoning, thank you very much.
Cake’s ready to bake!
While the cake is baking, cut the tops off your strawberries. I went one step further and cut the strawberries in half, because that’s the kind of exciting life I lead.
About ten minutes before the cake was done cooking, I figured I’d get the topping ready to go. Instead of following the original instructions, I thought I’d be smart and mix up the cream cheese, condensed milk and milk before adding the strawberries. A lot of people complained about not being able to get the topping completely smooth the way the recipe demanded, so for some reason I thought my way would work better.
I ended up throwing all that shit in the blender and blending the hell out of it, and I think that’s what you should do, too. If you don’t have a blender, try a food processor, but I think a blender would be way better.
Hey! How about an affiliate link? This is the blender I have, a KitchenAid blender in red, and it kicks ass every time I use it.
This is what my topping looked like after I’d blended it to hell and back.
Yes, I took a sip and yes it was pretty damn good.
When the cake was done, I immediately poked holes in it with my wooden spoon.
Those holes are way bigger than I would ordinarily make in a poke cake – usually I’ll use a big fork. But I was (kind of) following instructions, so I did what the recipe said I should.
While the cake is still hot, you dump your topping as evenly over the top as possible while trying to take a picture with the other hand.
A lot of people in the comments to the original recipe bitched about how much topping there was, and I’m with them. I don’t have any idea how this much topping would have worked on a 9×9 size cake. It would have overflowed the pan, is what it would have done. As it was, I still ended up with about 1/2 a cup of topping I didn’t use. I mean, live your life how you want, but I wouldn’t recommend using the entire batch of topping.
At this point, Alice – who was trying to take a nap on top of the cupboards – woke up and gave me hell.
“JESUS CHRIST, lady! Trying to sleep here! Can you keep it DOWN?!”
Lucky for her, I was done with the loud portion of the cake-making.
This is what it looked like after I’d added all the topping I was going to add.
Though I was messing with my camera settings – it was a much paler pink than that in real life.
Once it cooled down a bit, I stuck it in the fridge until it cooled completely. You don’t want to put Cool Whip on a warm cake, or it’ll melt. IMPORTANT LIFE TIP FROM ROBYN right there.
This is what it looked like when it was cool.
Obviously, the topping kind of pooled around the edges, but that happens with pretty much any poke cake. I was very glad I hadn’t used the entire batch of topping.
And here it is after I put the Cool Whip on top.
Aren’t I fancy, with the swirls on top like that? The one 8 ounce container of Cool Whip was plenty. Again, I’m not sure what kind of drugs the original recipe maker was on.
Cool Whip will always and forever remind me of Fred’s nephew. At Thanksgiving one year, we were cutting the pumpkin pie, and someone brought out the can of Reddi-Wip. Fred made a joke about “Oh, the REAL whipped cream, we’re getting fancy this year!”, and his nephew informed us that Reddi-Wip was NOT real whipped cream, that REAL whipped cream came in a tub. Do we tease him about it every year? I think you know the answer to that.
Sprinkle crushed graham cracker crumbs on top, and serve.
The verdict? Fred really liked it a LOT, I thought it was okay. I think it actually would have been improved with real whipped cream (not the Reddi-Wip, the kind of whipped cream you make yourself with the heavy whipping cream and sugar and the bowl and beater straight from the freezer). (Yes, I know that Amanda is weeping happy tears and preparing me to welcome her back into the fold of pretentiousness. But Cool Whip has a plastic aftertaste to me, and real whipped cream is 1000% times better, so SHUT UP AMANDA, NO ONE ASKED YOU.)
Fred liked it so much that he asked me to make it again the following weekend, using cherries instead of strawberries. I did (used frozen cherries, thawed), and it was okay, but we both think the strawberry version is better.
Will I make it again? Yeah, when it’s requested. I’m not a huge fan of this cake, but I’ll eat a piece or two if it’s sitting around. It would be good at a cookout or large gathering, I think.
My other note: The second time around, I used a cake mix we had in the cupboard (Duncan Hines Classic Yellow, which is our favorite) instead of specifically buying a vanilla cake mix, and it was fine.
Robyn’s husband, Fred, picked out this recipe for us to try. I am guilty of just looking at the picture and saying yes because damn, that cake looked good and I was hungry. But when it came time to make the damn cake I thought that maybe Fred was trolling us. Half a cake mix? WTF? Who does that shit and way to make it more complicated. I went and read all the comments to see how this worked and decided based on comments alone that I would make the cake a normal 9×13. Robyn probably made it the right way. She’s a rule follower, that one. Me? Rebel. No half cake batters for this bitch.
As you can see, I felt that graham cracker placement was really important. Important enough to practice it before I did anything to the pan.
I decided to grease and flour this pain (a huge pain in the ass) because I didn’t want graham crackers sticking or any messes. Not that I know for a fact that they would stick. I have no idea what they would do because who bakes with graham crackers? Not me, that’s for damn sure.
The Big K stayed by my side the entire time. She loves being in the kitchen for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, there will be no pictures of her trying out this cake because she’s a bit of a hog and I have yet to be able to snap a photo of her actually eating anything. The food is there and then it is GONE. Her big mouth is faster than my trigger finger.
Separating egg whites is apparently something that I can’t do right even when I use an egg separator. I said fuck it (of course I did) and let the yolk in there. Fortunately, it wasn’t enough to change the color of my cake.
I just let the camera do its own thing which is why it’s focused on the beaters. This is the cake mix all ready to go.
Action shot of the cake mix going over the graham crackers. About those graham crackers…you don’t need them. In fact, they made the cake weird. You had this wonderful cake with filling, etc., and then you have a weird texture on the bottom. They don’t stay crunchy, they just get weird. Skip the graham cracker part altogether. Trust me.
Cake baked with holes poked in it.
I made an executive decision to not try and whisk motherfucking strawberries. Who has time for that shit? I got out my handy dandy chopper.
My camera once again focused on the wrong thing, but just pretend it’s an artsy photograph. At least my strawberries are chopped and ready to go.
Surprise addition to the DCEP family. This is Charley. She has a sister…
Clyde. I’m sure the girls will be seen on DCEP more often, but they haven’t really figured out the whole camera thing yet so I need to give them a minute.
The strawberries with the condensed milk and cream cheese added. I skipped the regular milk because this seemed pourable enough and I didn’t want it all runny and messy.
This is the last picture I have of this cake. The filling, poured over the top, reached the top of the pan. It was so high that I couldn’t add the whipped cream. I put it in the refrigerator and hoped that it would soak down in. It did fill the holes that I made, but never went down far enough for me to put whipped cream on it. I should have taken the time to get the flour off of the rim of the cake pan, but I couldn’t be arsed.
We ate the shit out of this cake. No lie. Even without the whipped cream it was delicious. Rick was in Missouri so he didn’t get to try it, but my mom and I did it up. We tend not to eat real meals when he’s not around so trust me this cake made a fabulous breakfast, lunch and dinner. My only complaint, as seen above, was that stupid graham cracker bottom. I ate everything but the bottom of the cake because of the weird texture. Just skip the graham crackers and you’ll be fine.
- 1 box cake mix (vanilla or yellow)
- cooking spray
- 1 pack of graham crackers
- 1 pound strawberries with tops removed
- 1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened
- 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 c. milk
- 8 oz whipped topping
- strawberries for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Make cake following the directions on the box.
- Spray a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray.
- Line the bottom of the baking pan with graham crackers (breaking some, if necessary). Crush the remaining graham crackers into crumbs, and set aside.
- Pour the cake batter into the pan (gently, so as not to scatter your graham crackers), then bake following the times on the back of the box, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Using the end of a wooden spoon (or any large serving spoon), poke holes in the cake evenly over the cake.
- In a blender (preferred) or food processor, blend strawberries, cream cheese, condensed milk, and milk until smooth. (You could also do this by hand, but you're not going to get as smooth a result.)
- Pour the mixture evenly over the cake while the cake is still hot. I don't recommend using the entire batch of topping (I end up with about ½ - 1 c. left over), but you make your own decision.
- Cool the cake - first on the counter and then in the fridge - until completely cool.
- Spread whipped topping on top.
- Chill cake for a few hours, or overnight (the longer it cools, the better).
- Sprinkle crushed graham crackers on top, slice, and serve.