Old age and frosting...
When I announced that my birthday cake was going to be frosting free, you would have thought that I committed an act of culinary sacrilege. My thought was that if you break it down we are smearing fat+sugar+food coloring on to a slab or flour, eggs, sugar. Do we really need to sweeten cake? Don’t get me wrong, I love frosting, as a matter of fact the main reason for me to want to not have it on my birthday cake is because I would not be able to stay out of it. I was certain that there was a better choice, and my friends eventually came around.
I wanted to make my own cake but the clock/calendar was not cooperating. I wanted something unique and artistic, maybe a flavored cake. So I made a few phone calls, several local bakeries, everyone had the same thing to offer, white, yellow, chocolate, carrot, and spice. One local bakery had a zucchini cake and also an Italian cream flavor (which we will keep in mind for another time, yum), did you know that almost all supermarkets will sell you an unfrosted cake for about one third less than a frosted cake? This would not include Safeway, all of their cakes come frosted some their “commissary” in Denver. One of my last calls was to City Market (a Kroger subsidiary) and I asked the same old questions, what flavors do you have besides the standards, can I purchase it without fat smeared all over it, etc. Suddenly the clouds opened up and the person on the other end said “we do have an almond poppy seed flavor”... angels started singing, taste buds starting tingling, and I am pretty sure there was some salivating. Almond poppy seed? that screams flavor and uniqueness. Almost immediately I started thinking of how I would make this into a celebration treat.
The answer is FRUIT SALSA! My wife had mentioned that as an alternative to cake in the planning stages (Mango Salsa Sundaes is a wonderful Pampered Chef recipe). So after a brief Facebook survey, I determined that you could put anything into a salsa and it would still turn out pretty good, but the key ingredients that kept popping up were, Strawberries, peaches, kiwi and bananas. My oldest son has an allergy to bananas, so they are out, but what about the rest?
Here is what I can up with:
4 lb frozen Strawberries (partially thawed)
10 kiwi (peeled, in chunks)
2 32 oz cans of peaches in juice (not syrup) reserve juice from one can
2 cans crushed pineapple in juice
2 bottles of mandarin oranges in juice
1 vanilla bean
1/4 cup sugar
Place the strawberries and peaches in a large bowl and mix/chop them until you have a salsa consistency, add the chunks of kiwi and the crushed pineapple.
Split and scrape vanilla bean into sauce pan, add sugar and juice from peaches, heat and stir to combine. Once cooled add to salsa and mix together.
Layer the mandarin oranges on top and we are done!
We served the unfrosted cake with fruit salsa and whipped cream, it was a hit, I even was thanks by my friends daughter because she cannot eat frosting and was ecstatic to come to a party and be able to eat the cake!
The point is make it delicious, make it adventurous, make it original! Leave the frosting alone! Viva la unfrosted cake....