Cake FAIL = Dessert WIN

May 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Remember those two castle cakes that didn’t make the final cut? Well, I just can’t bear to throw away food, especially when that food is delicious cake. So I put all the broken cake into food storage containers and considered making a trifle. Then for some reason I started thinking about cheesecake…not regular New York style cheesecake, but the cheesecake my mom used to make. Unlike the dense, thick cheesecake you get in restaurants (which I have grown to love for its own sake over the years), Mom’s cheesecake was light and airy, and actually served in pie form with a delicious Nilla wafer crust.

I got the recipe from Mom several years ago, but rarely make the cheesecake since until very recently I was the only one in the house who liked cream cheese (now I can count on Zacky to help me out). However, by the time I got to the store my mouth was watering for the cheesecake and I decided it was Going To Happen…I had just about forgotten about the leftover cake. It wasn’t until I had my cream cheese in hand and was heading for the strawberries (Mom served it with cherry pie filling on top, but I prefer fresh strawberries if I can get them) that inspiration struck: what if I used the light, airy cheesecake filling in place of whipped cream and used the strawberries and leftover cake to make strawberry shortcake? Genius!

The whipped cream element of strawberry shortcake has always, in my opinion, been the weak link in the dessert. Unless you have something incredibly delicate as a base, like angel cake (which I do love), the whipped cream just gets totally overpowered. This slightly denser, cream cheese-y topping was absolutely perfect, especially with the heavier cake base I was using. The recipe is below, along with information on how I treated the strawberries (it being not quite truly strawberry season yet) and also the crust recipe, in case you don’t have extra cake lying around and just want to make the cheesecake.

Strawberry shortcake

Excuse me while I devour this, won't you?



  • 2 qts fresh strawberries
  • 0-1/3 c sugar

Remove tops of strawberries and cut into bite-size pieces. Add sugar to taste. If it’s mid-summer, you probably won’t need any. If it’s mid-winter, you may need as much as 1/3c. Using a potato masher, very slightly mash berries. You want to just mush them a little and get a little juice going, not make jam. Cover loosely (to keep bugs, domestic animals, and small children out) and leave on counter for 1-4 hours, until you see things getting saucy. NOTE: You can skip this bit if you want to serve right away, you just won’t have as much juice. Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cheesecake Topping/Filling

  • 1 pkg Dream Whip
  • 1/2 c skim milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 8 oz cream cheese at room temp (low fat is okay, fat free is not — it gets lumpy)
  • 1 c powdered sugar

Using electric mixer, beat together Dream Whip and milk according to package instructions (NOTE: don’t worry about the vanilla mentioned on the package, you’ll be adding it in the next step). Add softened cream cheese and vanilla and mix until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar; continue mixing until completely blended. Refrigerate until ready to serve OR add to cooled pie crust (below) and refrigerate at least one hour to set.

Crumb Pie Crust

  • 1 1/3 c vanilla wafers
  • 1/4 c butter or margarine, melted (NOTE: the original recipe calls for margarine; I always use butter and it turns out fine)
  • 1/4 c sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Process wafers in food processor until they are fine crumbs. Combine crumbs with melted butter and sugar; mix well. Press evenly into 9″ pie plate. Bake at 350° 8-10 minutes, until edges just begin to brown.


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