+[a cake in progress]+

One ideal July afternoon in Seaside, when the girls were still young and napping, I left Doug to tend them while I headed out for a mid afternoon stroll.  (We took turns, back then, getting time alone.  He typically would get up early and go work out, then walk the beach alone enjoying the morning air before the family day began.  I typically would slip out mid afternoon while they napped to relish my own favorites.)  The taste of salty air on my lips comes back as I remember the day. 

Seaside is an 80 acre, watercolored town.  Picket fences line each street.  Families bike to every destination.  There is one market, one ice cream shop, one book store, one farmers market and a handful of restaurants and shops that are so fabulous you only need a handful.  In fact, in my mind, its as close to architectural and vision/planning perfection in a town as Ive ever seen.  But thats just me.

To walk there is one of lifes greatest pleasures, in my mind.  To be there is one of life greatest pleasures, in my mind.  You would have be sitting here right now, watching me with my laptop on my criss-crossed legs, Anthro-initialed coffee cup resting on my right knee, guttural smile extended from ear to ear as I even write about the place, to get a hint of how much I love it there. 

Anyway, back to the story.

So I took off that afternoon with no agenda.  Well, except for iced coffee, a sweet treat of some sort and a walk to the bookstore then along the beach.   Not much of an agenda.   Modica Market was my first stop.  Oh I do love Modica Market.  I mean how can you not love Modica Market.  Or, the late sweet Mr. Modica who called us all by name.  Ok, ok.  I know.  Stay focused.  Story.  Ok.  So, I [sigh] went to Modica Market to grab my iced coffee and beach treat before heading out to sit and watch afternoon waves.  And within the glass case I saw her - my soul mate of cakes - that passionate pink perfection - a four layer strawberry cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting.  Fabulous.  I was giddy.  Id had strawberry cake before of course (I was born and raised in Texas!) but it had been years.  And somehow this cake was different.  (Please dont write to tell me I have food issues, I already know that.)

I would save half of it for Doug I thought as I scurried out to sit under an umbrella on the bookstores front porch.  I didnt save any.  I sav-ored it, does that count?  I could write a paragraph or two about that cake but I wont because then, well, then I will just seem more engaged with that cake than I care to admit. (Truth be known I bought a second piece, which I did indeed share with him.)

That afternoon is etched in my memory for  a few reasons.  One of them though, is, unashamedly that cake.   I came home and tried to recreate it only to find all the recipes out there which came close included a white boxed cake mix and strawberry jello.  For a few years I was ok with that.  And then I wasnt anymore.  Now Im certainly not.  So over the past few years Ive tried to get it right without the artificial stuff.   The recipe from Sky High cookbook is the closest Ive found (from scratch white cake, pureed strawberries), but its still not quite it.   Not quite pink enough (I added two drops of natural red dye to the cake in my pics but would rather not add any).   And the frosting was way off. 

The frosting I have down now (have about 4 cups of extra in the frig right now), but the cake part itself is still in progress.  I attempt this food art project about 3 times a year now.  Yesterday was the first attempt in 2013.  This will be the year, Im pretty sure.   The girls are pressuring me because we are currently putting together a cookbook of our personal family recipes and they want it in there.

You're waiting for a recipe arent you?  I dont have it yet.  Sorry.  But I was eating strawberry cupcakes in bed last night while reading (Doug is traveling) and I did stay home later this morning, my Sabbath morn, to have another one and a couple cups of coffee because they are just so good.  Yes, Im really, really close now.