Happy Birthday, Sylvia Plath
On October 27, 1932, Sylvia Plath was born.
For those of you who don't know, Plath is one of my favorite poets. I even wrote the critical essay for my MFA about Plath's poetry. Last year, I decided that to celebrate her, I would make a cake on her birthday. When someone dies, we often remember them on the day of their death, or the day of the funeral. But why focus on her death?
Most people focus on Plath's death. Yes, she killed herself, but she was full of life. My critical essay focuses on how she viewed life rather than her suicide.
To celebrate her life, I decided to make a strawberry velvet cake. Plath was a girly girl--she liked fashion. What is more "girly" than a pink cake?
Pink Velvet Strawberry Cake (from Let Us All Eat Cake)
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen cherries
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp strawberry jam
Pink Velvet Strawberry Cake
3 cups of your favorite gluten-free flour blend
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup cooled strawberry puree
3/4 cup earth balance butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 egg whites
Make the strawberry puree ahead of time.
Combine all of the fruits, sugar, and water in a sauce pan.
Over medium heat, bring it to a simmer.
Cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves and then occasionally for about 15 minutes.
The mixture will thicken, and you should be able to mash the fruit easily with a fork.
Transfer to a shallow dish to cool for about 15 minutes.
Pour into a food processor.
Process until smooth.
Add the jam and process again.
Refrigerate the puree until it's completely cooled, about 30 minutes.
Make the cake.
Preheat your oven to 350º.
Grease two 8-inch cake pans.
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the milk and strawberry puree.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
Slowly add the egg whites.
Add the flour mixture one-fourth at a time.
Add one-third of the milk and beat until almost fully incorporated.
Repeat until all ingredients are combined.
Bake for 30–35 minutes.
Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
Frost with strawberry buttercream, or your favorite frosting.
This cake was not perfect. I accidentally grabbed my six-inch cake pans, so the texture is a bit off and I added too much puree to my strawberry frosting. This meant that I couldn't make strawberry roses (I managed to make one before the frosting completely melted on me). But overall, the cake tastes okay. I cut a piece for myself, one for Sam, and one for Sylvia.
Her piece of cake will sit on the table tonight as a reminder to take a moment and celebrate life.
This is what happens when you put enough batter for an 8-inch pan in your 6-inch pan.