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This post was supposed to be about the awesome strawberry cupcakes I made that reminded me of my grandmother and finally fulfilled a nearly yearlong craving. But NO, because my oven hates cupcakes and burns the bottom of each and every one.

I hinted around last year that I would love to have a strawberry cake for my birthday, only in this house there is no hinting around. In order to get a strawberry cake, I would actually have to say the words, “Will you make me a strawberry cake for my birthday?” which just seems so needy.

My grandmother was the originator of this fabulous strawberry cake. When I asked her for the recipe in college, I learned that it was what I call a “cheater cake,” since it started with a box of cake mix. It should probably be called a “double cheater cake,” since its strawberry flavor results almost entirely from a box of strawberry Jell-O. No matter. It is delicious.

My grandmother died a week after my birthday last summer.

During a small gathering at her old church after the funeral, somebody pointed out that there was strawberry cake on the dessert table. Serendipity, no?

No. It was the ultimate “cheater cake,” made from strawberry-flavored cake mix, complete with those horrid little strawberry-flavored pellets and covered in store-bought frosting.

I bought a box of white cake mix a couple of weeks later, fully intending to make the strawberry cake I deserved. But July in north Alabama is hot. So is August. I spent September recovering from the death of my cat, and by the time October and November rolled around I was neck-deep in graduate school assignments.

Last week, I decided to make the recipe into cupcakes because I needed something to bring to a bake sale. Ingenious, right? I make 24 cupcakes, keep two and sell the rest for a good cause. Only the oven had different plans.

At any rate, here’s the recipe. You should be able to make it in any pan size described on the back of the cake mix box; just evaluate your oven’s proclivities first. All 10-ounce packages of frozen strawberries seem to be sweetened, so I’m assuming that’s the right kind to buy.

Nanny’s Strawberry Cake

4 tablespoons plain flour
1 package white cake mix
1 small package strawberry Jell-O
1/2 cup cold water
4 whole eggs, beaten one at a time
2/3 cup vegetable oil
Half of a 10-ounce package frozen strawberries, thawed

Preheated oven according to the instructions on the box of cake mix. Grease pans and dust with flour.

Whisk the flour into the cake mix in a large mixing bowl. Dissolve Jell-O in cold water. Add to flour and beat well. Mix one beaten egg into batter; repeat with other eggs. Add oil and mix well. Fold in strawberries. Bake cake according the instructions on the box of cake mix.

Icing

1 box powdered sugar
1 stick butter
Half of a 10-ounce package frozen strawberries, thawed

Cream sugar and butter. Add strawberries and beat the icing until it is as thick as fudge.

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