Friday, July 3, 2015

Easy Refrigerator Cakes ~ Piña Colada or Strawberry, both a refreshing summer treat.

Today I'm sharing two recipes that I often make while we are at our Caribbean home. Because we are on vacation, I always want a quick and easy, as well as cool and tropical, dessert. So these are perfect make-ahead desserts that your family and friends will love particularly in the warmer months.

Julian's Piña Colada Cake
The few ingredients for both are pretty easy to come by (as they have to be in the islands) and the preparation is fast. I usually make the cake portion while I'm making dinner or just after. Then it sits in the refrigerator allowing the flavors to meld. Ideally allow either cake to sit for 3 hours or more (24 is just fine too). If you feel like living on the wild side, sprinkle either with a little flavored rum. For example, use pineapple or coconut run on the Piña Colada version or strawberry rum on the Strawberry version. I prefer Cruzan rum whenever in the Caribbean.

Piña Colada Refrigerator Cake

This cake, to replicate the flavors of the national drink of Puerto Rico, is made with two types of coconut, and two types of pineapple to give it a great Caribbean flavor blend. Make sure you purchase the coconut cream (often found either in the juice or cocktail mix isles of your grocer), and do not substitute coconut milk or water.

Julian's Piña Colada Cake
1 Pineapple Supreme boxed cake mix
    3 eggs, 1 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil per package instructions
1-15 ounce can cream of coconut (below)
1-20 ounce can crushed pineapple in syrup
1-8 ounce container Cool Whip Whipped Topping
1-8 ounce bag shredded sweetened coconut

Bake the cake per the package directions. Remove from the oven. Open the cream of coconut and stir. Using a large fork make holes all over the cake. Pour the cream of coconut evenly over the cake. Let cool on the counter. When room temperature cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Strain the crushed pineapple to remove excess liquid. Stir into the Cool Whip. Spread on the top of the chilled cake. Sprinkle the shredded coconut over the cake evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours more. Cut and serve.

Spreading the Topping

Strawberry Refrigerator Cake

For this cake you can use fresh or frozen strawberries. I've used both and really there seems to be no benefit to using fresh. But if you have them on-hand and cleaned and sugared, feel free to use them.

Julian's Strawberry Cake
1 Strawberry Supreme boxed cake mix
    3 eggs, 1 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil per package instructions
2-16 ounce packages frozen strawberries (sliced or whole)
1/2 cup sugar
1-3.4 ounce package vanilla instant pudding
  1 cup cold milk (half the amount the package suggests)
1-8 ounce container Cool Whip Whipped Topping
Chopped pecans (optional)

Poking Large Holes in the Strawberry Cake
Bake the cake per the package directions. Remove from the oven. In a small sauce pan, add the strawberries and the sugar. Cook while stirring over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the strawberries are soft, 3-5 minutes. Let both strawberries and cake cool until just warm to the touch.  

Using a blender or food processor, pulse the strawberry mixture until they are finely chopped but some chunks remain. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, make holes all over the cake. Pour the strawberry mixture evenly over the cake and assist as necessary with getting it to move down into the holes.  

Spread Carefully to Avoid Mixing the Toppings
Mix the the instant pudding with only 1 cup of milk following the package directions. Fold the pudding into the Cool Whip until well mixed. Carefully spread over the cake, sprinkle with the chopped nuts (optional) and cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or over night.  Cut and serve.

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