Look Out Summer, Here Comes the Melon

You wouldn’t know it by the last few days…but all the warmth and sun had me dreaming of the impending hot summer weather. Having lived through 3 winters, I say “Bring. It. On.” Seriously. I cannot wait.  I mean, I’m sure by day 10 of a 90 degree with 100% humidity streak I’ll be cursing myself and this post, but as of now, I am counting the days.

Summer makes me think of picnics, grilling, and being outside with family and friends for special occasions; be they holidays, birthdays, or just-because days. What better food to celebrate with than watermelon. I love watermelon. It’s delicious, sweet, filling, pink AND green. I mean, what could be better?

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But, I also love cake, which is also a highly celebratory food. I mean it’s at weddings, birthdays, graduations…even funerals! (Now don’t get me wrong, I know funerals can be sad, but I mean they can be celebratory in the sense that the person who passed was awesome and those left behind are remembering that.)

So, with watermelon on my mind, and it being a dear friend’s birthday (celebration! A whole quarter century!), I decide it was a sign from the impending warm weather gods that I should make something with full fat–cake. And I did. Oh yes, I did.

Here’s a little known fact: Sometimes, I actually do make cake with butter and eggs. Because, well, we all deserve a cheat day.

I made watermelon cake.

This is infamous in my family; it is actually brought up at EVERY family occasion and nothing has yet topped it.

Years before I was born, my mother made a watermelon cake for one of her sister’s birthday. It was beautiful. It looked perfect, it cut beautifully. And when the family took their first bites, they discovered something. It was the worst cake, in the history of bad cakes. I’ve been told its tastes ranged from sand, to dirt, to something indescribable that sounds like BLAH. Turns out, my mom followed an incorrect recipe. She has yet to retry it, to see what went wrong, but the family still doesn’t let her forget. But, hey, what are families for?

So, I took it upon myself to clear the Watermelon Cake’s name. Granted, I used a completely different recipe than the one my  mom used, but that’s ok.

I got the idea of the cake from Pinterest. Who doesn’t love Pinterest? Seriously. But, I didn’t like that the recipe I found from the Bird on a Cake blog used a boxed cake mix. I don’t mean to stick my nose in the air, I just feel like more care and love goes into a completely homemade cake. That might just be me. So, feel free to follow the Bird on a Cake recipe completely. And check them out, there are some awesome cakes on there. Pretty!

So, I found a fluffy white cake recipe that I adapted from Cake Merchant, which was delicious and awesome (and full of butter, eggs, and sugar).

Below is my mishmashed recipe. It tasted really yummy, and was the prettiest cake I’ve made to date, which is an accomplishment. I hope you enjoy it!

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Watermelon Cake

Ingredients

For the cake:

6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup milk
3 teaspoons  pure vanilla extract
4 cups  sifted cake flour
1 cup sugar
1.5 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons  unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
1.5 boxes of watermelon Jell-O powder (reserve the rest for the frosting)
1/2 cup watermelon puree
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
red food coloring

Watermelon Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons watermelon puree
reserved watermelon Jell-O powder
red and green food coloring

Instructions

For the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 3 7-inch round cake pans
  2. In a bowl, combine the egg whites, 1/4 cup of the milk, and the vanilla extract.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, jello, and salt. Using the paddle attachment, beat on low for 30 seconds to combine.
  4. Add the butter and remaining milk and beat on low until moistened. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and for 90 seconds.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the egg mixture in 3 separate additions, beating on medium after each addition.
  6. If you are using the red food coloring to make the cake pink, do so until the desired color is reached.
  7. If using chocolate chips, place them in a sealing plastic bag with 2 tsp flour. Shake. This coats the chocolate chips in flour and keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cake, making it look more like watermelon seeds. Once the seeds are coated in flour, fold them into the  cake batter.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the 3 pans.
  9. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool the cakes on wire racks for 10-15 minutes. After they are slightly cooled, run a knife around the edge of the pan, and invert the cakes onto the wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth and well-combined.
  2. Beat in watermelon puree.
  3. Gradually add sugar and Jell-O, beating until smooth.
  4. Color 1/3 of the frosting green, color the remaining 2/3 the same color as the cake

Frost to resemble a watermelon. Use references. Once the frosting is done, sprinkle the top with chocolate chips. I was pleasantly surprised by the combination of watermelon and chocolate. I think you will be, too.

Notes: This recipe made 3 single layer cakes. Combine them as you see fit. I did 1 double layer and 1 single layer.

All in all, the entire recipe served, roughly, 18 with a modest slice.

I was recently asked to include nutrition information with my recipes, and I am trying. I found an interesting recipe analyzer that I’ve been using. If anyone has a better one they use, let me know. But I’ve been having pretty good luck with this one. (Even if it does make me go, oh dear…I’m eating that.)

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 138 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories

470
Calories from Fat

157
% Daily Value*
Total Fat

17.4g
27%
Saturated Fat

11.0g
55%
Trans Fat

0.0g
Cholesterol

48mg
16%
Sodium

247mg
10%
Total Carbohydrates

73.2g
24%
Dietary Fiber

0.9g
4%
Sugars

51.3g
Protein

6.1g
Vitamin A 12% Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 9% Iron 3%
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