The smell of fresh baked vanilla cake filled the air. Sally pulled the two round cake pans out of the oven and set the cakes aside to cool. It was a recipe she found in an old cook book.

She picked up the container of fresh strawberries they picked at the u-pick yesterday and pulled out the prettiest berries. She rinsed them off, patted them dry, and set them aside. Then she took the rest of them and poured them into the colander, rinsed them thoroughly then set the colander on a towel to drain.

Sally then pulled out a sharp paring knife and went to work hulling and quartering a bulk of the berries, then tossed the berry quarters into a bowl nearby. She poured sure-jell, sugar, and the quartered berries into a large pot on the stove. The mixture cooked down and thickened, filling the house with the smell of strawberry fields.

Once the berries finished cooking, about fifteen minutes later, she set the mixture aside to cool. Freezer jam containers stood by, ready to receive the luscious preserves just cooked up. She snuck a spoonful once it cooled just enough to handle; it tasted close to her granddad’s recipe.

Next she took the room temperature butter she set out earlier and powdered sugar along with the Madagascar vanilla and set it by the mixer. She whipped the butter, then slowly added in the powdered sugar. She added in the vanilla when it was time and finished whipping them together to make a beautiful buttercream frosting.

By the time she had all the components ready, the cakes had cooled. She pulled out a cake stand, covered a cardboard base with foil, then set it with the first layer on the stand. Next she leveled the top of the first cake, placing the crumbs into a side bowl.

She spooned some of the frosting into a piping bag and carefully built a dam along the edge of the first layer of cake. Then she poured some of the preserves which were cooled down into a small bowl and then spooned from the bowl some of the preserves onto the center of the cake. Sally spread the preserves on the cake until they covered the top completely to the icing edge. She then inverted the second layer out to a separate plate and leveled that layer, then carefully stacked it on the first.

She turned her attention to the fresh made preserves which remained, pouring them into the containers sitting nearby and sealing them. Once they cooled down a little more, one would go in the fridge, while the other into the freezer for later. Now on to ice the cake.

She picked up the piping bag and generously covered the top then the sides of the cake with icing. Next she carefully smoothed out the icing. She switched out the tip of the piping bag to a decorative tip then piped a scalloped edge along the bottom of the cake where it met the platter.

She took the the beautiful strawberries she set aside and placed them randomly atop the cake, leaving an area to scribe a small message. She then took a large dollop of remaining icing and placed it in a bowl and mixed in a little food coloring. She placed this icing into another piping bag fitted with a small tip then with it wrote atop the cake ‘Happy Birthday!

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