Strawberry 7-up Cake

Despite the fact that cooking is very foreign to me, baking, however, is a tad more familiar.  I still remember baking muffins and creating desserts for my parents, ready to greet them with it as soon as they came home from work.  Of course, I got over that real quick and hadn’t really invested any time in the kitchen ever since.  Between cooking and baking, baking wins, hands down, for me anyway.  It may seem that I’m biased since I have a sweet tooth, but believe it or not, I’ve eaten less sweets since I’ve started baking!  Regardless, there’s just something about baking that I find so damn therapeutic.  Seriously.  So without further ado, my first attempt back into the baking world started with a strawberry 7-up cake that I found through Pinterest.

Strawberry 7-up Cake
(as seen from The High Heeled Hostess)

1 (18 ounce) box strawberry cake mix
3 eggs
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/4 cup water
1 cup 7-up or Sprite
1 (3 ounce) box strawberry Jell-O
3/4 cup boiling water
2 -3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup cold water
3-4 cups fresh sliced strawberries
Cool Whip Topping, thawed

1.Set oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
2.  Mix ALL cake ingredients together in a bowl; beat well until smooth (about 3 minutes).
3.  Transfer cake batter to a prepared baking pan.
4.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cake tests done.
5.  Dissolve the jello powder completely in boiling water, with the sugar, then add in the COLD water; mix well.
6.  Poke holes all over cake with the end of a wooden spoon.
7.  Drizzle the jello over entire top of COOLED cake.
8.  Place the strawberries slices evenly over and covering all the cake.
9.  Refrigerate cake for 2 or more hours.
10.  Just before serving, top cake with Cool Whip topping.
My two cents:
This was my first time hearing of poke cakes and I tried several other poke cake recipes after that, which I’ll get into later.  This one was simple enough and I was craving strawberries at the time so I had to try it.  The concept of adding 7-up seemed odd to me but I realized later that I can attribute the cakes lightness to the 7-up.  However, it wasn’t completely light because the strawberry jello countered that and made the cake a little more dense.  Maybe the strawberries we picked weren’t sweet enough or we didn’t add enough sugar but I was missing the sweet factor a little bit — like I wanted more sweetness and oomph!  The cool whip does add something special to the cake so make sure NOT to omit this topping.  Would I make it again?  Probably not.  I don’t know.  I guess I expected a little more.
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