Fresca (Recipes: Fresca cake, salad, and a cocktail)
When we were in college, my best friend Joyce and I went on a Fresca®-and-tuna-sandwich diet.
Two weeks later, we'd each lost a couple of pounds and gained a life-long addiction to the grapefruit-flavored sugar-free soda.
Last week, in a post about food gifts for food lovers, I wrote that Fresca did not meet the test for a pantry item, though I drink it every day and always have copious amounts in my refrigerator, because it's not used as an ingredient in creating other dishes.
I was wrong.
Thanks to one of my favorite bloggers, T.W. Barritt of Culinary Types, who sent me three recipes that call for it, I'm considering adding my favorite beverage -- the favorite of both LBJ and Ainsley Hayes -- to The Perfect Pantry.
Since it hit the market in 1966, through six bottling redesigns, four changes of sugar-free sweetener, and one major flavor reformulation, I've been a Fresca drinker. However, I've only used Fresca as an ingredient one time before this week, and it didn't go well.
So, friends, I need your help to make this important decision. Here are the three recipes. I did make the cake, with a simpler lemon glaze; and if I were a drinker, I'd surely have tried the cocktail.
For now, Fresca remains in limbo, always in the fridge, but not quite in The Perfect Pantry.
Are you a Fresca lover? Do you cook or bake with Fresca?
FRESCA® cake with maraschino cherry frosting
Adapted from a recipe from T.W. Barritt. I substituted a simple glaze for the maraschino cherry frosting and cut back on the sugar, and, to my great delight (and total surprise), the cake was moist, fluffy, delicious, and not the least bit pink. Serves 10-12.
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/3 lb butter
5 oz vegetable shortening
4 large eggs
2 cups sifted cake flour
4-1/2 oz Fresca soda
2/3 tsp baking powder
2/3 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp grated lemon zest (I used the zest of one Meyer lemon)
2 tsp grated lime zest (zest of 1 lime)
Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 9- or 10-inch round cake pan with baking spray.
In a Kitchenaid-type stand mixer, cream together sugar, butter, and shortening. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add flour and Fresca alternately. Add baking powder, and when mixture is fully creamed, add vanilla and fruit zests. Pour batter into the pan, and bake 1 hour, or until cake tester comes out clean.
Lemon glaze: cook 1/3 cup granulated sugar with 1/3 cup lemon juice (or substitute half Fresca, half lemon or lime juice) over low heat until sugar dissolves. Drizzle over the cake.
Or, make this maraschino frosting:
2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp Maraschino cherry juice
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
10 Maraschino cherries, chopped, or gumdrops
Mix all ingredients except cherries and beat constantly while heating in top of double boiler. When thoroughly mixed, thick, and spreadable, frost cake. Decorate top of cake with chopped Maraschino cherries or gumdrops.
GIN AND FRESCA COCKTAIL
1 ounce gin
1 ounce Fresca
Combine in cocktail shaker with ice and strain into glass. Makes one serving.
2 small boxes sugar-free lemon Jell-O
12 oz Fresca
1 can crushed pineapple in juice (large can)
1 medium size container of Cool Whip
Drain pineapple, reserving juice. In a 13x9 glass dish, dissolve Jell-O in 2 cups of boiling water. Stir in Fresca and 4 oz of pineapple juice. Let the Jell-O soft set, either in the freezer or the refrigerator. Stir the Jell-O with a whisk and then add the drained crushed pineapple. Fold in the Cool Whip. Cover and refrigerate until set.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry: