This is the month for parties, graduations, wedding showers, patio parties, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, and so it goes.

Considering this month, I decided it was time to revisit an idea that came to me nearly 20 years ago for a special angel food cake creation.

What is so special about this angel food cake?

It isn't that I make it from scratch, because I don't.

I use the one-bowl Betty Crocker cake mix.

I discovered this creation while I was planning a "Cooking with Wine" demo for the Downtown Farmer's Market around the time of Colorado Mountain Winefest.

I was sitting at the computer in my kitchen, making a list of recipes and ideas. It just so happened that an angel food cake mix was staring at me from the counter, waiting to be used for a birthday cake I planned to make for an angel food cake lover.

An idea popped into my head ... but wait. Would it work? Should I chance making a flop?

In the end, I had to try my idea: substituting wine for the water.

Bravely, I got out the mix and substituted Merlot for the 1 1/4 cups water.

It worked! The color was gorgeous and the taste was great. The texture was a bit different, but still good.

I topped it with a special whipping cream — I added a little brown sugar and a tablespoon or so of Merlot when the cream was about half whipped.

If wine worked, why not juiced fresh fruit? I had cantaloupe, so tried that next, then watermelon and raspberries. All were good.

I found that not all fruit juices work and that the fruit needs to be ripe and have good flavor.

Some give the cake a more subtle taste than others, but all are beautiful.

Not Your Everyday  Angel Food Cake

1 box Betty Crocker angel food cake mix

1 1/4 cup juiced fruit or Merlot.

To frost cake:

Whipping cream or whipped topping (large container)

Fresh strawberry flowers (to decorate the cake)

Green decorating gel (for strawberry flowers)

Follow directions on box mix, and be sure to use the high altitude method and appropriate temperature for light or dark pans.

Substitute blended fruit juice or wine for water. Tip: The stronger tasting wines work best. But for a lighter taste, use 1 cup Merlot and 1/4 cup water. Another tip: Make sure you have juice and not pulp, or thick juice. Fruit must be ripe and delicious.

When cake is cooled, frost with whipped topping, decorate with strawberry flowers.

To make strawberry flowers: Wash berries, and do a zig/zag design around middle of strawberry to create the flowers, use tip half for flowers, the stem half to place around bottom of cake.

Use green decorating gel for flower stems.

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