I'm also thinking cake and mixes right now, brainstorming a pretty cake (cupcakes?) for dd for this weekend mini-party. I have one of the Cake Doctor books, and there are 2 strawberry cake recipes in there. Her concept is, buy the mix for convenience, but "doctor" it to make it more interesting or homey. She suggests adding chopped fresh strawberries and their juice to a plain white cake mix, and also a package of strawberry gelatin. Sounds cool.
But then... .. I let myself see some strawberry frosting recipes with photos online that are so pretty. (Cake Doctor lady's photos are difficult to see, so don't inspire you much.) So I wonder how far I'll go with this scratch decorated cake business. If the house is a complete mess and I don't get a present purchased, but the cake is very creative, that's the important thing, right....?