What do you do with 15 pounds of strawberries? Eat some, bake some, freeze some. This past weekend, I went strawberry picking, which is, of course, how I ended up with 15 pounds of these delicious little balls of nutrients. Berry picking is one of my favorite summer activities. First strawberries, then blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Strawberries are one of the more challenging berries to pick because they are so low to the ground, so you have to either kneel the whole time, or not mind a muddy butt. They don’t last more than a week in the fridge, so if you pick very many, you’ll end up having to freeze some. And that means hulling. Strawberries are pretty easy to hull with a good knife, but it takes a while. It took me an hour to hull about seven pounds.
So what did I do first with my sweet strawberry bounty? Ate a bunch, plain. And then? Made this cake. This strawberry summer cake is top notch. It’s easy to make, uses pantry staples, and is chock full of strawberries, using a full pound of the juicy little suckers. And it’s absolutely delicious. It tastes like strawberries. The vanilla batter isn’t too sweet and it perfectly complements the berries, which are piled on top of the batter before baking and then sprinkled with sugar. As the cake bakes, the strawberries sink into the batter, and the sugar on top helps the strawberries become jam-like: gooey, sweet, and strongly strawberry scented. This was my first time baking this cake, and I will be baking it again. Probably soon. Maybe to share with my coworkers, if I can stand to share.
For some tips on dealing with strawberries, click here.
Strawberry Summer Cake
From Deb at smittenkitchen.com, who adapted the recipe from Martha Stewart
Deb writes that subbing barley flour for half the all-purpose flour “is beyond delicious, adding a real depth to a deceptively simple cake.” I didn’t try this, but you certainly could. To do so, swap 3/4 cup or 94 grams all-purpose flour with 3/4 cup or 75 grams barley flour.
I don’t like my sweets to be overly sweet. So, as per Deb’s recommendations and some of the comments on her site, I reduced the sugar in the recipe by 2 tablespoons. This is reflected in the ingredient list below. However, do not reduce the amount of sugar sprinkled on top. It helps the berries take on a jam-like consistency.
This cake would be delicious with whipped cream, but it’s great on its own, too.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate
1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup (118 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 pound (450 grams) strawberries, hulled and halved
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch pie pan, 9-inch deep-dish pie pan, or 9-inch cake pan.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter and 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons (175 grams) sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. (I used my stand mixer.) Set aside the remaining 2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar. Mix in egg, milk, and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth. Do not over-mix.
4. Pour into prepared pie plate. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, very closely together on top of batter, overlapping to make them all fit. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.
5. Bake cake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes. (It took 65 minutes in my oven.)
6. Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into wedges.
Do ahead: This cake can be kept loosely covered at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Yield: 8 servings
My name is Hillary. This blog is about the everyday food I prepare in my kitchen, with tips and recipes for easy, wholesome, and diet friendly meals. I have been chanting "cheese please!" since I was a toddler, although lately I've cut back on dairy.