Yup, it’s strawberry season. And if you’re like me, you’re ambling through the farmers market every weekend, breathing in that fresh Sunday morning air and feeling a tiny bit self-satisfied that you’re the kind of person that shops at farmers markets. And then, bam, before you know it, you’re standing in front of the strawberry stand. They look extra red, shiny, and just as perfectly imperfect as a good farmers market strawberry should be. Ahh, what the heck, you think. Why not buy three baskets for ten dollars? It’s organic, local, and this will be my good deed for the day.
Unfortunately this story doesn’t usually have a happy ending. Not but three days later, when you’re barely made a dent in your strawberry supply, you notice they’re starting to look a tad fuzzy, soft, and sad. (This, by the way, is retribution for not buying the hardier supermarket strawberry, you weakling, you.) And you start putting strawberries in everything (cue my previous post on strawberry yogurt parfaits), hoping against hope that you can salvage most of what’s left, but secretly knowing it’s a lost cause.
Enter this cake. The quintessential spring/summer cake, this is the perfect vehicle for those over ripe, slightly squishy strawberries in your fridge. In fact, it’s actually preferred that they be that way. You need a whole pound of them. Are you excited yet? The berries melt into the cake and create little jammy puddles in the golden crust. And yes, that tastes just as good as it sounds.
I’ve made this cake many times now over the years, and on my most recent run through, I took the recipe suggestion and subbed part of the regular flour for barley flour. It was a revelation. But for those of you unwilling to buy extra flours just for a single recipe, rest assured that the results are amazing even with your friendly neighborhood all purpose flour.
Strawberry Summer Cake
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (can swap 3/4 cup or 94 grams all-purpose flour with 3/4 cup or 75 grams of barley flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 10 inch springform pan or pie pan.
Whisk flour or flours, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.
Pour into prepared pan. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.
Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into wedges. Serve with lightly whipped cream.