Just Because … Strawberry Cake

I am craving a farmer’s market. Sadly, these things don’t open in Minnesota for another month. This summer’s CSA boxes don’t start arriving until June.

sigh

The problem is that it actually feels like springtime here. Days full of sunshine and warmth. The trees are starting to get their greens back. People are on their bicycles. So where are the markets and the fresh vegetables? Right now, I would be satisfied with planting my window herb garden. But it’s nearly impossible to do even that.

Last week I made a strawberry cake. Just because. Bright berries (from who knows where) were on sale at the market. I immediately bought two pounds despite knowing that a single girl like myself couldn’t possibly get through all of them. So into a cake they went. And the cake went to lab. All I brought home was a pie pan full of crumbs, so I am calling it a success.

I found the recipe over at Smitten Kitchen. And fell in love for this cake. Quick, easy and fun to make. It’s not fancy, but when you are dealing with strawberries it doesn’t need to be. The dough has a biscuit-like quality to it and puffs up like pillows when the strawberries are nestled on top. Think strawberry shortcake with the strawberries baked in (or the Rhubarb Cobbler Cake I made last summer). And the colors – oh my!

Please don’t forget the slightly sweetened whipped cream … just because.

Strawberry Summer Cake
from Smitten Kitchen
**********
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound (450 grams) strawberries, hulled and halved
 
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
**********

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch pie pan or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 3/4 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 pie plate. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries (Do this! It will make the the top of the cake crispy in the most lovely way.). 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.

 

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