This past week has been a point of reflection. In the summer, I always try and take time to appreciate the beautiful weather, budding flowers and freshly-shorn green grass but the past few days in particular I find myself trying to be extra thankful for the little things I so often seem to take for granted. I’ve also always used baking as a way to try and bring joy into people’s lives and to put a smile on their face. And it’s during these times I crave the simpler things. No elaborate, flambéed, three-tiered, 7-step desserts. Just baked goods that put a smile on someone’s face and can be whipped up in a mere hour. This Strawberry Summer cake happens to be just that.
This cake celebrates one of my favorite parts of summer. The mounds upon mounds of fresh fruit I find myself gorging on the next few months. Don’t be fooled by it’s simplicity, when strawberries are at their best there is no better way to enjoy them than in this cake. It’s almost akin to a strawberry shortcake, except the strawberries turn to pools of almost jelly-like sweetness as a result. Do yourself a favor and this weekend when you find yourself wandering through the farmers market, pick yourself up a pound of these and dedicate them to this cake.
*recipe by 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 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound (450 grams) strawberries, hulled and halved
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 10-inch pie pan or a 9- or 10-inch springform or cake pan. The 10-inch would make a thinner cake than pictured.
- 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 pie plate. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer (though I had to overlap a few to get them all in). Sprinkle remaining tablespoon 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. (Gooey strawberries on the tester are a given.) Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into wedges. Serve with lightly whipped cream.