Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Strawberry Summer Cake

strawberry summer cake lemon smitten kitchen
Strawberry Summer Cake
Inspired by another baker friend, I bookmarked this strawberry cake recipe to try out since strawberries were on sale recently.  I'm usually not a fan of baking cakes, particularly because it's hard to taste test a cake before serving it to others.  Previous times I've shown up somewhere bearing cake with a missing piece, or I just give the disclaimer that I hoped it turned out okay since I didn't get to taste it yet.  I guess a good comfort level among friends doesn't hurt.  Thankfully, everyone liked this cake and agreed that it was a great recipe - flavorful yet not too sweet, with a texture more dense and crumbly than a regular yellow cake.  I added lemon zest to the batter and I think it added a nice touch.

Broken chunky butter egg milk mixture
Ugly broken butter mixture
When I was doing step 3 of this recipe (mixing egg/milk/vanilla to the creamed butter/sugar), a disconcerting thing happened: my butter mixture "broke" and separated into ugly small clumps and liquid.  The first time around I thought I messed it up - maybe the butter/egg/milk was too cold, too warm, too mixed.  I ended up setting aside the chunky butter mixture and started from scratch again, only to get the same result even though I let the butter,egg, and milk sit out at room temperature longer.  The second time around, I just proceeded with the recipe and the batter came together and turned out smooth after adding in the dry ingredients.  I wish I knew beforehand that it would all be okay, so I hope someone else can learn from my experience!  I'd also suggest not laying out your strawberries like mine.  Since they were all pushed up against the walls of my pan, their jammy consistency meant they stuck to the sides of the springform pan.
Summer strawberry cake jammy strawberries dessert
Strawberry Summer Cake with jammy strawberries
On another note, the springform pan I used has gotten many comments since it is actually glass bottomed.  This means you can cut your cake directly on the pan bottom without having to shimmy it off!  The one I have is many years old and I can't seem to find it online anywhere, but this one is very similar.

Strawberry Summer Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup (150 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup (118 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1 pound (450 grams) strawberries, hulled and halved
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and lightly flour 9-inch springform or cake pan. I used a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. 
  3. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 3/4 cup sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add in egg, milk, vanilla and lemon zest and mix until just combined.  Butter mixture may "break" but it will be okay.  
  4. Add dry mixture gradually to butter mixture, mixing until just smooth.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter.  Lay them as closely as possible in a single layer. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.
  6. Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake until golden brown and a tester (aka toothpick) comes out dry, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into wedges and serve.
Note: Recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9x13 pan.