Last spring I waxed eloquent about the joys of strawberries, which are delicious in salads, smoothies and (of course!) home-canned jam. And, while I still encourage you to try all the crazy strawberry recipes out there, one after the other, the more realistic side of me knows it's just not possible at this time of year.
So today I'm going to keep it very simple with a recipe for strawberry cake that takes just a little time and uses ingredients you probably already have in your fridge and pantry. Chances are you have a graduation, shower or cookout to attend in the next couple of weeks, and instead of buying yet another overpriced package of pre-cut vegetables, you can bring this lovely, rustic dessert.
Here's what you'll need to get started:
- 4 cups (1 pound) strawberries
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
To prepare the strawberries, simply wash them and slice off the green tops (you can use a huller, but I find it more trouble than it's worth.) I actually used frozen strawberries for this recipe, so I dumped them in a colander and rinsed with cold water to thaw them slightly.
The batter goes together quickly, so preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you butter a standard-sized pie or cake pan with a tablespoon of the butter. Then combine the butter and almost all the sugar (save a tablespoon or so for the top) and beat until light and fluffy. This is a lot easier with a stand mixer, but can be done by hand too. Beat in the egg, then the milk and vanilla, and finally add the dry ingredients.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan (it should be a little thick, more like cookie dough than pancake batter) and arrange the strawberry halves on top, cut-side down. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, checking frequently; if the edges start to get crispy (this is more likely in a larger pan, like mine) turn down the heat a bit.
Allow to cool before serving, and enjoy. Happy spring!