Friday, June 24, 2011

a story on strawberries and strawberry cake

There is something quite nice about being raised a country gal. 

While there are many reasons as to why I adore local cities, and quite possibly, why I should relocate to within Philadelphia, I can't bring myself to actually pack up from the 'burbs. There is something reassuring about passing many, many local pastures and farmlands day after day, being close to my homegrown producers who provide exceptional lineups of fresh vegetables, fruits, honey, grass-fed beef, raw milk and much more.

This bring me to my initial reason of publishing this post: gardening. My family always had a large plot of land, which boasted with a hefty planting space packed with sweet corn, tomatoes, zucchinis, carrots, green beans, potatoes, etc. Excitingly for me, a strip of our summer-time garden was dedicated to planting strawberries, making the act of strawberry picking my favorite past time of the year.

Of course, I rarely made it inside with these speckled rubies and instead, sat dirtying my behind, as I sat cozily within the garden gorging on every ripe strawberry I laid my eyes on. Really, I had little to do with the garden other than the strawberry-associated aspects of it, and the rest of my family (I think?) was okay with this.

Sadly, I can't say that now I have my own strawberry picking plot, but each late May/early June, I still horde my fair share of this gem of a fruit, trying to craft the newest baked good that best highlights this seasonal favorite.

This year? I decided to opt for a simple, sophisticated strawberry cake, prepared in a shallow springform pan and adapted from Martha Stewart, as seen on Two Peas and Their Pod.

Strawberry Cake
Cook Time: 50-55 minutes
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top of cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease springform pan. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bow; set aside. 

Cream butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in egg, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix until well-combined.

Gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Arrange strawberry slices on top of batter. Sprinkle raw sugar over berries.

Bake cake 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 50-55 minutes. Let cool in pan. 

Serve. If storing, keep cake at room temperature, for up to two days.