Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Strawberry summer cake.


The dorm is a ghost town. Slowly but surely, everyone dwindled away after finals, leaving only five of us left here. Technically, I should be gone myself, but I got my stay extended by helping out at one of the school's convocations - hooray for not being homeless for a week before my sublet! Still, the halls are undeniably and uncharacteristically devoid of people and their sounds. I have work to keep me busy during the daytime, but I'm not gonna lie - it's a little lonely around here.


But cakes covered in strawberries and sugar do good things for the soul, especially when you've got a grocery-store container AND a farmer's market container of sweet, juicy strawberries that simply can't go to waste. That thing Deb said about the strawberries turning into "puddles of jam" and your apartment (or dorm, in my case) smelling like you just planted a strawberry patch in your kitchen? Yep, it's all true. I only had light brown sugar on hand instead of the white it calls for, but I honestly think it made the result all the more moist, chewy and delicious. Plus, it didn't overflow in my 9-inch cake round like the recipe said it might! A success all around.


I don't have many words for this entry, but I implore you to make this cake, especially if you need a little bit of summer sunshine (and strawberry-stained fingertips) in your life.


P.S. I apologize for the quality of these photos - my photographer has fled home for the summer, and I'm left to fend for myself with my phone camera (I'd use my point-and-shoot, but I left my charger at home last time I was there). At least our sublet should have better lighting.

Strawberry Summer Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Martha Stewart

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pie plate/cake round (note: I used margarine because someone left a bunch of it untouched in the floor refrigerator, but use what you prefer!)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar (note: this is where I used brown) plus 2 tablespoons (for sprinkling on the berries before the cake bakes)
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk (note: I used skim)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved (note: I didn't use any specific measurements here, I just kept cutting my berries until they were gone)

Preheat oven to 350F and butter your pie plate/cake round.
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together using an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add in dry mixture gradually until smooth.
Pour into prepared pie plate/cake round. Arrange your strawberries on the top of the batter - try to keep them in one layer. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the berries.
Bake cake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 325F and bake until cake is golden brown and tester comes out clean (save for the strawberry goo), about 50-60 minutes (note: mine was done in just about 50). Allow cake to cool in pan.

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