Strawberries are a sure sign of early summer.
And when those pale green gems become lush and red and ready to be picked, you better move fast. Peak strawberry season in the Pacific Northwest is short-lived. But while they’re abundant and perfectly ripened mid-June through mid-July, it sometimes seems like you can’t eat them fast enough.
This classic cake from Martha Stewart captures the essence of early summer and looks dramatic on the dessert table.
Plus, it calls a pound of strawberries, hulled and halved.
The batter, lightly flavored with vanilla, doesn’t overwhelm the strawberries, providing a kind of neutral base to highlight their juicy sweetness. The fruit also keeps the cake moist and gives it a simple and rustic but gorgeous appearance.
From Martha Stewart Living, June 2005
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pie plate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Put butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in egg, milk and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to buttered pie plate. Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down and as close together as possible. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries. Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack. Cut into wedges. Cake can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered, up to 2 days.
Yield: 1 (10-inch) cake