Strawberry Cake - Summertime Goodness

It's kind of like a scone, but not as dense. Or, it's rather like shortcake, but sweeter. It could even be compared to a regular white cake, except fluffier and with a bit of crust to it. Let's face it, there're really nothing to compare it to! It's a strawberry cake, which is a cake with strawberries in it (not to be confused with strawberry flavored cake).

My grandmother had made this years ago, but I didn't have a recipe. I remember it from when I was really young, probably under 6 years old. My grandparents had a vast farm in northeastern Montana and I would usually spend a couple of weeks at the farm with them. Grandma did not cook anything fancy and Grandpa was more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy. They lived a good and simple life with good and simple food, including desserts. Strawberry cake is one of those good and simple desserts!

Grandma passed away 3 years ago and I don't know who ended up with her cookbooks. I'm thinking my uncle has them. I should check on that. So, I searched and found this Martha Stewart recipe. It wasn't exactly the same, so I played with it a couple of times and found that the difference was that Grandma used lemon extract instead of vanilla. I could remember that fresh citrusy flavor. Also, she would use raw sugar (turbinado sugar) sprinkled on top. Grandma would swipe the little brown packets at the diner in town and save them for the strawberry cake.  One other thing...Martha made this round.  Nope, it was square in Grandma's kitchen because pies are round and everything else is square.  Isn't it odd what we remember?

Enough of this stroll down memory lane! Let's get onto a great summertime desert!

Here's a peek at the finished product.

It's a light cake that bakes around those beautiful strawberries, like the strawberries are being hugged.  So, let's start with the strawberries!




I purchased a 1 pound container of them which I cleaned and hulled.  Then, cut about 1/2 of them in half (to be used in the cake).  The rest I sliced up to use on top.  There was seriously some beautiful strawberry redness in that bowl.  A bowl that was my Grandmas from the above story.  That made me happy.

Very happy.


First thing that I do is sift the flour, salt and baking powder together into a large bowl, then set that aside.  In you stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream your butter and sugar together.  Add the milk, lemon extract and egg.  Turn off the mixer and pour in about half of the flour mixter.  Mix on low for just a minute.  Add the rest of the flour and mix for another minute or so.  You want the batter completely moist and that's about it...don't over mix it!

Pour your cake batter into a 9x9 prepared baking dish.  Take your strawberries that are cut in half (not the slices) and place them on top...then push them down a bit (you know, so the get hugged by the batter). 


Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 325 and back for another 35-40 minutes.  A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean and the top should be firm and golden brown.

Remove this tasty treat and let it cool completely. 


Slice and serve with your extra strawberries (unless you ate those while this was baking, not that I've done that) and a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


I've also made this with blueberries which is equally delicious!  I haven't tried raspberries or blackberries (I would think they'd get too mushy).

Enjoy!  Please let me know if you make a different variety of this yummy cake!

Ingredients

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  • 6 Tablespoons of unsalted butter (softened)
  • 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 milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (don't use fresh squeezed lemons...too watery!)
  • 2 Tablespoons Raw or Turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/2 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish.  (I use the wrapper from the butter to do this.)
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Put butter and 1 cup sugar in mixing bowl.  Mix on medium speed about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; mix in egg, milk, and vanilla.  Mix for about 2 minutes until completely blended.
  4. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to buttered baking dish.
  5. Evenly arrange strawberries on top of batter.  
  6. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of raw sugar (turbinado sugar) over berries.
  7. Bake cake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake approximately 35-40 minutes, until cake is golden brown and firm.  (Toothpick inserted will come out clean...don't insert in a berry, though!)  Let cake cool in the pan.  Cut into slices and serve with sliced strawberries, whipped cream or ice cream.  Or, eat it all by itself!

Notes

Cake can be stored at room temperature, covered, for up to two days.  You can also store it in the refrigerator for up to five days.  Can be warmed in the microwave for about 15 seconds if you'd like it heated up.