Easy and simple to make, this beautifully tempting cake is moist, flavorful, and loaded with juicy strawberries.
While my first idea of a title for this cake was “Summer Cake”, we’re actually in the middle of a winter storm here, so I figured that might not be the best idea. Plus, although strawberries look like a refreshing summer treat and are, in fact, available through summer in many parts of the word, their peak season is during the winter in other areas.
If you’re one of those who wait for summer to get your hands on some fresh strawberries, then trust me – this cake is worth the wait. As much as I want to apologize for all my strawberry recipes and photos lately, I won’t because once summer arrives, you’ll be thanking me.
This strawberry cake really took me by surprise when I first tried it. It was love at first bite. It’s dense, but definitely not overly so, and is kind of melt-in-your-mouth moist, in part because of the fresh strawberries. The cake isn’t supposed to be tall, that way every bite has just the right amount of cake and strawberries. Just know that it works, and don’t be tempted to use a smaller and taller pan. Besides, as you can see, it’s absolutely beautiful with these dimensions.
The star of this cake is (obviously) the strawberries, and there are plenty of them, so use the sweetest and most delicious strawberries you can find. I mix them with a bit of lemon juice and sugar before topping them over the cake, just to give some extra flavor and sweetness. During baking, the strawberries will sink slightly, but not all the way to the bottom. You can arrange them on top however you like As you can see in the photos, the perfectionist in me like to arrange them symmetrically in circles.
This cake wasn’t originally flavored with lemon, but it tasted so much better once I tried it that I strongly suggest adding it. If you want to make it extra special, serve it with this vanilla sauce – it’s the easiest sauce ever, and it compliments the flavors well. Even a few more strawberries (mixed with a bit of lemon juice and sugar, of course) added on top or to the side of each slice is a great addition. Otherwise, serve with whipped cream or as-is, which means perfect.
- 1 1/2 cups (200g/7 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (175g/6.2 oz.) granulated sugar
- Lemon zest from ½-1 lemon
- 1/3 cup (75g/2.7 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 400 g/14 oz. fresh strawberries , hulled and halved
- Easy vanilla sauce , optional
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350F/180C. Grease a 10-inch pie dish, or a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, toss together 3/4 cup (150g) sugar and lemon zest until combined.
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and lemon-sugar mixture on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Occasionally scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the egg and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla extract. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until combined. Beat in heavy cream just until combined, followed by the rest of the flour mixture. Do not over mix. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
In another small bowl, toss strawberries with lemon juice and 2 tablespoons sugar, then arrange them cut-side down on top of the batter, being careful not to press them in.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 325F/160C and continue baking for 45-60 minutes, or until cake is golden brown, firm to the touch, and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake (and not into a juicy strawberry) comes out clean. If the top is browning too fast while baking, cover pan loosely with aluminum foil. Allow cake to cool completely on a wire rack.
Serve plain, with whipped cream, or with vanilla sauce.
Cake can be kept, covered, at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart