Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Time


     There is a bag of strawberries in my freezer. And every time I pull out the freezer drawer, it stares at me as if to ask: "What am I still doing in here while you are in the kitchen? Why the *bleep* (tis a foulmouthed strawberry bag) haven't you used me yet???" For the past few days I have stared back at it sadly. I have made lame excuses. "I am sorry strawberries, I just got back from work." or "I am sorry strawberries, it is too hot to move." or worst of all: "I am sorry strawberries, but I just don't feel like cooking." Since when did I turn into this person??? Today, the strawberries will not be ashamed of me.

     So, what did I do to make them happy and smiling again? (Sometimes, metaphors just keep going and its hard to know when to kill them....Forgive me Internet.) Well, I turned them into cake! Strawberry Cake. How delicious does that sound? And this was not any strawberry cake. It was not strawberries pureed into a cake or homemade strawberry jam (someday, I will tell you this story) to put into a cake, it was a cake dimpled with Huge Strawberry Halves. Yum.

     This cake was baked last night. Because I was in a foul mood, and the idea of a strawberry cake and making the strawberries happy was just too much goodness for me to deny. Also, I feel awful about my slow blogging pace. Must. Buck. Up. Anyway, last night I decided to make this cake. This morning, my mom had a meeting at home, where she was serving tea - and cake. If I go home from work to find out that my entire strawberry cake (not counting the giant piece I ate with my mom and brother shortly after it came out of the oven of course) is gone, I will be a not so happy blogger.

     But, how could I blame anyone who wanted to eat this entire cake. First of all, I didn't just put strawberries in it. I also put raspberries and blueberries (we had a frozen berry medley in the freezer). And I used brown sugar instead of all granulated sugar.

     It turned out so well. I told you I was in a foul mood, didn't I? I was letting there be lumps in my batter (only small lumps...) and I was making my little brother take all the pictures (isn't he great!!! Yay GS!), but this cake made me happy. Warm out of the oven, it tasted like summer. Like cobblers and crumbles and all those lovely desserts, like fruit and a touch of sweetness. It was just a cake, but it was a homey, not rich but comfortable, berry-ful cake. And best of all, it was so easy to make I could make another one TODAY. But of course I wouldn't...I think.

Strawberry Summer Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

6 tbsp Butter (or Smart Balance or margarine, i.e. what I used)
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 tbsp Granulated Sugar
1 Large Eggs
1/2 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup Mixed Frozen Berries

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F and butter a 9'' deep dish pie pan (or a regular 10'' pie pan if you have that). First, make sure your berries are defrosted if you are using frozen berries. Then, cut the strawberries in half lengthwise (as shown above). Next, in a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until it is pale and fluffy (it will take a while). Then, mix in the egg, milk, and vanilla until just combined. Add the bowl of dry ingredients slowly, mixing until the batter is smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Arrange the cut strawberries in the batter, cut side down, in a one-layer pattern. Fill in the gaps with the other berries, cut them if they are too big. Sprinkle the two tablespoons of granulated sugar over the berries. Place the pan in the oven at 350 degrees and bake for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 and bake the cake for another 50-60 minutes. It should be golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center should come out clean. Once it is baked, let it cool on a wire rack for five minutes, then cut it into wedges and serve!

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