It’s strawberry season and my family is so happy. Strawberries are my son’s favorite fruit, so I always stock up on them when it’s the prime season. This year, I went a little overboard and had way too many. That’s why I decided to try baking with fresh strawberries this time around. I’ve baked with fresh blueberries (blueberry pie bars) and fresh cherries (cherry pie; cherry bars) before, but never fresh strawberries. I decided to make this fresh strawberry cake because I thought it would be an elevated shortcake, and I was totally right.
I love recipes like this because they are so easy! The cake batter took maybe 10 minutes to put together. The original recipe called for hulling the strawberries, but I didn’t bother. I just cut off the tops and sliced them in half. The entire cake took no more than 15 minutes to put together. This fresh strawberry cake is really a perfect recipe for a summer get together or bbq because its so simple and a total crowd pleaser.
When you start to assemble your cake, you can do a round patter with the strawberries like I did, or you can do a more haphazard placement. I think my idea made the final cake look really pretty, but I think next time I might also do another layer of sliced strawberries underneath half of the batter and then add more batter and top again with strawberries. It was nice to have a big bite of strawberries, but I almost wished for more strawberries throughout the entire cake.
Although it doesn’t take long to make this cake, you do need to set aside about an hour for it to bake. The batter really puffs up, so I found the outsides were browning but the inside was still underdone. I probably pulled mine out just a little bit early, honestly. If you notice your edges getting too brown, you can cover the outer edge of the pan with foil to hood the edges so they don’t continue to brown. I actually love a crusty edge, so I was happy with the final product.
Overall, this is a really yummy cake and I am sure your family will love it. We topped ours with vanilla ice cream, but it would also be great with whipped cream. It really is an updated version of strawberry shortcake, but I think this fresh strawberry cake is even better.
Fresh Strawberry Cake
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine)
About 3/4 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a 9-inch cake pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, and beat on low speed until smooth. (Note: the batter will be thick.)
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula (if you use a square cake pan, the batter will only come about 3/4-inch up the sides of the pan — that’s ok). Arrange the strawberries on top, cut side down so that they completely cover the batter (the recipe calls for approximately 3/4 pound of strawberries; use more or less if necessary). Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the strawberries.
Bake for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F and bake until the cake is lightly golden and a tester comes out clean, about an hour. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack. Serve with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired. The cake can be stored at room temperature for several days, loosely covered.