Right around this time, every year, I get this sinking feeling that summer is ending. I mean, it is, obviously. But I really start to feel at the end of August: when all of the back to school sales are over because schools are actually in session; when you start to see pumpkins growing in gardens; when boots are appearing in store fronts; and saddest of all, when summer produce starts to fade away.
So for the past couple of weeks, during my weekly trip to the farmers market, I’ve been trying to keep a positive attitude about the gradual disappearance of the corn and watermelon. I’m ready to get my fall flavors on, I tell myself! But then, last week, all of a sudden, out of the blue, the farmers market was selling strawberries! The same strawberries that typically have a season until mid June! I haven’t seen these guys since spring! Cute, little itty bitty strawberries that just had ohh so much flavor! Best ever.
What does this mean! Well, I think an argument could be made for climate change. But let’s just say that summer wants to hold on for just a bit longer. At least long enough for me to make this delicious cake. This seriously is one of my most favorite cakes: it’s simple, sweet and highlights the fruit. It’s delicious with strawberries, which is my fruit of choice for this cake, but really, you can use anything you want. Especially because, apparently, summer lives on.
Summer Strawberry Cake (adapted from here)
6 tablespoons 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 sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons raw sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 or 10-inch pie plate. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl. Mix together milk, egg and vanilla into a separate bowl.
Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and 1 cup sugar for 3-4 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Reduce the speed and beat in milk and egg mixture.
Reducing the speed of the mixer to low, gradually beat in the flour mixture until it’s well incorporated. You may have to use a wooden spoon at the end. Pour into the prepared pie plate. Arrange the strawberries decoratively, cut side down, on cake batter, gently pushing in the strawberries. Sprinkle the raw sugar on top of strawberries.
Bake cake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour to 1 hour, 30 minutes. Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack.