It’s clearly fall in my part of Toronto. The vines on the buildings across the street are starting to change colour, it’s raining a cold rain outside, and yesterday it was so cloudy, the lake disappeared. I’d pretend to be nostalgic for summer, but I’m not – I am too excited for fall foods, fall clothes, and fall walks through the leaves. But because I appreciate that not everyone is as ready as I am to move into the new season, here is a cake that sings summertime while sneakily relying on ingredients you can get all year round (we owe you one, greenhouses).
Think light fluffy vanilla cake, studded with berries and crusted lightly with sugar. Don’t you want some? It’s a strawberry cake by name and not by necessity – I added blueberries and would have put raspberries in too if there had been space in the pan. That unfussiness is key for rainy days like today – if you keep frozen fruit, this is a cake you could put together from your pantry, fridge & freezer without having to run out to the grocery store. For the dairy-avoidant bakers or eaters, this cake could be made lactose-free with margarine & soy milk.
End-of-Summer Strawberry Cake
slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
6 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb strawberries, hulled & halved, or the equivalent of mixed berries
1. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder & salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter with 1 cup of sugar. 3 minutes later, it should be light & fluffed. Add egg, milk & vanilla, beating until just combined. With a spoon or spatula, gradually fold in dry ingredients until smooth.
3. Pour batter into a greased pie plate or springform cake pan. Press strawberries, cut-side down, into the batter. Arrange other berries around them. Sprinkle with reserved 2 tbsp of sugar, and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees, and continue baking for 50-60 minutes, or when a tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack before slicing.