There haven’t been a lot of recipe posts here lately and for that I do give my apologies. There’s been a lot going on in the last couple of weeks – my birthday was amazing, Steve and I went on a whirlwind trip to Melbourne, I contracted a rather nasty cold, we moved offices to Kings Cross, and I’ve had a few downright baking disasters!
With so much happening, and with the chilly winter weather starting to get to me, I have been in a bit of a hibernation phase. I’ve been spending a lot of time at home, curled up in bed with a cookbook, or with my laptop keeping me warm while I re-watch some of my favourite TV shows. The much-needed downtime has been just what I needed to kick start my inspiration again.
Which is why, when I saw some gorgeous and fragrant Queensland strawberries, I snaffled them up immediately. They tasted lovely and sweet – a little reminder of spring is just what I needed to lift my mood.
I decided to use them in a simple yet stunning cake from Martha Stewart. The light batter puffed around the sweet fruit, and the raw sugar on top gave the cake a nice crackly crust. It was a lovely afternoon tea cake, served simply with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream and some more fresh strawberries.
This recipe would be a great starting point to try with other fruit too – I think that a mixture of berries, pears, apricots or even rhubarb would be delicious! You could even try playing around and mixing up the flours like Aran did in her beautiful version of this cake.
Another thing to note is that the original recipe called for a pie tin, but I used a normal spring-form cake tin and it worked fine. But whatever type of baking tin you decide to use, just be sure to grease it very well. I can’t wait to bake this cake again when the weather warms up, and it would be a lovely cake to take on a picnic! But in the meantime, it’s a nice little reminder that spring is just around the corner.
So tell me, readers, how do you shake the winter blues?
Recipe from Martha Stewart
Makes one 20cm cake
• 100g unsalted butter, softened
• 1 ½ cups plain flour
• 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup caster sugar
• 1 large egg
• ½ cup milk
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 500g strawberries, hulled and halved
• 2 tablespoons raw sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Butter a 20cm cake pan. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl.
Place butter and caster sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, and then mix in egg, milk and vanilla.
Reduce speed to low, and mix in the flour mixture in batches. Transfer batter to buttered cake tin. Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down and as close together as possible. Sprinkle raw sugar over berries.
Bake cake for 10 minutes, and then reduce oven temperature to 160°C (325°F). Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in cake tin on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and cut into wedges. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream if desired. Cake can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered, up to 2 days.