Strawberries and Cream Cake

There have been moments – many of them, if I’m to be honest – when I sit down to write a blog post and am not entirely sure how to begin or what to say. This current moment we find ourselves in is, of course, one of those times. In Washington state today, many businesses are closed to honor a day of silent protest. I’m up here at my desk still working, tying up loose ends before we leave for a family road trip this weekend – sitting here trying to decide what to tell you about cake. Do you need to hear about cake today? Do you need to hear about it from me? We’re full of questions right now about how to share, what to share, and when to share it. And on this rainy Friday as I’m hustling to get laundry done and figure out how to keep the kids occupied in the car for two days, we’re finding a lot of solace in little slices of this strawberry cake. So I’m sharing it today, thinking you might, too.

For those of you that may not know, I head up marketing at Simply Recipes. As such, I was tasked with fielding the email responses we received after posting a statement supporting the Black Lives Matter protests in our communities. And boyyyyyyy, guys, those emails could’ve been more gracious. I did respond to one woman who wrote a particularly awful one, asking her if she realized a human being was on the other end reading. She didn’t write back.

The majority of people, when it comes down to it, were angry because they felt we should ‘stay in our lane.’ Does a food website need to be political? Why are you talking about donating to black people right now, stick to recipes! I suppose I shouldn’t have been so surprised by this response, but I was. Is this a time to just keep our heads down and stay in our lane? Imagine if everyone just … stayed in their lane and never spoke up or broke convention or questioned authority or the way things are typically done?

Maybe it’s too simplistic, but a lot of the progress we’ve made in our country in terms of “equal” rights, women voting, and recognition for our LGBTQ and non-binary community can be directly attributed to folks not staying in their lanes. Let’s do more of it.

I’m taking Between the World and Me on our road trip, and hoping we have a few slices of this strawberry cake left by the time Sunday rolls around. The kids have new water shoes, and Sam and I are looking forward to a change of scenery after months of staring at our own walls.

If you, too, are in the mood for a cake that travels well, this one is the perfect marriage of sturdy yet super tender and even better the second day. It smells of sweet strawberries from the fresh puree you fold into the batter, and the frosting is dye-free thanks to the ground up dehydrated strawberries. While all of that sounds complex, it’s actually a super simple cake. And while the frosting is pretty and all, it’s honestly perfect without it, too – a simple dusting of powdered sugar on top and you’d be quite happy.

Strawberries and Cream Cake

Strawberries and Cream Cake

  • Yield: 8-10 slices
  • Prep time: 45 mins
  • Cook time: 50 mins
  • Inactive time: 30 mins
  • Total time: 2 hrs 5 mins

There are a few components to this cake but all of them can be done in advance. I recommend making your puree the day before, so you can give it ample time to cool in the fridge. The cake can also be made a day ahead of frosting – just wrap it and store at room temperature. And for the frosting, freeze dried berries are more common these days and can be found at stores like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or online at Thrive Market.

Ingredients

Cake:

1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled
1 cup (115g) almond flour
3/4 cup (90g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (265g) unrefined cane sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Frosting:

6 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (75g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 cup (13g) freeze-fried strawberries, finely ground

Instructions

Make strawberry puree: Place strawberries in a food processor or high-speed blender and puree. In a non-reactive medium saucepan, warm the puree over medium heat until it reduces to about 1/2 cup. This typically takes 20-30 minutes.  Cool completely. If making the day before, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the cake: Butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan. Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, all purpose flour, baking powder and salt.

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using hand beaters), whisk together eggs and sugar until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in butter, sour cream, vanilla and ½ cup cooled strawberry puree. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until combined.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, and bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes.  Slide a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen and unmold the cake. Place on a plate and allow it to cool completely.

Make the frosting: Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or hand beaters, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and freeze dried berries until combined. Set aside.

Once cool, spread a layer of frosting on top of the cake – serve room temperature.

 

Comments

  1. Barbara Bennett

    Hi Megan,
    I haven’t made the cake yet as it’s 6 am in NY state and I’m just seeing it. But I can’t wait! It looks delicious.
    I want to say I So appreciate your comments in this post. I honestly don’t think there’s anything harder than being brave enough to get Out of your lane.
    What You do matters to Your kids as well as everyone else. I see that now as I watch the ways my adult daughters negotiate this time.
    Life is pretty empty if you just go along and only send money but not actually show up to the causes you believe in. And actually Change lanes if you want to Change at all. It’s never too late to learn that. So thank you for reminding me... And for being so strong and sharing in this way hard time.
    Love and Peace,
    Barbara

  2. Lynne

    Bravo, Megan! You hit the nail right on the head with your message. I adore your response to whomever wrote the really nasty email. There’s so much of that type of over the top negative reaction at the moment especially on social media. Let’s hope that person takes a step back next time.
    You did good!
    Warmest regards and great respect, Lynne
    PS: the cake looks fabulous and will be next up for dessert this week.

  3. Suzanne Toaspern-Holm

    Thank you Megan for stepping out of your lane. Your words are encouraging 😘Suzanne & Don

  4. Kris

    Yes to this cake, but more importantly, yes to your comments about how progress results from people not staying in their lane. You are absolutely spot-on! I'm a person of color, not black, but I very much appreciated it when the food bloggers I read and love veered out of their lane last week.

  5. Adriana

    Thank you for this lovely recipe. Today is my 25th wedding anniversary and because of lockdown we stayed home so I decided to try it, my husband loves strawberries. It is so good! I don’t have access to freeze dried strawberries so I used a little of the purée, my daughter made the frosting with mascarpone which we had on hand. Will definitely make this again.

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