The gods of Olympus feasted on ambrosia, a name now bestowed on a different fruit. But I’d wager that taking a bite of a fresh strawberry would make even Greek deities weak in the knees.
For me, strawberries always mark the true start of summer. I can easily gorge myself on an entire pint when they first appear in local markets. Their flavour is like none other; the watery imitators that appear like a deep blush across supermarket shelves in the winter boast size but lack tang. Nothing compares to the sun-ripened sweetness those scarlet beauties hold.
The cover the 60th issue of Edible magazine intrigued me; an excuse to buy more strawberries and eat cake? Sounds perfect. Despite the lovely article & photos, the recipe which accompanied them did not match the cover. With the mention of an 8” by 8” pan, I knew I had my work cut out for me.
Though, I didn’t re-create the exact cake from the cover, I did discover one that it as simple and satisfying as the berries that decorate it.
Vanilla Cake & Strawberries
For this post, I used the recipe from thespruceeats.com for Fluffy Homemade Vanilla Cake.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (softened and divided into 2-tablespoon pieces)
- I ended up using margarine as I did not have room-temperature butter on hand, and my attempt to microwave a bar ended up more a half-frozen-melted-blog. Butter will add more richness to the cake, but margarine works in a pinch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup 2 percent milk
- I used 1% milk and the cake turned out just fine
- 2 large, room-temperature eggs (Rockweld Farm Ltd) – $6.25 a dozen
- 1 small box of strawberries* (Mandair Farms) – $5
- *Any other seasonal fruit will do; take advantage of what your market has to offer! Blueberries are just starting to appear, and will pop equally well atop this cake
- 250mL whipping cream
I won’t go to into the details of the cake prep as: a) The Spruce Eats writes the recipe in an easy-to-follow manner, avoiding any specific baking jargon while including useful tips, and b) because I baked this recipe in the early morning during June’s heatwave, and I forgot to take step-by-step photos.
One thing I will note is that my adjustments to the recipe (as noted in italics in the ingredients list) had no adverse affects on the cakes. I also opted to line my baking pans with butter & parchment paper, rather than the butter & flour combine recommended by the website.
Once baked, I allowed the cakes to cool on the counter.
You may be asking why the final cake was only one layer, when I clearly baked two. The other one was tested at my office, where my coworkers proved willing guinea pigs who were happy to taste-test the cake. I served it with whipping cream & strawberries as well, minus the decorative presentation.
After being decisively gobbled-up, I presented the final cake to friends at a weekend BBQ. For the topping, I just used whipping cream (whipped by hand as I’d foolishly left my hand mixer at home, adding granulated sugar to taste). I spread a thin layer on top to act as icing and placed sliced roundels of strawberry as decoration, leaving the leftover whipped cream and berries to be added as desired.