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June 25, 2011

For the love of summer. and strawberries.

Strawberry Summer Cake

I found this recipe on one of my favourite blogs, Smitten Kitchen. It's adapted from Martha Stewart, and is called Strawberry Summer Cake. Those are two things I adore: Summer and strawberries. It gives me great, great pleasure to hop on an aeroplane and escape at least one month of what I deem to be winter misery in South Africa. I live in a house without heaters, or electric blankets, and only hot water bottles tucked into our pants and between our blankets to warm us. This morning at 7am I went for a crisp morning run and chuckled (a little gleefully I confess) at the thought of my friends at home still enveloped in a dark chill.

Strawberries scream summer. In Smitten Kitchen  Deb writes of rainy weather combined with strawberry purchases that causes a bit of a dilemma. I know what she means. I bought a red mountain of half- priced berries from Waitrose intending to make a chilled strawberry soup. The constant, characteristically English drizzle outside did not invite chilled soup. Rather, it invited warm carbohydrates that were reminsicent of summer but with due regard for the downpour outside. I googled strawberry cake, as I am sure many have before me.. and came upon this gem that I’ve now made twice since in four days.

Please see this link for the recipe as I found it:

The first time I made it, I scattered pistachios on top  ten minutes before the end of cooking and baked it in a sort of pie dish (that turned out to be tricky to serve). For round two I used a cake tin, and added 2 tablespoons of almonds to the mixture for a bit more richness.
Also, when following Deb/slash Martha’s recipe, I do the following:

Instead of adding the dry mixture after the wet ingredients, I make a mixture of egg and milk and add it alternately with the dry mixture of flour, baking powder and salt. I add the vanilla last (and I use vanilla bean paste, oh- glory). This prevents it curdling. Not that I’ve ever known a once- curdled mixture to be of lesser taste… but I just feel more satisfied if it stays smooth throughout!
Since it was a chilly summer evening (annoying actually, considering it was the summer solstice and the druids were all doing their thing at Stonehenge etc) I warmed it up in the oven before serving. M made a glorious runny vanilla bean custard to go alongside.

Vanilla sponge seeped with fresh strawberries.

Yes, please. 

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