Strawberries are cheap and plentiful at the moment, and I loved the look of the Strawberry Summer Cake on Smitten Kitchen, with the juicy caramelised strawberries on top dribbling through the cake. I actually used a sugar substitute that my sister-in-law had given me (decanted into a container, so I have no idea what it was), with a couple of spoonfuls of the blue gum honey that Naomi bought us from Mapleton, because I wanted to get some of its beautifully caramel flavour in the cake. The original recipe sprinkles sugar over the strawberries before baking, but I drizzled some of the honey over them instead.
You’ve got to really cram the strawberries on top of the cake, even if it feels like there’s too many. They basically turn into jam – soft and gooey and melting into the cake. It’s delicious eaten while warm, and pretty easy to put together for morning or afternoon tea.
6 tblsp butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 punnets of strawberries, cut in half
2 tbsps of honey or sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease a fairly deep pie dish or cake tin. I used a square pyrex dish.
If you’re not lazy, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. (If you’re me, you’ll dump them separately into the wet mix at the end). In a large bowl, use electric beaters to beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in the egg, milk and vanilla until just combined, then gradually do the same with the dry mixture (or the flour, baking powder and salt) until it’s just mixed.
Pour the mixture into the pie dish. Arrange the strawberries on the top of the cake, pushing them a little into the mixture and cramming them closely together. Sprinkle them with sugar, or drizzle with honey.
Bake the cake for 10 minutes, and then reduce the temperature to 160C and bake for about an hour, until a skewer comes out clean (of the cake mixture, not the gooey strawberries).