It's easy to be greedy at this time of year when fresh spring produce clutters the farmers market tables. I can't resist buying a rotation of asparagus, sweet peas and early strawberries, which pass through our kitchen to the dining table on a daily basis. You'd think that we would tire of all of this seasonal goodness, but it never seems to be the case.
It does help to have a variety of recipes to choose from, though, just to change things up a bit, which is why I like to make this strawberry cake. While nothing beats fresh sun-sweetened strawberries, eaten au naturel or swiped through a cloud of whipped cream, try putting aside a pint or two to make this simple cake. It's light, gently sweetened and generously studded with as many strawberries as you can fit. (This is when it's good to be greedy.) I halved the jumbo-sized strawberries in the pictured cake, but I recommend quartering them if they're very large; they'll break down into juicy puddles while baking and mark the cake with luscious streaks.
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, divided
1 pound strawberries, halved (or quartered if very large)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch pie or baking dish.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
Combine the butter and the 3/4 cup sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the egg, buttermilk, vanilla and almond extracts, and 1 teaspoon lemon zest; mix to combine. Add the flour and mix to thoroughly combine without overmixing.
Pour the batter into the prepared dish and spread evenly. Arrange the strawberries, cut-sides down, on top of the batter, gently pressing to partially submerge. Squeeze in as many strawberries as possible and reserve the rest for serving. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the 1 tablespoon sugar.
Bake the cake until the top is light golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Cool slightly and serve lukewarm or at room temperature with whipped cream and extra strawberries.
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