December air is always filled with so many things… the weight of the year gone by, the expectations of the year to come, celebrations with friends and family who make their way back home for the holidays and a general slowing down of pace in the last few days of the year. Taking time off work in December is possibly met with the least amount of resistance and probably the only time your boss unquestioningly signs your leave application. “Even God goes on holiday in December,” a business associate had once remarked to me at the end of a rather fierce, time-bound negotiation.
It’s the sort of time when I like to have a few recipe aces up my sleeve – recipes with loads of dash that probably don’t have me toiling away in the kitchen. This Strawberry Cake is one such recipe that shows-off the produce of the season and comes together with minimal effort. The jewel-like strawberries that top the cake lend an air of casual elegance to this cake that effortlessly transitions between a tea -time cake and an after-meal dessert. I’m all for such effortlessness, aren’t you?
The original recipe for this cake called for it to be baked in a pie-pan and while I intended to use my spring-form cake pan, the clasp of the said pan seemed to be having temperamental issues on the day. And so, I turned to my trusted, regular 9-inch cake pan generously greased and floured it on the inside to avoid any sticky situation (quite literally)! The sourness of Indian strawberries is something I brought up while giving you the recipe for Strawberry Iced Tea, and here too I’d like to remind you to sprinkle the strawberries with 2 tablespoons of caster sugar if you’ve managed to get a slightly sweeter batch, or take that amount up to 4 tablespoons for a particularly sour batch. The moist, yet delicate- crumbed cake isn’t too sweet on its own and perfectly complements the soft and gooey texture of the strawberries after they’ve been baked.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s ‘CAKES’
Serves 8 to 10.
December air is always filled with so many things… the weight of the year gone by, the expectations of the year to come, celebrations with friends and family who make their way back home for the holidays and a general slowing down of pace in the last few days of the year. Taking time off work in Dec
6Tablespoonsunsalted butter(85 grams) at room temperature (extra for greasing)
1 ½cupsall purpose flour cake, plus extra for pan (180 grams)
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with unsalted butter. Dust it with all-purpose flour.
Sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter & caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, milk and vanilla extract and beat together to combine. Be careful not to overmix.
Gradually add the flour mixture in 3 batches, gently beating it together after each addition to combine. Transfer the cake batter on to the prepared cake pan and arrange the strawberries, cut side down. Sprinkle 2 to 4 tablespoons of caster sugar on top of the strawberries (see write up above or details). Bake in the pre-heated oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the baked cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting it on a plate & then flipping it back on to another really quickly. A springform pan would save you all this trouble.