Thursday, June 9, 2011

Strawberry Orange Cake

The strawberries available are wonderful right now. I like them on the small side and from the Farmer's Market because they are so much riper. But, I got too many so I needed to cook with them. I often make strawberry bread, but felt like something a little sweeter, so I made Strawberry Cake. I decided to add the zest of one orange to keep the sweetness from getting cloying and it turned out wonderfully. This is not a very sophisticated cake - it is homey and lumpy and bumpy, but it is so good! You could serve it with some whipped cream or ice cream, but I ate it right out of the oven when the strawberries where hot. Yum! It has a flavor a bit like Strawberry Shortcake only more comforting because the strawberries are cooked and the orange zest was just right to give it a little brightness. Hope you enjoy it too!

Strawberry Orange Cake

1 pound strawberries, washed, stemmed and cut in half
6 Tablespoons of butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one small orange
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ cups  All Purpose Flour (or use Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom of a 9 inch Springform pan.
Mix together flour baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
In a separate larger bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (a mixer works best). Add egg, milk and vanilla extract until just combined. Add in dry mixture and mix until smooth.

Cut zest into very small pieces with a sharp knife and mix with 2 Tablespoons of sugar.
Pour into the prepared pan and smooth out top. Place strawberries halves with the cut side down on top of the cake. Sprinkle orange sugar all over the top of the cake.
Place in the oven and bake for 45 – 50 minutes or golden brown and firm and tester comes out with no cake batter on it. Cool slightly before cutting into eight pieces and removing the sides of the pan.

Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

A quick note: I made this same cake with 4 cups of red currants from my neighbor's yard and it was delicious too! However, red currants are very tart so I added one more Tablespoon of sugar on the top.

Five Element Analysis

Strawberries belong to the Fire Element because they look like little hearts and are red so that element is covered. The Wood Element is represented by the flour and orange zest. The Earth Element is brought in by the sugar and the Metal Element has the milk, butter and vanilla extract. Adding whipped cream brings in even more Metal and the ice cream would too and also contribute more Earth. Finally, the egg adds just a bit of the Water Element so this cake would be great after a meal with a Water Element main course.

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