Saturday, June 4, 2011

Strawberry Summer Cake

Sometimes I make dishes and it takes me a long time to write about them. It’s not that they weren’t delicious. I promise, dear readers, that I will never recommend a dish that isn’t absolutely delectable. But, rather, I have forgotten how delicious it was, how satisfying to my hungry belly, how heavenly it made my kitchen smell. I have to conjure the experience again in order to convey it to my readers. But, other dishes linger richly in my memory, calling out from my desktop for a reverent portrayal. This Strawberry Cake is one such dish.

I saw this cake first on that most excellent food blog, Smitten Kitchen. I absolutely worship everything this woman does, and when I became vegan, her blog was the first place I went. Although she is a devoted omnivore, doing things with butter, cheese, and cream that I would never dare in my kitchen, she is also quite fond of vegetables, and actually prefers to leave them be, allowing them to taste of themselves. She has introduced me to such favorites as cold peanut noodles, scalloped tomatoes, and mushroom bourguignon. The moment I saw this cake, I wanted it. This is surprising because I’m not actually that fond of yellow cake, and strawberry jam is always my last choice. But, for some reason, this juicy, fresh dessert (and probably breakfast) had me drooling. A big slice, fresh out of the oven was just as great as I had imagined.

Strawberry Summer Cake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup barley flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
Slightly less than 1 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup unsweetened non dairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved (quartered if very large)

Heat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9” or 10” pie pan. I used the stunning red 9” pie dish I received for Valentine’s Day.

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until thoroughly mixed. Beat the butter in the bowl of a mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. In a blender, combine the flaxseed and water. Whip until thick and creamy. Add to the butter and sugar along with the milk, vanilla, and lemon zest. Beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into your pie dish, and spread evenly along the bottom. Top with the strawberry halves, pushing them gently into the batter. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons sugar.

Place in the center of the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 and bake for another 50 to 60 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean (don’t worry about a little strawberry juice though). Remove from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Serve warm, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 three days.

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