Strawberry cake

Monday was my dad’s birthday so I went out to Jersey on Sunday for a celebratory dinner.

We had grilled flank steak, potato salad and the most fantastic tomato salad – just farm-stand tomatoes with basil, blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. It was one of those perfect, easy summer meals.

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For dessert we had the only sweet thing my dad likes: key lime pie. But because my mother is an overachiever she didn’t think one dessert would be enough and asked me to make a cake.

I’m actually not a big baker…when you cook you can kind of make it up and chances are it will turn out even better than the recipe. But making things up when you’re baking can go disastrously wrong.

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That being said, I have a long list of Smitten Kitchen summer desserts I’m dying to make and it’s getting longer and longer every time she posts something on Instagram.

I recently read an article about people who are sick of summer produce.

Who are these people?? Where are they? What is wrong with them???

I guess if you have nothing to do but make things with fresh corn and juicy tomatoes and perfectly ripe peaches I can see how you’d be over it.

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Actually, on second thought, I don’t.

Personally I feel like I’ve been missing out on summer’s bounty, which is why I’m having some friends out to Jersey on Sunday for an end-of-summer (sob) feast.

The theme is Deb Perelman because I’m a stalker, so we’re having her oven ribs, potato salad, broccoli slaw, strawberry cake and key lime pie popsicles. I’m also making my family’s baked beans to prove I have a single original thought in my head.

I can’t wait to share it all next week. And in the meantime, I tested out the strawberry cake on Sunday and it is DIVINE. It’s basically strawberry shortcake with the strawberries baked in. With a light fluffy cake and juicy jammy strawberries, don’t get all the way to Labor Day without making this cake.

Deb has a note on pan sizes: she recommends a 9-inch deep dish pie pan or a 10-inch pie pan. I used a 9 inch regular cake pan and it took FOREVER to bake so I’m going to try it in a 9 inch spring form this weekend. In the meantime, I’m leaving the baking time she recommends in case you have a different experience.

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Strawberry summer cake
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Martha Stewart)

6 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter, plus extra for pie plate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch pie pan or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, for about 3 minutes.

Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing each time until just smooth.

Pour into prepared pie plate. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer, overlapping only if necessary. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over berries.

Bake cake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes.

Let cool, then top with powdered sugar and serve.

Strawberry summer cake: https://smittenkitchen.com/2011/05/strawberry-summer-cake/

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