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an imperceptible shift

May 25 2009 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Dessert,Recipe » 43 comments


Something changed over the weekend.  I’m more rested, my fridge is fully stocked after a week of not much cooking, and I finally shook a nagging cold, but I’m not talking about any of those things.  This change was much more impercetible.  I slipped from spring—with its hope and newness and unpredictability—into summer.  Sweet summer.


I’ve been edging my way to the summer state of mind for a while now, so it’s hard to say for sure when exactly the switch happened.  But if I had to guess, I’d say it was Sunday night, as I gripped a juicy burger with both hands and sunk my teeth in.  It smelled and tasted like every barbecue I’ve ever experienced—the smoke of the grill, sandaled feet, late sunsets, laughter.  Like that, summer arrived.


Of course, the weather—true to form—is not quite ready to join me in this transition from one season to the next.   This particular burger was eaten inside, while bundled in a sweater, as the freshly-planted flowers on our deck shivered away, out of sight.  But, as far as I’m concerned, summer is here and I am ready.


If the burger started off the summer switch, then it was this strawberry cake that sealed the deal.  It’s basically a tidier version of strawberry shortcake—the biscuits and strawberries baked up together into a single layer cake.  Sidled up next to a scoop of ice cream, I couldn’t have cared less about the sub-summer temperature blustering around outside.  With each bite, I sunk deeper and deeper into summer.  This one’s going to be a great one—I can tell already.


Strawberry Cake
Martha Stewart

This cake, with its moist crumb and strawberry-dappled faced, gets sparkle and a hint of a crunch from a sprinkling of raw sugar.  Don’t skip this step—it was my favorite part.  Don’t skip the vanilla ice cream (or at least some freshly whipped cream) either.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pie plate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons raw or sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.

Put butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in egg, milk, and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to buttered pie plate. Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down and as close together as possible. Sprinkle raw/sanding sugar over berries.

Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack. Cut into wedges. Cake can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered, up to 2 days.

43 comments so far. »
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  1. Megan {Feasting on Art} says on May 25 2009 at 7:56 pm:

    Oh what a beautiful cake!! Lucky you, I miss summer.

  2. jean says on May 25 2009 at 8:15 pm:

    This looks delicious. Now I’m hungry.

  3. Steph says on May 25 2009 at 9:30 pm:

    I think this is one of the best ways I’ve seen for using strawberries in baking. It looks gorgeous!

  4. Monica H says on May 25 2009 at 10:04 pm:

    I want to make this NOW! How was the cake? Was it really biscuit-y or more cakey?

    Either way it looks great!

  5. Irene says on May 25 2009 at 10:10 pm:

    Yes, yes, yes! That’s exactly how I felt this weekend as I had a beer in the pool in 80 degree weather (not that I’m bragging or anything…. he he he). This is divine, I love simple cakes like this. And with ice cream, oooh boy. I’m bookmarking this recipe!

  6. Sarah (Coffee Beans and Curry Leaves) says on May 25 2009 at 10:47 pm:

    This cake looks wonderful! I too feel like summer finally arrived this past weekend. Though I suppose the uncharacteristically warm and sunny weekend we had here in Seattle helped. Now if only that weather would last for the next few weeks…

  7. anya says on May 26 2009 at 1:52 am:

    After a night of stupendously severe storm overe here in Amsterdam (NL), which rendered me hopelessly awake throughout the whole night, I need this ‘sweet summer’ for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Oh, if I only owned the oven…

  8. Whitney Merritt says on May 26 2009 at 5:07 am:

    What was up with the chilly weather yesterday? Right after the warm week, my building switched over to AC only for it to get cold again. I think they Jinxed summer :(

    Lovely cake. I really like the overhead ingredient shots like in the 2nd picture :)

  9. Jen Schall @ My Kitchen Addiction says on May 26 2009 at 6:22 am:

    The strawberry cake looks beautiful. So glad that summer has arrived!

  10. Half Assed Kitchen says on May 26 2009 at 6:48 am:

    Is there anything more summery than strawberries? Yum.

  11. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on May 26 2009 at 7:43 am:

    Thanks, everyone!

    Monica: It was more cake-y than biscuit-y, but the biscuit/shortcake element was definitely there.

    Irene: I’m not bitter at all. Nope. Not one bit.

    Sarah: Lucky you!

  12. Amy says on May 26 2009 at 7:43 am:

    Strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite desserts, and I love this idea for a tea cake or a simple, homey after-dinner cake. I caved and bought strawberries from the supermarket this past week…I just can’t wait another month until they show up at our farmer’s market! Can’t wait for summer!

  13. Kaitlyn says on May 26 2009 at 8:07 am:

    The strawberry cake looks so delicious! I’m so happy for summer to finally be here, if only it weren’t 50 degrees and raining in Chicago…

  14. Kaitlin says on May 26 2009 at 9:31 am:

    Beautiful! Looks like slices of heaven! Any dessert featuring strawberries AND cake is irresistible! As usual, I love your photos.

  15. oneshotbeyond says on May 26 2009 at 10:43 am:

    well for starters it is one beautiful cake! I bet it tastes fabulous too!

  16. KatieJ says on May 26 2009 at 1:02 pm:

    Mmmm….I am making a similar cake this evening that I will post about – it was in Gourmet and is a raspberry butter cake that looks very close. This looks wonderful!

  17. ingrid says on May 26 2009 at 7:23 pm:

    Man, its been hotter, muggier, and more humid than Hades here!

    Your strawberry cake looks wonderful. Something the kids would love and I always have plenty of strawberries in the fridge.

    Thanks for sharing!

  18. Amy Sherman says on May 26 2009 at 8:57 pm:

    That looks lovely! I bet it would be good with stone fruit too.

  19. JIll says on May 27 2009 at 4:22 am:

    I’m going to make this for my book club tonight– great idea! Thanks!

  20. LoveFeast says on May 27 2009 at 4:33 am:

    I’m thinking if we all make one of these strawberry cakes, summer will follow our lead! Looks yummy!

  21. Eileen @ Passions to Pastry says on May 27 2009 at 7:50 am:

    I just purchased two large cartons of strawberries and this cake looks like a wonderful way to make use of them.

  22. Michelle says on May 27 2009 at 9:11 am:

    Strawberries should be ready around here any time now. Thanks for a great recipe for them.

  23. Laura Flowers says on May 27 2009 at 9:40 am:

    I want to eat my screen. Seriously. Sighh and I have no strawberry cake here to speak of.

    I bet it’s all gone by now too. So I can’t track you down and beg for a piece.

  24. tara says on May 27 2009 at 10:17 am:

    The cake looks delicious, and I do believe I shall try it as soon as local berries come in season. I cannot decide if I want to make it with strawberries, blackberries or raspberries. Any would be wonderful … oh wait, cherries ….

    But really, I needed to say that this was a beautifully, beautifully written post. You’ve captured the magic of summer’s arrival perfectly.

  25. nik says on May 27 2009 at 1:18 pm:

    I want to bake this right now but i only have plain white sugar…. Will that work on top for the raw sugar or no?

    Thx!! Love your site!

  26. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on May 27 2009 at 1:36 pm:

    Amy: Don’t worry — your secret’s safe with me. : )

    Kaitlin: These last few days have been rough …

    oneshotbeyond: Sure does!

    KatieJ: Oooh, I’ve seen that one!

    ingrid: We’ve got the humid/muggy today, too. Along with overcast. Grr.

    Amy: I think you’re right. Suddenly, I’m impatient for peaches …

    Jill: I hope you liked it!

    kristin: It’s a plan!

    Eileen: Yes, give it a try!

    Michelle: I think it would be great with the tiny local strawberries.

    Laura: One small slice is left. But you’ll have to fight my husband for it …

    tara: Thank you!

    nik: Yes, granulated sugar should work. In fact, that’s what the original recipe calls for. The sparkle and crunch probably won’t be as pronounced, but I think that’s ok. I hope you try it!

  27. Tracey says on May 27 2009 at 9:32 pm:

    What a fun cake! I love strawberry shortcake. Love your photos – those berries look so fabulous.

  28. Tyler says on May 28 2009 at 4:47 pm:

    Thanks for the recipe! It’s in the oven now, and it looks and smells delicious!

  29. JIll says on May 29 2009 at 1:36 pm:

    Okay, I tried this and it was seriously delicious. But mine didn’t look like yours… the strawberries sunk. I wonder where I went wrong…

  30. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on May 29 2009 at 2:24 pm:

    Jill: Hmmm. Did you arrange them “cut side down”? I assumed that instruction had something to do with the sinking issue. The only other thing I can think of is: did you press them into the batter? Anybody else have thoughts?

  31. Monica h says on June 01 2009 at 4:03 pm:

    I just made this but I added a few blueberries as well. it overflowed and burned all over the oven. And 90% of my berries sunk.

    Dang it!

    I think I’ve manage to save it, but I haven’t cut into it yet. We shall see. I don’t really care what it looks like, as long as it tastes good :-)

  32. Elizabeth says on June 10 2009 at 2:07 pm:

    I made this today and did press the berries down into the batter, cut side down. They totally sunk. I’m sure that won’t affect the taste but it looks sort of haunted now :-)

  33. Leila Daniel says on June 10 2009 at 11:40 pm:

    Hi, my strawberries sank too! what type of baking power u used? double or single agent? The strawberries shud be pressed into batter or not?

    thx! It was a delicious cake!

  34. Elizabeth says on June 11 2009 at 1:17 pm:

    Returning to say the cake was a hit, I was lucky to save a piece for my husband. This recipe is a keeper. I did use 8T of butter and regular sugar for sprinkling.

  35. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on June 11 2009 at 1:54 pm:

    Monica h, Elizabeth and Leila: Sorry to hear about the sinking!

    Monica: Did you use a 10-inch pie plate? Most are 9 inches, so that might be the issue with the overflowing. Mine puffed quite a bit in the oven but did not overflow.

    Elizabeth: Sounds spooky! : ) I wonder if the key is *very lightly* pressing the berries in? At this point, I’m at a loss. I didn’t do anything special and only a couple of my berries sunk. Glad it was still a hit.

    Leila: I usually use double-acting baking powder. I pressed the berries very lightly — just enough so that they were stable.

  36. Elizabeth says on June 14 2009 at 5:14 am:

    I did press with abandon! However I’m making it again next weekend, so I’ll press my berries lightly.

  37. Linda says on June 21 2009 at 8:50 am:

    Hi, Mine is baking right now. I barely pressed the berries and they are already “sunk” after about 15 mins of baking. Actually, I don’t think the berries are sinking. The cake rises up and bakes over the berries. I do not have a 10 inch pie plate, so I used an 8 inch (I think, it could be a 9 inch.) Anyway, because the batter is deeper in a smaller dish, it is rising higher. I’m sure it will still be very good. I also used blueberries! :)

    Thanks for the recipe and lovely photos!!

  38. darcy says on July 14 2009 at 12:41 am:

    Hello, this is a cake that my friend makes all the time. I kept nagging him for the recipe and he was very reluctant to share this amazing recipe with me. LOL I couldn’t believe he actually didn’t want to give it to me but he said it was a beloved family recipe, needless to say I looked up the recipe and here it is, only to be unmasked as Martha Stewart’s recipe! :O)

  39. Josh says on November 13 2009 at 12:22 pm:

    Hi, just wanted to say I’ve used this recipe a few times over the last few months (in fact, I have this cake baking in my oven as I type this!), and it is wonderful. Thanks for posting it, my friends and family and I have enjoyed this cake very much.

  40. hkm says on March 28 2011 at 2:48 pm:

    I want to make this as a birthday cake. Do you think I could use the cake as layers and frost the outside with whipped cream? or do you think that would be too much?

  41. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on March 28 2011 at 6:25 pm:

    hkm: Interesting idea! I would suggest doubling the recipe and baking the batter in two cake pans (1/2 the batter per pan). Be sure to butter, line and flour the pans, so the cake comes out easily. You might also consider using the whipped cream between the layers and dolloped on top, but not surrounding the sides of the cake. I think that would avoid an overwhelming result. Let us know how it turns out!

  42. hkm says on April 03 2011 at 7:15 pm:

    I followed your suggestions and it turned out beautifully. I frosted the sides and layered it with a chantilly cream and decorated the top with fresh strawberry slices. The result was just perfect. Thank you so much! This cake was the perfect birthday present.

  43. Summer Strawberry Cake « Social Kitchen says on August 18 2011 at 7:18 am:

    [...] Summer Strawberry Cake (adapted from here) [...]

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