Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Good Use for Extra Strawberries

I found myself with a bit of a dilemma this week: I have a policy that if I buy produce and it goes bad before I eat it, I put myself on produce-buying probation (with respect to that item) for several months. (I'm pretty much not allowed to buy peaches or grapefruit ever again unless I have an immediate use planned.) Strawberries had been on sale half-price during my last grocery order, and have been so delicious lately that I ordered more than I could possibly consume. I enjoyed them on their own at breakfast and sliced up on top of Crescent Ridge vanilla frozen yogurt for dessert... and then forgot about them in the fridge until it was almost too late and I feared that I was going to end up on strawberry-buying probation. Luckily, smittenkitchen posted a recipe for Strawberry Summer Cake just as I sat down to figure out what to do with the last of my strawberries.
The ingredients were all (approximately) things I had on hand: flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, vanilla, butter, eggs, milk, and strawberries. When I sorted through my strawberries to discard flawed areas, I ended up with only about 10 ounces of sliced strawberries but decided to go ahead with the recipe anyway. I was also out of milk, too, but decided to use reconstituted powdered milk since it seems to work fine in baking.
Butter and sugar are beaten together, then wet ingredients are incorporated, then the dry... Your typical cake-baking situation. The recipe suggested a 9-inch cake dish, but I went with a springform pan since I hate getting cakes out of non-springform pans. I also clamped a reusable non-stick thingy over the base of the pan for ease of clean-up and cake-removal.
The strawberries are arranged on top of the cake in as close to a single layer as you can manage. Next time there will be more of them, but this was just enough to form a single layer. You're supposed to top this with 2 tablespoons of sugar, but I went with just one since even that seemed like a lot. (Next time I will try reducing the sugar in the cake itself, too, because I'm not a big sugar person...)
This goes into a 350°F oven for 10 minutes, then the temperature is dropped to 325°F and it bakes for another ~50 minutes. It comes out looking very, very yummy...
The cake on smittenkitchen looks more berry-licious than mine, probably both because I used less berries than it called for and because I accidentally used my 8.5-inch springform pan instead of my 9-inch one. Nonetheless, not too shabby for pantry ingredients and minimal work:
(That's Crescent Ridge frozen yogurt on the side.) This tasted really bright and fresh, even if it was a bit sweeter than my preference. Best of all, I'm not on strawberry-buying probation! (I'll have more to enjoy when my next grocery delivery arrives on Friday...)


Adi said...

I'm going to try this tonight because my strawberries are about to go bad. i like that you're not afraid to use powdered milk because honestly i'm almost out myself and i hate when chefs get snobby about stuff like that, keep up the good work!

emmo said...

Powdered milk totally rocks in baking. I always have it around because I use it (in combination with whole milk) to make homemade yogurt. When I buy really nice (and thus, more expensive) milk from a local dairy, it seems like a waste to bake with it, knowing how well powdered milk substitutes. =)

I hope your cake turns out great. It's always a crowd-pleaser for me (as are most things from smittenkitchen...).

Adi said...

i just wanted to update on this since i just made the cake. since i didn't have any cake pans, i used 2 9 inch pie plates. i put HALF the batter in one and half in the other that way it wouldn't overflow and it worked, ok just wanted to share in case anyone out there wanted to do it that way!