A lot of dessert recipes are complicated. But I say this with all honesty: this one could not be simpler to make.
The prep takes about twenty minutes, tops. And if you were in a rush or you wanted to use frozen unsweetened strawberries when the fresh variety is out of season, you might be able to throw this together in ten. But I do prefer the luscious, sweet flavor of fresh berries, and highly recommend serving this up in the spring and summer, when they’re at their peak.
You don’t even need an electric mixer. Though, if you do have one, I highly recommend it for whipping the egg whites, and it will help to speed the process along even more.
The strawberries, which I halved, can be simply washed and plopped on top of the batter in a rectangular pan, and then you just throw it all in the oven and walk away.
You could even use a different berry, like blueberries or raspberries, or experiment with different kinds of fruit like peaches or plums.
In my personal catalog of desserts, this one is the Easiest Cake Ever. And it emerges from the oven looking so pretty and impressive, no one would ever guess how simple the prep work actually is to make it. It’s perfect for parties, or simple Sundays at home, and it’s big enough to share with a crowd.
This is a cake that gets a solid crust on top. The bits of batter around the berries turn barely pink as they meld with the berry juices in the oven, and the inside is moist and delicious, with a touch of lemon, almond, and vanilla flavor.
You’ll feed this one to your guests or loved ones, saying “Oh, it was no big deal!” And they’ll ask what in the world is in this, and how did you make it, and WOW the look on their faces will be priceless. (True story.)Print
There’s nothing like a slice of moist, and flavorful strawberry cake to lighten up a dull week, made with fresh fruit and a touch of lemon, almond, and vanilla.
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened (14 Tbsp)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 1/2 cups strawberries, halved
- Confectioners sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a electric hand mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. This will take approximately 7-10 minutes.
- Mix in vanilla and almond extracts until incorporated. Add egg yolks in one at a time, beating in each one before adding the next.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they form firm peaks.
- Fold half of the flour mixture and half of the egg whites into the batter. Once combined, fold in the remaining flour mixture and egg whites.
- Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Scrape the batter into the pan, spread with a spatula to form an even layer.
- Arrange the strawberries on top, spaced evenly over the surface of the batter.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool completely in the pan before dusting with confectioners sugar.
Keywords: strawberry, cake, summer
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Halve Strawberries, Zest Lemon, and Measure Remaining Ingredients
Cut the tops off of the strawberries, then cut them in half. Set aside.
Measure butter and let soften to room temperature before beginning the recipe.
Measure out remaining ingredients and arrange them in the order they appear in the list of ingredients.
Place a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350°F.
Step 2 – Make Dry Mixture
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest in a small bowl, whisking to combine.
Set aside until ready to use in the batter.
Step 3 – Start Batter
To start making the batter, add the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Note that you can also use a bowl with an electric hand mixer if desired.
Beat the butter and sugars together on high speed until light and fluffy. This will take approximately 7-10 minutes.
Add the vanilla and almond extracts, and beat to combine. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, only adding the next one when the previous one has been fully incorporated. Set aside.
Step 4 – Beat Egg Whites
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk or handheld electric mixer until they form stiff peaks, about 3-5 minutes.
You’ll know you have stiff peaks when you pull out the beaters and the whites hold their shape at the ends, as well as in the bowl where you lifted them out.
Step 5 – Finish Batter
Gently fold half of the flour mixture and half of the egg whites into the batter. Once this has been fully incorporated, add the remaining flour mixture and egg whites.
Fold together until just incorporated, combining the ingredients with a light touch to avoid deflating the egg whites.
You don’t want to overmix this batter, but it will be thick.
Step 6 – Add to Pan and Bake
Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Add the batter to the pan and spread it into the corners with a spatula, lightly smoothing the top.
Gently add the strawberries on top. There is no need to press them into the batter, as they will sink during baking.
Bake for 30 minutes. The top will be golden brown and a toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the center.
Let the cake cool completely and then dust with confectioners sugar, using a sifter or fine mesh strainer.
The Perfect Tea Cake For Fancy Parties or Casual Get-Togethers
To me, the ideal dessert is one that can work for multiple occasions. I love a dessert that I can dress up easily, but also dress down to fit any occasion.
This strawberry cake recipe fits that mold completely.
To dress this cake up, take it out of the pan and slice it before serving on a large platter. Place strawberries around the edges of the platter. It’s ideal for baby showers, bridal showers, and tea parties.
Alternatively, this cake can easily be dressed down by simply keeping it in the pan and bringing it to your next gathering.
It looks delicious but not so fancy that everyone else who is bringing food will feel intimidated by your mad baking skills, and it’s easy to transport in the baking dish. Just make sure you get it back after the party!
What event do you have in mind to that would be perfect for serving this cake? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate the recipe.
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Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on September 3, 2009. Last updated: August 28, 2018 at 15:35 pm.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.