Simple Strawberry Cake

strawberry cake  tastefood

I managed to save the strawberries in this cake before they were devoured au naturel. Fresh strawberries usually don’t last long enough in our house to be put to baking use, disappearing in a blink of an eye, before you can say “strawberry shortcake.” When I came home from the market today with an armload of ridiculously plump organic strawberries, I was prepared to defend my purchase. I knew that any unsupervised pints would quickly go missing from the kitchen counter, so I placed a few baskets in strategic locations as a diversion from the extra pound I stashed to bake this lovely cake.

Strawberries and spring sing simplicity to me – pardon the alliteration. It’s a time to celebrate fresh seasonal ingredients as naturally as possible, with little fuss and adornment. This simple cake is an adaptation of a recipe from Martha Stewart. It’s light, gently sweetened, and generously studded with more strawberries than you know what to do with. Actually, I don’t mean that – we all know what to do with strawberries. Just be sure to save some to make this cake.

Strawberry Cake

I halved my jumbo sized strawberries in the pictured cake, but recommend quartering them if very large, so they will begin to break down while baking, making a luscious juicy mess.  Adapted from Martha Stewart.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, divided
1 pound strawberries, halved – or quartered if very large

Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 10-inch (25 cm) pie or tart pan (I used a 9-inch extra-deep pie pan).

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine the butter and 3/4 cup sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the egg, buttermilk, vanilla, and 1 teaspoon lemon zest on medium speed. Add the flour and mix to combine without over-mixing. Spread the batter in the prepared dish. Arrange the strawberries, cut-side down, on top of the batter, gently pressing to partially submerge. Squeeze in as many strawberries as possible – it’s ok to be greedy. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake in the oven until the top of the cake is light golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Before serving, sprinkle 1 teaspoon lemon zest over the cake. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

27 thoughts on “Simple Strawberry Cake

  1. Perfect strawberry cake, simple and full of berries. I might have to add a spoon full of whipped cream!

  2. This is a fantastic cake. I am not a sweets eater as a rule but i could see this one working like a charm around here as I don’t think it would be TOO sweet. My strawberries are not far away as in ripening in the garden as we speak! I am very much looking forward to trying this! c

  3. This looks amazing! I washed a carton of strawberries last night and they all magically disappeared! Will need to plan accordingly when I make this!

  4. Simple, mabe but oh so delicious! A wonderful treat. I’m bookmarking this fabulous recipe.



  5. Still a bit early for strawberries here, but I can’t imagine a better use for them once they finally arrive. Bookmarked!

  6. Such a beautiful cake! Strawberries really do symbolize spring (and all the bounty still to come!).

  7. Strawberries are my favorite, I can’t wait to try this recipe! Such a beautiful cake, my mouth is watering just looking at the pictures. I’m hosting a party next week- do you think it can be made ahead of time or will it get mushy from the strawberry juices?

    1. Sonali: Thank you for your comment. The cake should be fine if made earlier in the day when you plan to serve it. The longer it sits, the softer it will become. – Lynda


  8. Made this wonderful cake today! I did slice the strawberries in smaller pieces. However, this did not make the cake gooey. Regardless, this cake is absolutely delicious and “looks” luscious! Will definitely make it again!

  9. I adore this kind of cake and have made similar cakes with plums or other berries. I’ve never tried strawberries but it looks delectable! In Florida we have wonderful winter strawberries… I’ll try this next season!

  10. I made this cake last night for a “Ladies Night” that I hosted for my department. I had about 20 resident and attending physicians over and they all loved this beautiful cake- it was a total hit! I made it earlier in the day and served it later at room temperature with some freshly whipped cream. Thanks Lynda for posting such a lovely and easy dessert! I posted a picture of the cake I made on my Facebook account:

  11. This cake is wonderful! I made it for a friend’s birthday dinner as she absolutely loves strawberries! Well, this cake was gone in one sitting. Having some left over buttermilk and strawberries, I made it again for Mother’s Day. Well, I have been asked to add this to a list of my family’s favorite desserts! Thank you!!

  12. Very yummy. I would have liked more strawberry flavor though…. I might process some more strawberries in the food processor with some sugar and the buttermilk and add that to the batter in addition to the strawberries on top. For more citrus flavor, I added fiori di sicilia with the vanilla.

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