I love birthdays. It doesn’t have to be my own, any birthday will do, as I’m not picky in the least. Birthdays equal fun times, friends, family, laughter and best of all, cake. Presents are nice too, but cake, well, you can’t beat cake. Today is my birthday and you better believe that I’ve baked myself a nice cake. It may look a little crufty around the edges but a nice soft blob of whipping cream will hide the dark cruft nicely. When dinnertime rolls around, you can bet that I’ll be cutting myself a nice fat slice. After reading Molly’s book, A Homemade Life, I knew that her Winning Hearts & Minds cake would make it to my birthday table. I’m not going to post the recipe here since you can read it on Orangette, or better yet, get yourself a copy of her book. Judging by scent alone, this cake is going to be great!
But I don’t want you to leave this post empty handed. I want to give you all a nice bit of cake, so I am posting a recipe I made for my mother-in-law’s birthday a couple of weeks ago. It looks a bit rustic, but don’t let that stop you from taking a second helping. The original recipe called for an 11 inch cake tin but all I had was an 8 inch one. I poured as much batter that would fit into the tin & then made one muffin (a tester!). I was worried about a spill over with all that batter packed into such a small tin, but despite some over-zealous bubbling, things turned out well.
This cake is perfect for a casual celebration. It’s quick to whip up and it’s utterly unfussy in the best way. This cake is bursting with strawberries (but you could easily sub in raspberries, blackberries or blueberries) and there is a sprinkle of raw sugar and a kiss of salt over top for a surprise crunch. It’s not too sweet so that you can easily convince yourself that this makes the most ideal breakfast in the world….even when especially when topped with whipping cream and homemade strawberry sauce. As for the salt, I couldn’t really taste it at all, so it’s up to you to bump up the salt, or leave it out entirely. So celebrate your birthday or someone else’s with cake, it’s easy to find a reason to celebrate.
salt-kissed strawberry cake
(adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 c brown sugar
zest of 1 large orange
1/2 t salt
1 c yogurt
1/4 c butter, melted and cooled a bit
1 c of strawberries, roughly chopped (more if you like)
3 T large grain raw sugar
1 t kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Butter and flour an 11 inch cake tin.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and zest and set aside. In another bowl, beat together the eggs and then stir in the yogurt and butter. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix lightly until combined.
3. Pour* batter into prepared tin and drop strawberries into the cake. Smush them a bit to let the juices run if you wish. Sprinkle the tops with the raw sugar and a light dusting of the salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden. Serve with whipping cream and strawberry sauce. Or eat plain.
* Batter will not be runny by any means. Pour is more like “plop”.