I have a special relationship with berries. My husband is the son of a berry farmer. He grew up out in the fields, moving irrigation pipe, driving tractors and spending his summers tanned and dusty. I literally fell in love the moment I saw him.
The first time I visited the farm, we were not yet an item. I’d never been to that part of the Willamette Valley before, and as my (future) sister-in-law and I we drove through the green fields of marionberries and past the rusty rows of blueberries, I found myself speechless. Even more so when- upon our arrival- that farm boy offered to give me a tour of the fields on the back of an ATV. As we cruised through row after row, my arms wrapped happily around his waist, I knew that his farm and his family, were both things I wanted to be a part of.
Once I was a regular fixture on the farm, I quickly grew accustomed to crates of fresh blueberries, bags of juicy strawberries and wandering out into the “backyard” to eat marionberries straight off the bush. I’m never without a freezer full of last season’s crop and in the last couple years, have started to can and jam.
Last week, Kira and I went out to the farm and picked the first of the season’s strawberry crop. We made Strawberry Lavender jam, Strawberry Applesauce and Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream. Since I still had three gallons of berries left, and I’ve been dreaming of cake baking lately, I decided Saturday night was the perfect time to whip up a layered strawberry delight.
Light, moist and not too sweet, this cake was exactly what I was dreaming of. If you haven’t celebrated strawberry season yet, this recipe is a great place to start. There is something magical about baking a cake, seeing all the pieces coming together and finally getting to sink your knife through those layers and pull out a slice. Served with a couple fresh berries and a scoop of Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream, this cake was perfection on a Saturday night.
- 10 ounces (2 1/2 cups) cake flour ([url href=”http://joythebaker.com/2009/09/how-to-make-cake-flour/”]Make your own cake flour![/url])
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups vanilla sugar (Made by storing van. beans in sugar)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
- 1 cup pureed fresh strawberries
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
- 6 ounces unsalted butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 6 tablespoons strawberry jam (I used Strawberry Lavender)
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8” cake pans and line with rounds of parchment. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, and almond extract. Set aside.
- In an electric mixer, beat the butter and vanilla sugar with the paddle attachment until it forms a paste. Add the eggs in a slow stream, beating well after each addition. Beat for 1 minute at medium speed. Gradually add the buttermilk mixture and beat for 1 minute at medium speed.
- Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir in the pureed strawberries and the lemon zest.
- Spoon into the prepared cake pans and bake until the cakes spring back when touched lightly in the center. Cool before removing from the pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth.
- Sift in the powdered sugar, and beat on low speed until incorporated. Add the strawberry jam, vanilla bean, lemon juice and salt, and beat well to incorporate. If the frosting is lumpy from the sugar, bump the speed up to medium-high continue beating until smooth.
I also want to announce that the winner of the magazine subscription giveaway is Laura! Congratulations! And a huge thanks to everyone for all of the love and support during the launch last week. You guys are the best! Thanks for joining me on this journey. I’m absolutely thrilled you’re here.