Baking & Dessert

By Lindsay Hunt | June 16, 2011

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

You may have already noticed that I’m one for ingredient fixations. It’s not unusual for me to become fixated outside the kitchen, too. If I find a new song that I love, I will play it on repeat until I can’t bear it any more.

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

By the time I move on to a new song, it stops sounding like the original music I heard. As for the new song, I’ll love that one so much it will get the royal (repeat) treatment, until the next one comes along.

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

If it seems repetitive with music, cooking takes it to a new level.  In spring, the first obsession is always asparagus, and I believe I’ve documented that fascination well enough for the year. Now each stalk, while still tasty, doesn’t hold the same initial excitement that late-April’s spears afforded. Luckily, the market comforts me with new obsessions, and I’ve been enjoying zucchini of late.

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

Due to the nature of the season, I ignored fruit for most of spring (who wants to write about another cold-storage apple, anyway?). Then, two weeks ago came a revelation: the first plump, ruby red strawberries.

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

My first strawberry recipe barely nudged the fruits into the realm of sweets. With a swipe of Brown Sugar and Greek Yogurt Dip, berries became dessert. There was no need for much more, each strawberry the equivalent of a new favorite song. Once I’d eaten a quart-yes, a quart!-I readied myself to bake with the berries. The question remained: Could a recipe highlight first-of-the-season strawberries without overwhelming them?

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

This simple one-layer cake contains an affirmative answer. The whole-wheat base has light but not cloying sweetness-essential when standing up to nature’s finest treats. Like most of my favorite baking recipes, this recipe can stand in for breakfast, afternoon tea, or post-dinner dessert.

Photo: Lindsay Hunt

From Martha Stewart

Whole-Wheat Strawberry Cake Recipe

Servings: Makes one 10-inch cake

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened, and cut into 8 pieces, plus more for pie plate
  • 11/2 cups whole-wheat flour, plus for dusting
  • 11/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10-inch pie plate and dust with flour. Tap the plate so that only a thin coating of flour remains.

2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.

3. Put butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and mix on medium-low, until just combined. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides, and beat on medium-low until fully incorporated, but do not overbeat.

4. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, scraping the bowl between each addition of flour. Transfer the batter to the prepared pie plate. Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down as close together as possible. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

5. Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack. Cut into wedges. Cake can be stored at room temperature, covered, for up to 2 days.

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