strawberry cake

Oh, my. I hardly know what to say. When I sent that last post out into the Internet, I knew you’d be kind, but I never could have predicted you’d be that kind, or that the next morning, reading your messages, I’d have tears in my eyes learning about your friends who are young, or with children, or well into their middle age with very controlled symptoms, one still embracing a huge passion for food, or that several days later, I’d be sitting at my computer screen and wondering how in the world to thank you people, who not only encouraged me SO MUCH this week but who do that, regularly, like habit, here.

So here is what I think: Even if I had every one of you that commented on that last post over for dinner, one at a time, a meal just for you, and we sat and talked, and ate, until we were past full, feeling happy, it still wouldn’t be enough to thank you. I could bake you cookies and bring them to your doorstep. I could hug you, tight, until you could barely breathe. None of it would be enough.

So, like I am doing all the time with you, I’m just going to say thank you. Thank you. And bring you something.

cake on table

This cake, special as it is, still isn’t enough; I know that. But it’s something, and it’s what I have—kind of like that box of bath soap I bought for $3.00 at Walgreens one time when I was a kid, after my mom had given me some money and I knew her birthday was coming, and I wanted to be like the grown-ups and give something. So I sneaked to the counter when she wasn’t looking, and I bought the box with the money she had given me, and when I gave it to her later, she said how nice it was, which in a lot of ways, was her giving to me again. You guys are like her in that way—you say such kind things, and you tell me your stories, outgiving me again and again, and I here I am, offering my box of bath soap.

At least in this case, the bath soap is really, really good bath soap. It’s like the spa-quality bottles instead of the drugstore box. And, best part is, unlike a lot of recipes, this one could not be simpler to make, almost as easy as my showing up at your door, only with more satisfaction.

easiest cake ever

Making this took ten minutes—maybe five? You use one bowl and don’t even need an electric mixer. The strawberries, which I halved, can be simply washed and plopped on top of the batter in a round pan, and then you just throw it all in the oven and walk away. You could even use a different berry like blueberry or raspberry or, go totally crazy and use a peach or a plum or something.

It’s called the Easiest Cake Ever (which, yes, is exactly what caught my attention in the first place) and it emerges from the oven looking so pretty and impressive, no one would ever guess the meager work involved. This is a cake that gets a solid crust. This is a cake where the bits of batter around the berries turn barely pink as they meld with the berry juices in the oven. This is the cake that you will feed someone, 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. (True story.)

Anyway, I know it’s just a cake, but it’s offered with a lot of appreciation, a lot of joy, a lot of love. For you, you, you. Thank you again.




Easiest Cake Ever
Adapted from Everybody Loves Sandwiches

First note: I used some frozen unsweetened strawberries to complete the amount required, which might account for why my berries stayed so intact throughout baking. Do you buy unsweetened frozen berries? They’re amazing.

Also: Since I saw this recipe at Everybody Loves Sandwiches, I’d say this is the perfect opportunity to point you towards that blog where the author, would you believe it, was in Maine at the same time as me!? She even posted a Flickr album full of pictures from her vacation (to a lot of other places besides Maine, too) here.

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 c strawberries (or any soft fruit, sliced to look pretty)
1 Tablespoon raw sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a cake pan (8- or 9-inch). In a big bowl, mix up the flour, baking powder and lemon zest. Add sugar, eggs, vanilla and oil, and stir some more.

Pour this batter, which will be pretty thick, into the buttered/floured cake pan; use a spoon or spatula to smooth out the top. Drop in berries, arranging them as you like, and giving them a gentle pressing into the cake. Sprinkle raw sugar all over the top. Stick in the oven and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

Cooksnaps
Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. Lan

    i love that this cake is so easy to make and it comes almost at apple picking time. and imagine it with a hot cup of tea in the afternoon, in lieu of happy hour… or in the early morning, with your coffee, rather than grabbing that pop tart. happy happy happy image, no?

    and i have bought frozen unsweetened fruit before, i love it blended with yogurt, it’s like a healthy smoothie. :)

  2. Joanna

    We have to get together sometime. It has been FOREVER. I miss talking to you in person. Maybe Spring Break. I’ll have to get the dates for my break to you and see if I can make a trip up to Chicago to see you and some other friends in the area.

  3. Niki

    Oh, the first thing I thought when I saw this was a raspberry buttermilk cake I saw in Gourmet magazine and then saw made by a bunch of other bloggers so I had to do it! You did have to use a mixer, but my oh my was it good. Lots of others made ti and loved it too!
    http://nikisbakingspot.blogspot.com/2009/06/faux-buttermilk-raspberry-cake.html

    But your cake reminded me of that one and if this is half as good as the other one, then it’s gotta be good!

  4. Jacqui

    i like cake. maybe i’ll buy a cake pan.

    love the story about the soap. love that photo by the window — makes me want to pull up a chair and share a cake with you and chat about nothing in particular.

  5. Shannalee

    Lan! Yes, yes—to both the apples in this cake and to the frozen
    berries in smoothies. Sounds so good!

    Montague, Raspberries are one of my absolute favorites, so next time I
    whip this up, I definitely have to try it with those. I hope you make
    this, Amy!

    Jo, I know, it has been a long time! I have no idea where I’ll be
    living in the spring (long story) but I’d love to see you if it’s
    still around here!

    E.P., There isn’t one simpler, I swear. Love that about it—and its
    good looks don’t hurt!

    Kathi, Peaches sound wonderful! I’d love to hear how you like them in this!

    Niki, Thanks for the link to your recipe; I love new cakes. I hope you’ll try this one, too. It’s amazing how much it gives for such small amount of effort!

    Jacqui, Do it! One cake pan would be a wise investment, and I’ll tell you why: you can use it for cinnamon rolls, buttermilk biscuits, all kinds of cake (of course) and you can throw nuts or bread crumbs in it to toast quickly in the oven, just off the top of my head. Am I right? Think about it.

    TJ, You are too kind to me. Thank you so much.

    Sarah, Yay! Would love to hear how you like it!

    Hannah, Thank you, sweet girl. And I couldn’t agree more about simplicity. So true!

  6. Joanna

    Well unless you are moving to some remote village or going into witness protection or something of that nature we could still try to work out a time/place to meet up wherever you are living.

  7. fikri

    i like your recipe, is look strawberry inside in your cake. i suggest you to add strawberry jam, and at finished i suggest to sprinkle sugar.. that will make your cake wonderful. thanks

  8. TheSpatulaQueen

    I only have a cupcake tin, so I might try this with cupcakes. Cake batters can usually be adapted for cupcakes easily. I’ve been looking for a way to cut down on the use of butter too, so this is perfect.

    I can already see this in cupcake form, topped with a single strawberry half and a light strawberry buttercream. Yum! I can’t wait to try this. :)

  9. Shannalee

    SpatulaQueen, I’d love to hear what happens when you make this into cupcakes! I wonder if they’d be a little more muffin-like because the cake isn’t as fluffy? Love the idea of strawberry buttercream.

    Angela, Peaches and plums sound beyond fantastic. Please let me know if you try them with this! And, btw, thanks for the shout-out!

  10. Kevin

    Through a long long random search from blog to blog I managed to stumble on this exact page. Your photos of the cake alone was enough to sell me on making this cake – the way the cut strawberries look just a little pressed into the cake is so beautiful.
    Basically the day I found this page, I made the cake. I didn’t have strawberries so I used cranberries and after it was done, poured a thin orange and cinnamon syrup that I’d made earlier over the top… it was absolutely delicious. And so simple!
    Thank you for sharing the recipe so much!

  11. Stephanie

    I love this recipe! I stumbled across it randomly and thought it looked so yummy – I made this cake last week and am making two more this week! It’s perfect for bbq’s and picnics.

  12. Pingback: Love Cake — Spinach Tiger

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