Continuing the strawberry addiction 27

The blood-red, juicy strawberries fresh from the market

Strawberries are on an extended vacation in the markets this time and I, for one, am not complaining at all! These berries hadn’t been on my radar until a couple of years ago, all I would do is just eat them plain or with some yogurt, which is still the best way to eat them, but this time around I’ve ventured into baked goodies with strawberries. And the results have been soooo good that I’m totally hooked on to it!

In fact, my obsession with strawberries have become some kind of a joke between the husband and me – every time I head to the market I always come home with a box of strawberries. Sometimes my bag has a strange assortment of things like green garlic, red carrots, the big bharta brinjal and a box of succulent strawberries. Why, even the fruit vendor at Bhaaji  Gully in Grant Road knows that I’m going to buy these berries so he almost always has a box of the best stashed away for his best customers.

So I’d baked the cheesecake with a strawberry topping, made some smoothies, a Mojito and eaten dozens of strawberries when I realised that I should be using them in a cake and not just as a topping. I set out doing what I usually do before I begin a new recipe – combing through various websites and blogs; and I found the simplest recipe for a strawberry cake on Martha Stewart’s site. The original recipe calls for eggs, but I tweaked it a little to make it eggless.

Warning: This cake doesn’t last long! It’s just too delicious not to be eaten.

Strawberry cake
(Adapted from this recipe by Martha Stewart)

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder (optional)
3/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1 tsp of vanilla essence
1/4 cup of yogurt/dahi
3 tbsp of milk
1 cup of strawberries, chopped
2 tsp of sugar – for topping

Sift the flour with baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon powder. Keep this aside.

In a mixing bowl put the sugar, oil and vanilla essence together and beat to make a smooth mixture. Now add the yogurt to this and mix well. Slowly add the sifted flour to this and fold well to incorporate it into the mixture without any lumps. The mixture might be a little dry at this point, so gradually add the milk and keep mixing gently. If you find it is too dry then increase the quantity of milk. Drop some chopped strawberries into the batter and mix again.

Pour this batter into a greased baking tin and scatter the rest of the chopped strawberries over this. Sprinkle the sugar over the berries and bake the cake for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven when it is done and slice and serve.

The berries swell and burst during the baking process giving an almost jam-like texture

* The strawberries swell and burst during the baking process so you get this sticky, tart, fruity upper layer for the cake which is almost jam-like in taste.
*Instead of the cinnamon powder you can also add some lemon or orange zest to the cake batter. This will give the cake a lovely zing.
* I’ve used whole wheat flour because I love the nutty flavour it has when its used in baked goodies but you could use maida too.

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