Happy spring! We have survived the dreary days of winter and I couldn’t be happier to welcome the sunshine, watch the azaleas reveal their colors and see the earth bloom back to life. I’ve always loved this season and I may be a little biased. My birthday is in April, the Masters golf tournament returns to my hometown of Augusta, and my family and I keep I-95 South hot with trips to my favorite vacation destination: St. Simons Island in the beautiful Golden Isles of Georgia.
Springtime also means Farmers’ Market season. The Statesboro Main Street Farmers’ Market kicks off on April 1 and downtown will be alive and well once again with those friendly farmers’ familiar faces, delivering the freshest and best organic produce, meats and cheeses every Saturday morning.
Nothing gets my heart racing like first sight of the season’s bounty. Bright red plump, juicy, sweet strawberries are in season now, and they’re one of the prettiest and healthiest fruits available. Since ancient Roman times, wild strawberries were used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes such as alleviating inflammation, fever and kidney stones. Rich in vitamin C and supportive of heart health, today there are over 600 varieties. Experts say consuming them on a regular basis can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Highlighted in sweet and savory dishes, there is no shortage of recipes where strawberries are the main ingredient. I like to eat them simply sliced over a bowl of cereal or simmered down with sugar to make strawberry preserves, used as a pop of color to garnish cakes, chopped with onions and tomatoes to make salsa or sliced and tossed with candied Georgia pecans, dried cranberries and feta cheese in a mixed green salad.
Perhaps the most popular way to make use of them in the South though, is the tried and true strawberry shortcake. I can’t count the number of times my mama has served up macerated strawberries spooned over the top of hot, buttery biscuits with a dollop of fresh, sweetened whipped cream for Sunday dinner on that classic blue and white China pattern.
I’d like to share Ina Garten’s recipe for Strawberry Country Cake with you. It’s a dessert that’s made an appearance many times at my family’s kitchen table and one I know you’ll enjoy.
I also wanted to let you in on something exciting: I’ve recently launched a YouTube channel, SKG-TV, where I host a cooking show and share weekly how-to recipes from my home kitchen in Savannah. The 10- to 12-minute episodes feature classic Southern recipes with coastal inspiration. I even share a few tidbits I learned in culinary school like plating techniques and sauces that’ll take your meals from simple to Some Kinda Good.
You can subscribe to my channel by searching for Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser on YouTube.com and clicking on the subscribe button. That way, you’ll get a notification each time a new episode is live. Be sure to leave me a comment. I love to hear feedback from my readers!
For more springtime recipes, visit my food blog at somekindagood.com. I’ll leave you with the words of the late Robin Williams, “Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!'”
Strawberry Country Cake
12 tbsp. (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
2 cups sugar
4 extra large eggs, room temp.
3/4 cup sour cream, room temp.
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
For the filling:
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled, sliced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom of two 8-inch cake pans. Then line them with parchment paper and butter and flour the lined pans. Cream the butter and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream, zests and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt and baking soda. On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine just until smooth. Pour the batter evenly into the pans, smooth the tops, and bake in the center of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then remove to wire racks and let cool to room temperature. If using one cake, wrap the second well and freeze. To make the filling for one cake, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until firm. Slice one of the cakes in half with a long, sharp knife. Place the bottom slice of the cake on a serving platter, spread with 1/2 the whipped cream and scatter with sliced strawberries. Cover with the top slice of the cake and spread with the remaining cream. Decorate with strawberries.
Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a food enthusiast, aspiring cooking-show host and writer. The personality behind the blog SomeKindaGood.com, she is a graduate of Georgia Southern University and is currently a student at Savannah Technical College's award-winning Culinary Institute of Savannah. Search Facebook for Some Kinda Good or tweet her @SKGFoodBlog.