Strawberry Country Cake
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
For the filling for each cake
1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy cream, chilled
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and 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, 1 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 1 cake, wrap the second well and freeze.
To make the filling for 1 cake, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until firm. Slice 1 of the cakes in half with a long, sharp knife. Place the bottom slice of the cake on a serving platter, spread with half 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.
(Recipe from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Parties!” Clarkson Potter, 2001)
Happy spring! We have survived the long, cold, dark, snowy and rainy days of winter, and I couldn’t be happier to lay the power outages to rest and 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, Ga., 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 the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmers Market returns! It kicks off on Saturday, April 5, 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 available in these parts — 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 in which 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. For more springtime recipes, visit somekindagood.org. I’ll leave you with the words of Robin Williams: “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let's party!’ ”
The Mainstreet Statesboro Farmers Market will celebrate Strawberry Days on April 26! The market is open from
9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Saturday downtown in the Sea Island Bank parking area. Watch Rebekah here as she visits the market to purchase strawberries and cooks up a fresh-baked Strawberry Country Cake.
Rebekah Faulk is a Georgia food writer and Statesboro-based TV personality. A Season 2 contestant on ABC's “The Taste,” she blogs at SomeKindaGood.org, a Southern, coastal food blog highlighting East Coast restaurant reviews and Lowcountry-inspired recipes. Follow her on Twitter at @SKGFoodBlog or search Facebook for Some Kinda Good.