There’s so much to love about the start of summer. For me, summer fruit season is on the top of that list. By June, I’m consuming berries, melons, peaches and tomatoes at a pace my stomach can hardly keep up with. Seriously, it’s terrifying how much cold watermelon this pregnant lady can consume! All the beautiful summer fruits available are a source of recipe inspiration for me. Fruit tends to find its way into everything I make in the summer, whether it’s grilling fruits, using fruits in salads or incorporating them into desserts. I’ve had this idea to do a buttermilk strawberry cake for a while now and was waiting for strawberries to be in peak season.
This is a no-fuss, straightforward cake, which I love. You can make it any pan you have laying around, like a 9 inch or two 6-inches (which I did here), or even a loaf pan (which I had to resort to when I made this at my sister’s house and couldn’t find where she kept her cake pans). The results are still incredible, but you will just have to adjust the cook time, testing with a toothpick to make sure the middle is cooked through. The best part of this dessert though is the creme fraiche whipped cream, which is just slightly tangy and infused with fresh vanilla. To me, strawberry buttermilk cake and creme fraiche vanilla whipped cream is as summer as it gets!
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the tops off the strawberries. Slice about 3/4 of them in half. Cut the other 1/4 of the strawberries in quarters and sprinkle 1/3 cup (less 2 tablespoons, reserving the 2 tablespoons for sprinkling over the cake before baking) over the strawberries and toss to coat. The half cut strawberries will be baked into the top of the cake and the quartered strawberries are for serving fresh with the cake.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, 1 1/4 cup sugar together until the butter is light and fluffy. Scrape the inside of the vanilla bean with the back of a knife and add half of the vanilla bean paste to the butter. Reserve the other half you scraped for the whipped cream. While the mixer is running, add one egg at a time until incorporated.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Lower the mixer to low speed and add about a 1/3 of the flour mixture and then about a 1/3 of the buttermilk, alternating the flour and buttermilk until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Butter and flour two 6 inch cake pans or one 9 inch cake pan. Divide the batter evenly if using two cake pans or all into one 9 inch pan.
- Place the half-cut strawberries cut side up over the top of the cakes. Sprinkle the reserved 2 tablespoons of sugar over the tops of the cake.
- Bake for about 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Test the toothpick near the side of a strawberry because the batter under the strawberries can sometimes be raw while the rest of the batter is done.
- To make the whipped cream, pour the whipping cream, reserved vanilla bean paste and sugar into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk. Whisk until soft peaks form. Add the creme fraiche and whisk for a few more seconds just until the creme fraiche is incorporated.
- Serve slices of the cake with a large dollop of creme fraiche whipped cream and top with a large scoop of the quarter sliced macerated strawberries.
(images by HonestlyYUM)