I don’t want to say this out too loud but it feels like summer might finally be here. In a couple of days it’s gone from warm-coat to t-shirt weather, with almost no transition time - but I, for one, am not complaining and I just hope this current situation isn’t a flash in the pan. Besides the weather, one of thing that’s signaling the change in seasons is the abundance of strawberries everywhere: at supermarkets, the farmers’ markets and little stands that sprout up around this time - that are sometimes even shaped like a strawberry! :) Anyway, last Saturday F and I were invited over to a friend’s to watch football - we were going to order pizza from the Sardinian place below them and I thought it would be nice to take something light as dessert. And this cake that I’d made a couple of times ages ago popped into my head: it was a simple yellow cake with strawberries that I’d found on the Martha Stewart website and made to much acclaim, even though I’d used frozen berries. This time around I decided to use the batter from my lemon poppy seed loaf as a base, in a tart form rather a cake tin and to use fresh strawberries (of course! these were the jumping off point!). I was on the fence about using poppy seeds, but I did in the end, and they were delicious! I also used a mixture of regular flour and spelt, which I found created a nice texture and had a great flavor, but feel free to use just regular wheat if that’s what you’re comfortable with. If you’re using a cake pan, a 10 inch form is just right.
1 cup spelt flour + 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or 1 1/2 all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium organic eggs
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup natural yoghurt
4 tablespoons cane sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
about 500 grams strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons blue poppy seeds
Pre-heat the oven to 180° C. If using a tart form, line the base of the pan with some baking paper and lightly butter the paper that’s over the base. If using a cake tin, lightly butter and flour the pan.
Whisk the flours or flour together with the baking soda and salt in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, yoghurt, 3 tablespoons sugar, water and vanilla sugar or extract until combined. Sift in the flour mixture in two or three batches and stir gently to combine. Once the batter is well combined, add the poppy seeds and stir to mix through.
Pour the batter into the prepared tart form or cake tin. Arrange the strawberries cut side down on top of batter as closely together as possible. Don’t be afraid to overcrowd, as they’ll move apart during the baking process. Sprinkle the strawberries with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
Bake the cake in oven until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. The time needed will vary a lot depending on what tin or pan you’re using: since the tart form is so flat, the cake only took about 18 minutes to bake. I recommend setting the timer for every 15 minutes to keep checking the status. (The strawberries will remain gooey though). Once the cake is done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 30 minutes in pan, then remove onto a wire rack. Sprinkle with some powdered sugar and slice into wedges: you could also serve it with some lightly whipped cream.
Prep time: 15 minutes Baking time: 15 - 40 minutes
Images: Vatsala Murthy