I’ve just been loving how plentiful the strawberries are this year. And the quality of them has been outstanding. I love to bake with strawberries, but they can be tricky. Strawberries, like blueberries, have what I call the exploding factor. They explode moisture during the baking process. So, if you use too many of them or if they overly ripe you cake will fall it on itself. After a few disasters I’ve learned out to outsmart the pesky fruit and now I bake with them quite frequently.
The flavor of strawberries in a cake like this is more subtle. A co-worker even asked me what kind of fruit was in this cake. Baking them this way gives them a slight tartness that compliments the sweetness of the cake batter – a great combination. So, let’s talk about fresh strawberry yogurt cake…
Lesson Learned 1 – Ripe strawberries are not the best for baking: Because of the exploding factor I alluded to above, ripe strawberries are not the best to bake with simply because they hold more water. In baking it’s really best to use strawberries that are only somewhat ripe. That way they release less moisture, your cake will not fall in on itself and you’ll still get that great strawberry flavor. But if your strawberries are ripe, simply use less of them. Cut them in small pieces and discard any piece that may be overly soft. When I made this recipe my strawberries were pretty ripe so I only used about 8 ounces in the cake. If you have less ripe strawberries you can use as much as 12 ounces.
And don’t use frozen strawberries with this recipe. If you do, you can be sure your cake will be a gooey mess.
Lesson Learned 2 – Make sure your cake is completely cool before icing it: I don’t know about you but I’m always in a hurry to put the icing on the cake. I rationalize that if it’s only slightly warm it will be ok. Wrong – o! Even if the cake is slightly warm, the icing will melt into the cake. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you want your icing visible be patient and wait until the cake has cooled. The cake will taste great and you will be awarded visually as well!
I took this cake to work and the slices were gone in less than one half hour. This is a very moist and flavorful cake. Try it and let me know what you think.
Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake...
2 1/4 cup flour, (add 1 Tbs. for high altitude)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice (you’ll need 2 lemons for this recipe)
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
3 large eggs, room temperature
8 oz. vanilla Greek yogurt
8 – 12 oz. fresh strawberries, sliced small (use lesser amount if strawberries are ripe)
Vegetable shortening and flour to prepare the Bundt pan
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest (I used the zest of one small lemon)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan. Set aside. Zest and juice the lemons. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Using a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add the eggs one at a time until each is thoroughly incorporated. Add the lemon juice and zest and beat for another minute.
Add the dry ingredients and yogurt to the mixture, starting out and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. (Scrape the sides of the bowl and under the beater blade to make sure everything has been combined).
Gently fold in the strawberries. Pour into the prepared ban. Reduce the heat in the oven to 325 and bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the Bundt pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest. Drizzle over the cooled cake.