I love May. Not only is it my birthday and Mother’s Day and our anniversary (poor Hubba Bubba – May is a tall order for him), but it’s also the peak season for two of my favorite things. Peonies…
… and strawberries. Double YAY!
I love strawberries plain, all by themselves.
I also love them other ways.
Such as dipped in chocolate.
Or swirled into a milkshake.
But not with spinach in a salad. No thank you.
When we had our friends Jenny & Shane and their super cute almost-4-year-old, Quinn, over for dinner last weekend, I baked a pound cake as a vehicle for two pints of sweet, juicy, gushy strawberries. It was my first time making pound cake — and no offense to Sara Lee, but homemade pound cake is the deal.
By the way, this is NOT “strawberry shortcake.” A true shortcake is crumbly and biscuit-like (and delicious). Being the bossy, oldest-child type who gets hung up on semantics and correctness, I just can’t call this dessert “strawberry shortcake,” even though a lot of lesser-informed people might.
Eleanora loved it and gobbled down a whole plate of it.
They say you are what you eat, and I guess Eleanora was awfully sweet after eating all that pound cake. Because our little friend Quinn kissed her.
And kissed her.
And kissed her.
I basically witnessed my daughter’s very first make-out session. And after being a mom for just 17 months, I learned why parents don’t let their daughters date older guys.
POUND CAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES AND WHIPPED CREAM (pdf)
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking
- 2 C sifted cake flour (sift the flour, THEN measure out 2 Cups)
- 5 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 C sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
Have all ingredients at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan.
Take your sifted flour and then sift it again – twice. (So to summarize everything – first you sift some cake flour, then you measure out 2 Cups. Then you sift that flour again, twice.)
In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. This will take less than a minute. Gradually beat in the sugar and salt. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, beat on high speed for about 4 minutes or until the color and texture are both lightened.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Very gradually (about 1 tablespoon at a time) but constantly, beat the egg mixture into the butter mixture, until it’s light and fluffy. This will take about 4 minutes.
Beating on low speed, add the flour in 3 parts. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed and make sure the mixture is smooth.
Pour the batter into the greased, floured pan and smooth out on top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Joy of Cooking said this would take 60-70 minutes. Mine took about 30 minutes longer than that. So just keep an eye on it, as everyone’s oven is different.
Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for about 20 minutes. Carefully slide a knife around the edges to loosen the cake from the pan, invert the pan to remove the cake, and cool it right-side-up on a rack.
Once cooled, slice the cake and serve with fresh, sliced strawberries and whipped cream. (I sliced my strawberries ahead of time, sprinkled them with sugar, then let them “marinate” for a while in the fridge. That’s how they get a little syrupy. Yum.)