If you do not like the traditional fruit cake served during end of year festivities, I’m pretty sure you will not say no to this gorgeous fresh strawberry cake which does, after all, count as ‘fruit cake’. Without the heavy mixture of dried raisins, cherries and nuts soaked liberally in rum or brandy, this super simple summer dessert, from Once Upon a Chef, works well especially if you live in a tropical paradise like Mauritius. Here, we celebrate the festive season under the scorching sun lazing on the beach around a family BBQ, though many are now turning towards pre-ordered or packaged food when cooking for a crowd. While you can forget about making the starters and main dishes yourself, please do not rely on ice cream to create the illusion of dessert. It totally ruins the end of what could have been a perfect meal, so please invest some time and effort into a homemade dessert if you plan to invite guests home this weekend.

SUMMER STRAWBERRY CAKE

Ingredients:

3/4 + 2 tablespoons cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

100g unsalted butter, softened

7 tablespoons caster sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup full cream milk

250g strawberries, hulled

1 tablespoon demerara sugar

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease 9-inch deep dish pie pan or 9-inch square cake pan.

  • Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter.

  • Add 1 cup sugar and beat until pale and fluffy for about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla.

  • Beat on low speed until well combined. Gradually add flour mixture, alternating with milk.

  • Beat on low speed until it is smooth and thick, then transfer cake batter into prepared pan.

  • Smooth the cake surface with a spatula and arrange the strawberries on top, cut side down.

  • They should completely cover the batter. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

  • Bake for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F and bake till the cake is lightly golden.

  • Serve the cake warm with sweetened whipped cream or plain vanilla ice cream, if desired.

  • The cake can be stored at room temperature for several days, loosely covered. Serves 4-6.

Strawberry Summer Cake