Two punnets of strawberries for a 9” cake might sound a bit mad, but trust me, there’s a reason for this: 1) as they cook, they shrivel up, so what looks like an excessive amount is actually just right to get nice big wodges of tart strawberry in each bite. 2) this cake takes slightly longer to cook than a typical cake of the same size—close to an hour—and this time allows the strawberries to first start to collapse and then completely buckle around the batter. Thereby contributing to said jamminess.
As per my usual mode and mood with baked goods, I reduced the amount of sugar by half of what the original recipe calls for. We found this to be perfect, but then again we find most baked goods/desserts cloyingly sweet. I would suggest getting a taste of the batter before baking so you can adjust sweetness according to your palate. This has more of a tea cake level of sweetness than a dessert cake one if that offers any clarification. Strawberries in question need to be fresh (frozen, even if thawed would make the batter too wet.) If you’re experiencing “winter” in Chennai they’re at their peak now and also considerably cheaper, so it’s the perfect time to bake with them! (And squirrel away for the year. Just sayin’.)
By all means fan out the strawberries neatly over the top before baking. I obviously didn’t and am not cut out for such things, but as long as they’re in an even layer over the top this won’t affect the taste at all. To be honest, I wouldn’t have even attempted this if it mattered. I’ve said in the recipe that you need to cool the cake down completely before slicing. This is unfortunately necessary since slicing into a hot/warm cake would result in it falling apart. But here’s a nifty way around this: (purists look away) stick it under a fan for a bit to cool it down faster.
(LOW-SUGAR) JAMMY STRAWBERRY CAKE
- 400 grams strawberries
- 1 ½ cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
- 75 grams unsalted butter, at room temp (plus more to butter the pan)
- ½ cup (100 grams) + 2 tsp granulated sugar
- ½ cup (120 ml) milk
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 180 C. Butter the bottom and sides of your baking dish. An 8 - 9” dish of any kind would work.
- Remove the leaves and stems of the strawberries. Halve the smaller ones and quarter the larger ones, both lengthwise.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
- Cream ½ cup sugar and butter together using an electric whisk for 3-4 mins until pale and fluffy. You can also use a handheld whisk here which will take about 7 mins.
- Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and whisk for another minute. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, a little at a time, and whisk only just until it comes together. Don’t over-whisk at this stage.
- Tip the batter into your baking dish and top with the strawberries in a single layer. Sprinkle remaining sugar over the top.
- Bake in the bottom shelf of the oven for 50-60 mins until the cake is cooked through. Remove and cool for at least an hour before slicing. (Place under a fan to cool it down faster).