Sunday, April 5, 2009

Old Fashioned Cake that Never Goes out of Style

You know something is good when you just can't stop talking about it; to the point where people start wondering if you're crazy or the cake really is that awesome. My mom and I visited Ramekins Bed & Breakfast and Cooking School in Sonoma last weekend. We participated in 3 classes: Splendor of Spring, Gnocchi & Ravioli Making and Thai Food. Although I felt like I had eaten for 3 that weekend, the scenery in Sonoma was amazing and the cooking classes were definitely worth those 5 extra pounds I'd be taking back to San Francisco with me.

The Splendor of Spring Class was my favorite. It elegantly incorporated Spring flavors into pretty basic recipes. One of the recipes was this amazing Old Fashioned Rhubarb Cake. Like a lot of the recipes I blog about, this cake can take on many personalities - from the fruit you mix into it to the sauce you top it off with. Although it calls for Rhubarb, we used strawberries. There was also the discussion of using peaches come peach season. But, really, the possibilities are endless. Once you perfect the basic dough, you are golden.

Old Fashioned Cake with Minted Strawberry Sauce
adapted from Therese Nugent's Recipe, March 2009
Sauce Ingredients
1 16 ounce basket fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh mint, minced

Cake Ingredients
1/2 cup spectrum shortening at room temperature
1 egg at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups fresh fruit of choice (Rhubarb or Strawberries), chopped

For the crackle topping
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar

For the sauce: In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and stir in the mint. Cover and chill until cold, best if chilled over night.

For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13'' baking dish with shortening and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine shortening, egg, buttermilk, vanilla extract and the 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar. Mix together well. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix well. Fold in the fruit and spread the batter in a baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar. Sprinkle the topping over the batter (you may not use it all). Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake taster inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve slices of cake with a heaping scoop of the mint strawberry sauce. You will never forget it!

Psst... the best way to hull strawberries while preserving the most fruit, is with a tomato shark

1 comment:

Chrissa said...

That looks yummy!