I’m not so secretly obsessed with Smitten Kitchen. I feel like I’m friends with Deb. We get along really well. We hang out in the kitchen. She always has an answer for any of my questions. She always lets me know what the perfect side dish or appetizer is. Of course she knows none of this, but it still happens on a fairly regular basis. (Hi, my name is Clare and I’m crazy… Yes, also true.)
I saw her recipe for a Strawberry Summer Cake the same day I had acquired 6.5 pounds of strawberries. Just as I was pondering ‘What exactly does one do with six and a half pounds of strawberries?’, Deb once again had an answer. Me and my strawberries were ready for some serious baking.
But before you get down to serious baking, everyone knows you require a serious apron. This one probably ranks number 2 in my current rotation of serious aprons. Number 1 being my amazingly awesome historic Hungarian mustache apron, but to be fair, nothing can compete historic Hungarian facial hair. It’s just a fact. I got my awesome hummus apron at Greenwich Market last year when I was back visiting London and it was definitely a very worthwhile investment.
One of the reasons I started this blog, was to take away the mystery of gluten-free cooking. I wanted to show that it is actually pretty easy to adapt your favorite recipes to a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free baking however, still remains quite an adventure. The difference between ‘regular’ all-purpose wheat flour and a gluten-free substitute is marginal when you only need to use a tablespoon here or there, but when substituting several cups, things can be a bit trickier. In my experience, gluten-free flour is much more temperamental when it comes to baking. Some flour combinations will bake a lot faster than their wheat-based counterparts, which generally results in some kind of burnt inedible blob or they bake much, much, m u c h slower. I swear there is no middle ground on this.
For this recipe I did a straight swap of 1.5 cups of Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Baking Flour. When I was mixing the dry and wet ingredients together, it seemed like it was taking a lot longer than mixing had taken me in the past when I was using wheat based flour. As a result the mixture was quite aerated and ‘fluffy’ by the time I was done. This also meant that when I put the cake in the oven, it puffed up an awful lot as it was baking. I was a bit concerned about it spilling over, but luckily it didn’t. When I took the cake out of the oven, it turned out the batter had puffed up over the strawberries and the sugar that I had sprinkled on top had made a nice little crust (like creme brulee style) on top of the cake. Definitely not intentional, but a very pleasant surprise. I served up the slices with a bit of whipped cream that had some brown sugar and vanilla mixed in for a little extra flavah (hence the funky looking color in the picture).
I would definitely make this cake again, but I would be careful to not over beat the batter and I would also add a lot more strawberries. You could taste the strawberries in there, but they kind of got a little lost after a couple bites.