Strawberries are in season and this cake is a simple yet delicious way of serving them. It is an Italian recipe without whipped cream like in this strawberry cake and I reduced the amount of sugar, so it is quite light. In Italy this type of cake is often served for breakfast, but it is also great as a dessert or with a cup of tea or coffee.
I used essential oil of lemon instead of lemon zest, because I got it as a gift. It works very well, as the essential oil inside the lemon zest is why you add it.
For 8 servings, makes a 24 cm (9.5″) cake
300 grams (.66 lb) hulled strawberries (so you need a bit more to start with)
110 grams (2/3 cup) pastry flour + more for the pan
70 grams (1/2 cup) potato starch
80 grams (6 Tbsp) butter + more for the pan
120 grams (2/3 cup) sugar
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (omit if using Italian lievito per dolci baking powder, which already contains vanilla)
grated zest of 1 lemon, or 1/2 tsp essential oil of lemon
Melt 80 grams of butter and allow to cool somewhat.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Combine 3 eggs and 120 grams sugar in a food processor, stand mixer fitted with a whisk, or in a bowl with an electric mixer.
Beat the sugar and eggs until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
In the meantime, hull the strawberries. Slice larger ones in quarters and smaller ones in halves. You will need enough to cover the area of the baking pan in a single layer.
When the eggs are fluffy and the butter has cooled sufficiently (to prevent cooking the eggs), add the melted butter to the eggs. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and grated zest of a lemon (or 1/2 teaspoon essential oil of lemon). Beat briefly to incorporate.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl (if it wasn’t in a bowl already) and sift 110 grams of pastry flour, 70 grams of potato starch, and 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder into the bowl.
Stir gently with a wooden spoon from below, trying to keep as much air in the batter as possible…
…just until you see no more dry flour.
Butter and flour a 24 cm (9.5″) springform pan.
Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan, leveling the top with a spatula.
Arrange the strawberries on top, cut side down. Try to avoid pushing the strawberries into the batter as much as possible.
Bake the cake at 180C/350F until it is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into it comes out clean, 30 to 45 minutes.
Allow the cake to cool before removing the springform.
You can make the cake look more pretty by sprinkling with icing sugar (use a sieve).
This is great with Moscato d’Asti or even better with Brachetto d’Acqui, its lesser known red brother. An Eiswein or icewine would also be great.
We had these Taiwanese oyster cakes as street food in Taiwan, and I recreated the recipe at home using fresh oysters rather than canned.