The thing about butter, is that it tastes really good.
Over the past couple of decades or more, the general attitude towards butter has been in tremendous flux, vacillating from treasured and essential staple, to the root of all heart-health evils. In the 1980s butter was a bad word in many kitchens and restaurants, and in Jewish homes the issue was made even more complex by the Kashrut (the adherence to which dictates that Jews not mix milk and meat at the same meal, therefore preventing many a buttery desert from being served post-meat meal).
My own relationship was even further complicated by various eating doctrines I subscribed to throughout my teens, and early adulthood, but I am happy to say that along with the general changing attitude towards butter (though, I like to think of myself as being slightly ahead of the curve), I have now long-accepted that like most natural ingredients, butter is a wonderful thing that can and should be used in moderation, and with reverence to it’s unique properties as a tenderizer of baked goods, and taste-enhancer of …. just about everything.
This little strawberry cake that come to mind almost every time my husband buys too many off-season strawberries at a wholesale store, would not be the same without butter. As a matter of fact, most simple cakes, including buttermilk and upside-down, which have few ingredients, need butter to make them worth making and eating.
Simple Strawberry Cake
I’ll admit, I think this cake has a lot of sugar (and I often cut the amount down by a 1/4 or 1/3 of a cup). It’s also worth noting that I do not make this with summer, peak-season strawberries, as it would be a waste of their flavor (just eat them). This cake is for those less-than-perfect strawberries found in your market’s refrigerated section in winter-time. After trying them, you can decide how much sugar you need.
1.5 cups spelt flour (you can use all purpose)
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 TBS softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg (I use an egg sub because of my daughter’s allergy: 1 TBS oil, 1 TBS water, 1 tsp bkg powder, mixed)
1/2 cup milk (I use soy/rice/oat)
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups hulled, halved strawberries
Preheat the oven to 350 (180 C?), butter an 8 inch square pan or a 9 inch pie dish, set aside.
Sift the flour and bkg powder, set aside.
With an electric mixer or a wooden spoon cream the butter and sugar well. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the milk, mix well. Fold in the dry ingredients and spread the (thick) batter into the baking pan– I use a small offset spatula to level it. Now press the strawberries into batter slightly, cut side down, arranging them evenly over the top of the cake.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes.