Every year on May 21, we celebrate a dessert that just screams spring. National Strawberry and Cream Day brings together two favorites: fresh ripe strawberries and homemade whipped cream. While that alone makes a divine dessert, let’s add a lightly sweet, vanilla-scented, easy-to-make scratch cake and we just won a life.
These bright red beauties are the first fruits to ripen in the spring, so it shouldn’t be surprising that May is National Strawberry Month. Strawberries grow all over the world and there are over 600 varieties. Known as a “wellness food”, each bite contains high levels of vitamin C, fiber, folic acid and potassium.
The ancient Romans saw this medicinal value and believed that strawberries cured melancholy, fainting, inflammation, fevers, throat infections, kidney stones, bad breath, gout attacks and blood diseases, liver and spleen. In medieval England, strawberries and sour cream were customary for newlyweds for their wedding breakfast. It is a remarkably busy bay.
By the way, the Environment Working Group publishes each year a list of the “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables most contaminated by pesticides. Strawberries are a staple on this list and are included in the 2021 Buyer’s Guide to Pesticides in Products. If you can, buy this fruit organically, or better yet, grow your own.
But a conventionally grown strawberry is always better for you than an organic donut.
This cake is a classic Great Depression era recipe called Hot Milk Cake. It is a buttery sponge cake made with scalded milk and has a characteristic fine-grained texture, like a pound cake. Recipes from the Depression Era were often created out of necessity due to a lack of ingredients and may fall into the shadow of their pre and post depression counterparts. But this original recipe stands up to any vanilla cake recipe.
I added optional frosting to top the cake; it adds another layer of flavor but it’s perfectly delicious without it.
This light and airy recipe is perfect for all your summer receptions. Add blueberries and we have a patriotic dessert for Independence Day. Add sliced peaches later in the summer when they’re juicy and ripe for late summer perfection. You can cut the cake into cubes and layer the ingredients in a small bowl for a spectacular presentation. Or make picnic-perfect individual servings in mason jars for the trip.
While National Strawberry and Cream Day is this Friday, it doesn’t matter how, when, or why, you can’t beat strawberries and cream on a hot milk cake.
HOT MILK CAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM
What you will need:
2 pounds of strawberries
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
2 cups of granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
½ cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of yeast
½ teaspoon of salt
Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar, ?? cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
1½ cup heavy cream, chilled
3 tablespoons of sugar
1½ teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of amaretto liqueur, optional
Hull and cut the strawberries into quarters, mix them with the sugar and place in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 350 F, and grease and flour a standard Bundt pan (or two 8-inch round pans or one 9-by-13-inch pan).
In large bowl or blender, cream eggs and sugar until thinning, 3 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk and butter until the butter is melted and bubbles begin to form around the edge of the saucepan. Do not bring to a full boil. When small bubbles appear, remove from heat.
Beating continuously, slowly pour hot milk into egg mixture until incorporated. (Do this gradually so as not to scramble the eggs. No one will like it.) Add the vanilla extract.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, then gradually mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Pour batter into your Bundt pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, place a metal bowl and whiskers in the freezer to prepare for whipping the cream. If you choose to add the frosting, in a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract.
Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter. If using, sprinkle the top of the cake and let sit.
Combine whipped cream ingredients in metal bowl and beat until soft peaks form.
To serve: Stack strawberries and whipped cream and face plants till all that glorious goodness.
Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is a recipe creator and food editor for the “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Website. Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org.