“The best thing about a whole wheat cake is that you can eat it for breakfast,” The Astronomer announced the other morning as he cut himself a hefty slice for the most important meal of the day. While I didn’t set out to bake a “breakfast cake” with this whole wheat and strawberry number, I encouraged The Astronomer to do as he pleased. I mean, people eat doughnuts for breakfast, right? This is far more virtuous.
With its hunks of juicy strawberries and simple sweet batter, this cake is fit for just about any occasion. It can be served straight from the oven for a rustic brunch or fancied up with a dollop of whipped cream for a dinner party send off. This little cake’s versatility knows no bounds.
The best part of the cake for me is the turbinado sugar that’s sprinkled on top before it goes into the oven. The heat melds the crystals with the batter, transforming it into a crunchy, caramelized topping that contrasts terrifically with the moist cake and tart fruit.
While the whole wheat pastry flour called for in this recipe can easily be swapped out for all-purpose, I encourage going the whole grain route for its subtly complex flavor and nutritional prowess. Plus, you can eat a slice for breakfast and not think a thing of it. Just ask The Astronomer…
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pie plate
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (5.1 ounces)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.
Put butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in egg, milk, and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to buttered pie plate.
Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down and as close together as possible. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over berries.
Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack. Cut into wedges. Cake can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered, up to 2 days.
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