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Strawberry Upside-Down Cake

June 16, 2012

Summer time makes me want to sit in the bed of a pick up truck and blast country music. It makes me want to go to baseball games, lounge by pools, and go swimming in cool ocean waters. And it makes me want to frolic around in sundresses and pick strawberries.

Full disclosure: I didn’t pick these strawberries. In fact, I don’t even know if they grow strawberries in Massachusetts. I’ll have to look into it.

But I do know that Trader Joe’s had a killer deal on strawberries last weekend and I picked up two lbs of them. I wanted to drown myself in the sweet red strawberries. I had dreams about all the things I was going to create, bake, and eat… strawberries on my yogurt, strawberries on my frozen yogurt, strawberries in my cake….

Last year I made an awesome Strawberry Coffee Cake that was very popular with my friends. But I wanted to make something new. While searching the same blog where I found that coffee cake, I found this strawberry upside-down cake, and I knew I had to make it right away. As the cake baked in my oven, the smell of butter and brown sugar and strawberries (HEAVEN!) wafted through my apartment and I just wished I could bottle that scent up and keep it in my kitchen all the time.

Here’s the problem with upside-down cakes. All the goodness is on the bottom. And in theory, the amount of butter in that goodness is supposed to let the cake fall easily from the pan. Sometimes though, life doesn’t go as planned. Exhibit A: cake fail.

As you can tell, the ugliness of the cake did not keep my downstairs neighbor and I from devouring several pieces of the still warm cake. FORTUNATELY- I had the smarts to make not one but two of these suckers. And while my impatience was punished with an ugly (yet still quite delicious) cake, cake number two came out beautifully and made cake number one’s failure much less upsetting. I think this cake is technically meant to be served as dessert, but I found it equally great as breakfast paired with some greek yogurt.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Upside-Down Cake

adapted from Joy the Baker

For the Topping:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup sliced strawberries

For the Cake:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2/3 cup sour cream (I substituted fat free greek yogurt)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

I used an 9-inch round with 1.5 inch tall sides.

Place butter in the cake pan and place in the oven.  When butter is melted, remove pan from the oven.  Tilt the pan to coat the bottom and sides with the butter. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed.  Cream until slightly pale and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula, and add the egg and vanilla extract.  Beat for 1 minute.

Scrape  down the bowl again, then add the dry ingredients.  Beat on low while adding the sour cream.  Beat until the flour and sour cream are just incorporated. The batter will be pretty thick.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and scraped the bowl once more with a spatula.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar into the melted butter in the cake pan.  Sprinkle strawberry slices over the butter and sugar in a single layer.  Spoon batter over the strawberries and spread evenly with a spatula.  Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cake rest for 15 minutes (BE PATIENT!). Run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert the cake onto a plate.  Best served warm, but also devoured quickly by coworkers at room temperature.

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