I've always been a fan of sour cream cakes. They're so moist, and usually a little healthier than all-butter versions. They're also incredibly simple to make and usually travel well - two characteristics that make them ideal for road trips or potlucks. This version can be made with any berry (you may notice that the original, from Gourmet, included blueberries and buttermilk!) but it's especially perfect for showcasing those early summer strawberries (you can actually cut the sugar a bit if you use strawberries - other berries may require the full amount).
In my opinion, one of the best features of this cake is the lovely, crackly sugar 'crust' that forms during baking. It provides a great contrast to the softness interior and the juiciness of the strawberries. If you're planning on making this cake well ahead of time, I recommend popping it in the oven for a few minutes before serving to crisp up the top again. Then you can just eat it as-is, allow it to cool, or drench the whole thing in pouring cream (can you guess which one I'd do?). Of course, with a cake this summery and simple, you can hardly go wrong!
Strawberry Sour Cream Cake
adapted from this Gourmet recipe
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup sugar, plus extra for topping (you can get away with 1/2 cup for a lighter version)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 - 1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1-2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan (or two small loaf pans). Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and eggs until well mixed. Stir in sour cream.
Bake until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn cake onto a wire rack to cool a further 15 minutes. Finally, invert partially cooled can not a plate to serve. Serve warm or cold with a drizzle of fresh cream.
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