Fruity and fabulous

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

For a cooking class I taught at the North Market in June, I made a wonderful strawberry cake. It was a simple homemade cake batter, dotted with fresh strawberries, liberally sprinkled with sugar, and baked.

The results were fantastic. The berries became beautiful concentrated gems of sweetness and the cake baked up crunchy on top, light and fluffy below.

Local strawberry season is long past, but you can use this same recipe with other fruits, such as fall raspberries, peaches or plums. And be sure to save this recipe for next spring when strawberries are back!

Fruit-topped cake

Makes 8 servings

6 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pound fresh ripe fruit such as raspberries, halved strawberries or pitted cherries, or pitted sliced peaches, nectarines, or plums

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate. Place pie plate on a baking sheet.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Combine butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment if you have one). Mix on medium 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 dry ingredients. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Arrange fruit on top of batter, as close together as possible. Sprinkle fruit with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

Place baking sheet with pie pan in the oven. Bake until the cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Transfer pie plate to wire rack. Cool and cut into wedges.

Robin Davis is food editor of The Columbus Dispatch. She oversees the Food section, published each Wednesday, which features recipes, question-and-answer columns and reviews of cookbooks, wines and local eateries.