National Strawberry Day was February 27 and to celebrate, I made this Strawberry-Buttermilk Cake on page 113 in the Bake from Scratch Vol.1 book. This is the first cast-iron skillet cake I have ever made and I will never go back, the crunchy edge the cast-iron gives is the best!
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup whole buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ of a 16-ounce container fresh strawberries, halved
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Spray a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or cake pan with baking spray with flour.
- If you do not have Baker’s Delight or Pam with Flour, I suggest using your regular cooking spray and add about 2 tablespoons of flour inside. Then take the skillet, baking dish, or whatever you are using and turn it around until it is completely coated, to remove the excess flour I will hold it above the sink and hit the back and the excess will fall right out!
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
- For some reason, my butter and sugar did not beat fluffy, I let it beat at medium speed for about 5 minutes then gave up. My guess is that my butter or lemon juice was too cold which caused it to seize a little, however I do not know all of the chemistry behind baking so I don’t know the real reason.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Thankfully, the eggs helped to pull the batter together.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
6. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
7. Beat in vanilla.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, using an off-set spatula to smooth top.
9. Top with strawberries, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- I did not have turbinado sugar so I sprinkled vanilla sugar that I mixed up myself (you can see the tiny vanilla bean specks in the picture). The goal is to have a crunch of sugar on the top, turbinado sugar would have created a thicker crunch since the sugar crystals are much larger (but any sugar would work).
10. Bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
11. Make Lemon Cream
- Lemon is not my favorite flavor, so what I made instead of this Lemon Cream was a Vanilla Bean Cream and it might be my new favorite addition to any dessert. I used the Lemon Cream recipe as a guideline for my new Vanilla Bean Cream, here is the recipe I ended up creating. The original Lemon Cream recipe is linked below and both cream recipes have a recipe card you can download below.
Vanilla Bean Cream
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
⅔ cup powdered sugar
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream and confectioners’ sugar at medium speed until soft peaks form.
- Add vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract, and salt, beating to combine.
12. Serve warm with Lemon Cream
- Or Vanilla Bean Cream or whatever cream recipe you can whip up!
I absolutely love this cake, as I mentioned before, the cast-iron skillet created a crunchy edge on the bottom and sides and the sugar topping created a slight crunch, combined with the strawberries, sweet cake, and vanilla bean cream…. This cake is a definite favorite! Also I have been making this Vanilla Bean Cream with anything that sounds good, chocolate cake, brownies, Tres Leche Cake (instead of meringue on top), you name it, this cream will take your dessert to the next level!