Is this not the most beautiful cake?! And just wait until you taste it, I’m thinking this is the perfect Mother’s Day dessert. I’ll get to the recipe soon, but first a little about the star of the show, strawberries!
If you haven’t noticed from social media yet, it’s Strawberry picking time! A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a “Strawberry School” at Wagner Berry Farms conducted by my friend and mentor, Tammy Algood with Pick Tennessee Products (check out http://www.picktnproducts.org to find local strawberry farms in your area). Tammy is the southern cooking queen, and she has played a huge role in this crazy cooking journey I’m on. She actually introduced me to her book agent, who is now my agent and the talented man who came up with the concept for The Outdoor Table. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of hers, and I’m so incredibly thankful for her generosity and wisdom.
Now back to the berries. Strawberry season here in Tennessee starts in May and runs through late June, it’s pretty short and sweet. So, I wanted to share 5 takeaways I had from the class, that will hopefully allow you to get the most out of these delicious local berries!
It’s amazing the difference in the store bought berries compared to freshly picked. Did you know that it is logistically impossible to buy a ripe strawberry from a grocery store? (Find out why in my 5 tips below) Not only will you get the best berries locally, it’s also a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors with your family. Oh and once you get them picked, go home bake up my Strawberry Upside Down Cake!
5 Tips for Strawberry Picking and Storage
- Strawberries do not ripen after they are harvested. Once you pick the berry, it won’t continue to ripen like some other fruits, so be sure to pick the ripest berries you can find!
- The ripest strawberries to pick should be red from the tip to the cap (where the stem is). Leave those green tipped berries on the vine!
- Store your berries in a single layer, on a jelly roll pan, in your refrigerator for the longest shelf life.
- DO NOT pre wash the berries and then store them, wash them right before eating/serving. This will prolong shelf life and keep them from molding prematurely.
- The shelf life of a strawberry is about a week from the time it is picked. This is why strawberries in a super market, usually from California are rarely at their peak. The ripest berries from huge farms actually go into juice anyway, not into the cartons for consumers.
Since Mother’s Day is this Sunday, I thought that this Strawberry Upside Down Cake would be appropriate this week. I mean what mom doesn’t love cake and strawberries?! Oh and it simply must be served warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Okay, my mouth is watering.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mommas out there. Now that I am a mom myself, I can appreciate this day more than ever. Enjoy!
Strawberry Upside Down Cake
makes 8 servings
- 10 tablespoons of butter, divided
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 3/4 white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a 9inch cast iron skillet over medium heat.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter and then arrange the strawberry slices evenly on top. Remove the skillet form the heat and set aside.
- Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and place in a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar until well mixed. Stir in the almond extract, eggs, and buttermilk.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly mix the flour mixture in the buttermilk mixture. Pour the batter over the strawberries, and spread it evenly to the edges of the skillet.
- Bake the cake for 28-30 minutes, until a wooden pick comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, and then place a serving plate upside down on top of the pan, and invert the cake onto the plate. Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping.
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