Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Feelin' Fruity

Its getting to be that time of year, and even though Mother Nature is clearly trying to piss me off, Spring is still on its way. One sure sign of spring (at least around here) is the arrival of strawberries in the local stores. I do love me some strawberries.

I picked up a quart box the other day, intending to eat them immediately for breakfast and got sidetracked. I re-discovered them in my fridge yesterday morning, starting to look, well, less than appealing. Still quite edible, just not quite so pretty. You know what I mean, I know you do. And, very often, berries like this get wasted.

Not in my house.

All this means is that its time to make Strawberry Upside-Down Cake. And, shockingly, my husband loves it. Go figure.

I picked up this recipe years and years ago, in the land-of-my-former-life from a co-worker in my directory assistance operator days. It fits in quite well with my repertoire of ever-so-easy recipes. Plus, as a bonus, it lets me use up aging berries from the fridge. I have also done this with other fruits, but strawberry is by far my favorite, as the berries break down very nicely and practically absorb into the cake.

Strawberry Upside-Down Cake
1 boxed white cake mix, batter prepared according to directions on the box
1 quart (more or less) strawberries, cleaned and halved or quartered (depending on their size)
1/2 pint heavy cream (or one cup if you keep a giant carton in the fridge like I do)

Here's the hard part (can you sense the sarcasm?): put the strawberries in the bottom of a baking pan.... 8x8, 9x13, or somewhere in between. Use whatever size pan is the right size to accommodate the amount of berries you have. In this case, my pan was an odd size, about 8x11. Just try to spread them out so its a nice, even layer. You do NOT need to grease the pan.
Pour the prepared cake batter evenly over the berries.

Drizzle the cream over the cake batter, so that it is evenly distributed over the cake. If you pour slowly, it will just sink right down into the batter. Don't stress out if it doesn't look gorgeous, or if you slop it around a bit. It will be fiiiiiine. Even if you just dump it all on top in a puddle. It will still be ok.

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. You'll need to leave it in longer if you use a smaller pan (because the batter is deeper). When you check it for doneness, just give the pan a jiggle and if it doesn't wiggle in the middle anymore, its probably done.
Here's the important part. Let the cake REST. You can eat it hot, but it will be more like strawberry cake pudding because the hot berries that have been stewing in their juices will slosh all over the place and the cake will fall apart. Still tasty, but not pretty or easy to serve. I have, however, spooned this over vanilla ice cream before, and it is quite nice.
If you let the cake cool down, even leaving it in the fridge overnight, the berries will gelatinize (is that a word?) and absorb back into the cake. And it will look like this:
Serve this with a nice dollop of whipped cream and you have one wonderful (and easy) springtime recipe. And you don't have to waste those ugly berries. You can't tell they were starting to turn now, can you?
Here's the funny part: The hubs very excitedly asked if this was for him to take to work the next day, and I said yes. But this morning, he forgot to take it. Guess what I'LL be having after lunch today.....BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAAAAAA!!!!

1 comment:

NV said...

I am so with you on this. We're on our second carton of the two I bought earlier this week. They were too beautiful to walk past. And they taste as good as they look!