This is my new, spring version of our beloved Quince Cake that started from a recipe of an apple cake/sharlotka by Darra Goldstein. This very easy, wonderful cake has become our go-to winter treat and I was making it all the time.
Now that strawberries appeared in the market, I adapted Darra’s basic recipe for this early spring fruit.
For a 9-inch round cake –or equivalent square, or 1 large or 2 small loaves
700 grams strawberries, stemmed and sliced, plus a few more for decoration the cake
Olive oil for rubbing the pan
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher salt)
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup raisins
Grand Marnier Liqueur (optional)
Strawberry jam (optional)
Coarsely chopped pistachios
Place the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F degrees (180 C).
Line with parchment paper the pan (or pans) that you will use for the cake, and lightly rub with olive oil, then sprinkle with half the almonds.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and salt on medium-high speed until thick and pale yellow, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Gradually add the flour into the egg mixture, and gently fold with a spatula until just combined and no flour streaks remain. The batter will be quite thick.
Mix the sliced strawberries with the raisins and the rest of the almonds.
Spread half the strawberries in an even, compact layer at the bottom of the pan. Cover with half the batter and use an offset spatula to spread the batter evenly over the fruit. Repeat with the remaining strawberry and batter. Gently tap the pan a few times against the counter to get rid of air bubbles, and transfer to the oven.
Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out almost clean and the top of cake is golden brown.
Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes, then gently run a knife around the perimeter to loosen and carefully invert the pan on a platter and let cool completely.
Sprinkle with some liqueur and then spread a layer of strawberry jam over the cake, if you like. Decorate with the reserved strawberries and sprinkle with pistachios before cutting to serve.