Strawberry Summer Sheet Cake

I know strawberry season is long gone but if I don’t blog this Strawberry Summer Sheet Cake now it’ll sit in my draft folder for years and never see the light of day. So just agree to save this for next spring/summer, OK? Great.

To blog

I went through a baking phase this summer, fueled mostly by all the amazing produce (fruit) available. We’d buy way more than we could eat in a week, so by Thursday I’d be Googling recipes for overripe fruit. We shared all the spoils with friends and they seemed very happy about it, so it was a win-win.

This cake was so good. Oof. Just looking at the photo again is making me wistful. It wasn’t overly sweet, which we loved. The berries really shone through and the cake itself was moist and delicate. We didn’t do this, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream would be perfect on top of a slice. Or a dusting of powdered sugar. Or whipped cream.

Strawberry Summer Sheet Cake
From Smitten Kitchen

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 pounds of the freshest, even a touch overripe, strawberries, hulled and halved
Vanilla ice cream, powdered sugar or whipped cream, for serving

Heat your oven to 350°F.

Lightly coat the sides and corners of a 9×13-inch pan with butter or nonstick spray, and fit the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat butter, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, yolk, and vanilla and beat until combined. Add milk and mix until (updated) combined; it may look a little curdled but don’t fret, it will smooth out in a minute. Sprinkle baking powder evenly over batter and beat into batter for 20 seconds longer than will seem necessary — this ensures it’s perfectly distributed. Scrape down the bowl. Add flour and beat or stir until just combined.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Arrange strawberries cut side down, as snugly as you can get them to fit. If you have extra, nudge them in anyway. Leave no strawberries behind. Sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar — it will seem like a lot but helps the strawberries get jammy and gives the cake a great texture.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out free of wet batter (gooey strawberries are a given and doesn’t mean it’s under baked) — about 45 to 48 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into squares and serve.

Do ahead: Cake is even better a half- to a full day later, when the strawberries marry with better with the cake.