So many of our favorite fruits pop into season as quickly as they fade out (I’m thinking about you, figs and persimmons!). When it comes to berries, we tend to think of summer as their only season to shine. While that may be true for the likes of blueberries and blackberries, it’s simply not the case for strawberries. In California, the strawberry growing season runs year round and the 400+ California farmers that grow strawberries provide the United States with 90% of the strawberries that we find poised and pretty on store shelves. Did you know this? All of the above is what makes strawberries my go-to berry throughout the year, whether fresh, baked, cooked, sautéed, stewed or roasted – or particularly perfect for a Strawberry Cardamom Torte.
I’ve become more and more comfortable over the years using strawberries in both sweet (naturally) and savory dishes; not just during the sultry summer but also when we’re bundled up in sweaters during the cooler months. They’re a gorgeous addition when simply fresh-cut and thrown into a salad….think of fun ingredients like goat cheese and pepitas to pair with them. Quickly roasted strawberries just as easily top crostini for a delicious starter or vanilla bean ice cream as a cozy dessert. Not only are strawberries beautiful to look at with their vibrant color, but they are also loaded with vitamins and have half (half!) the sugar of many fruits, including apples.
So it should come as no surprise that this fall I wanted to create a stunning dessert and I turned to strawberries to make that happen. I re-created one of my most favorite recipes, the amazing New York Times Plum Torte by Marian Burros. I had visions of a puffed up cake, dotted with bright, fresh strawberries and in a nod to the seasonal change, I wanted to pair it with the warm spice of cardamom. This torte is so easy to throw together and comes out looking stunning every time. I hope it will grace your table each fall, winter, or any season the mood strikes.
Next time you’re trying to create a dessert that dazzles, think about adding strawberries as the star of the show no matter what time of the year!
Check out more California Strawberry Recipes here!
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- About 30 strawberry halves, cleaned and hulled
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp each cinnamon + cardamom for topping
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-inch springform (you can use a different 9-inch baking dish but the springform will deliver the prettiest torte).
- In a medium bowl (or an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment), cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the 2 large eggs and vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add directly on top of the butter mixture the flour, baking powder (I take extra effort to sprinkle the baking powder evenly about) and sea salt. Mix until just combined. This batter is crazy thick…you’ll think it’s wrong, but it’s not.
- Spoon the torte batter into the buttered springform and use the back of the spoon to evenly smooth the batter out to the edges of the pan.
- Place strawberries in a concentric pattern on the torte batter. Do not press them into the batter, just rest them on top. Place them close together; you’ll be surprised how they shrink and sink whilst baking.
- Sprinkle the top of the torte evenly with the 1 tablespoon of sugar, lemon juice, cardamom and cinnamon.
- Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45-50 minutes. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes and run a knife around the edges of the pan before trying to get it out.