August 2, 2016

Whole Grain Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

A simple and delicious Strawberry Buttermilk Cake (made with whole grain flour!) | via forkknifeswoon.com

How is it already August??

I picked those strawberries – whose nubbly, irregular appearance far belies their superior, sweet flavor – from our backyard garden boxes, weeks ago now, and baked this simple strawberry buttermilk cake as a special treat before my husband left for another deployment.

The night before he left, we sat out back in our turquoise adirondack chairs under the patio umbrella as it gently rained around us. It was still warm and the air was thick, in that humid, Summer-y way I mostly remember from living in the South.

We drank wine and ate cake, and lingered in the golden evening light, staying there longer than we normally might, soaking up the evening and each other’s company, and not wanting the day to end. The next morning, I dropped him off on post, then stopped at the market to buy a few bunches of bright, golden sunflowers, to keep things cheerful in his absence.

And I baked another cake.

A simple and delicious Strawberry Buttermilk Cake (made with whole grain flour!) | via forkknifeswoon.com

I’m so thankful for this man of mine, and our life together, but oh, can it be hard sometimes. The deployments, the time apart, the uncertainty and worry, especially for a naturally anxious girl like me.

There are good days and bad when he’s away (mostly good), but with the last few weeks a bit bluer and filled with more moments of overwhelm than usual, I knew that I needed to take a brief hiatus from my normal work schedule to focus on my health. I gave myself permission to step back, to be kind and patient with myself, to focus on healthy eating and exercise and proper sleep – to simply take good care of my mind and body. I’ve been running regularly again, and started back up with yoga a few days a week.

On a recent morning, as the half dozen of us sat cross-legged on our mats in the quiet room, eyes closed, letting the tension release from our jaws, and necks, and shoulders, our instructor began the session with a simple suggestion: “Let go of anything that isn’t serving you.”

Yes. This.

The simplicity (and perhaps obviousness) of her words resonated with me in a powerful way.

A simple and delicious Strawberry Buttermilk Cake (made with whole grain flour!) | via forkknifeswoon.com

Since I chose to leave my hospitality design job a few years ago to pursue working on this blog full time (as well as continue to freelance design), I’ve relentlessly taken on too many projects, said yes to too many things that weren’t serving me, and struggled with balance. The stress and pressure of trying to build my own business, while still being a good wife (and daughter and friend), let alone eating well and exercising often, is still often overwhelming.

These feelings always seem to bubble to the surface more fervently during my husband’s absences, when I spend much more time alone in a suddenly too-big house with my thoughts, and it’s high time I figure out how to really fix it. To let go of what isn’t serving me.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Working on self-improvement, prioritizing and simplifying, getting back to happy, learning to say no, and setting my focus on the things that do serve and fulfill me: family, healthy habits, and creative work, specifically spending more time on the blog (and taking on a lot less freelance work), and creating content that I love (and hope you will to).

More on that to come.

Of course, somehow in the midst of this, time got away from me, as the languid, sun-filled hours and days in the middle of Summer have a way of doing anyway, and that self-prescribed little break turned into a full month away from writing, and being in this space – much longer than planned or expected.

But I’m finally now getting the recipe for this wonderfully simple and tasty strawberry buttermilk cake to you, and it’s a good one, and worth the wait, promise.

Thanks for being here, and bearing with me – I appreciate you so, so much!

A simple and delicious Strawberry Buttermilk Cake (made with whole grain flour!) | via forkknifeswoon.com

Now, let’s talk about cake!

This strawberry buttermilk cake is a quintessential Summer cake. An everyday sort of cake.

Well, if your day happens to include butter and sugar, and those are always the very best days.

The batter comes together quickly, the baking time is short, and the recipe includes simple ingredients you probably already have on hand, save for maybe the buttermilk, which you can fake in a pinch.

The cake base is moist and tender-crumbed (despite being composed entirely of whole grain flour), is studded with berries, and packed with a ton of flavor. The strawberries sink gently into the batter, and the cake emerges from the oven gently risen, with cheerful, sweet berry dimples.

It doesn’t need it, but a generous “frosting” of fresh whipped cream along with a vibrant pile of quick-macerated strawberries on top makes the whole affair a bit fancier, and gives off a celebratory vibe (instead of the leftover cake-for-breakfast scenario that happened in real life).

A simple and delicious Strawberry Buttermilk Cake (made with whole grain flour!) | via forkknifeswoon.com

If almond flour/meal is not something you keep in your pantry, feel free to use entirely spelt flour (or all-purpose) – but know that the almonds do add a nutty, flavorful element that I think is welcome here. I always keep a bag in the freezer for recipes like this, just in case.

Supposing strawberries are out of season where you are, as they’re close to being here in the Pacific Northwest, I’m confident that just about any Summer berry would work here – blueberries or raspberries especially – and slices of fresh peaches or plums would also be lovely. And I’ll definitely be trying apples in the Fall…

A simple and delicious Strawberry Buttermilk Cake (made with whole grain flour!) | via forkknifeswoon.com

Print
A simple and delicious Strawberry Buttermilk Cake (made with whole grain flour!) | via forkknifeswoon.com

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

  • Author: Fork Knife Swoon
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 1 9-inch cake

Ingredients

for the strawberry buttermilk cake

  • 1 cup whole grain spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup + 1 Tbsp organic cane sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered

for serving

  • 2 cups fresh whipped cream
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
  • 2-3 tsp organic cane sugar

Instructions

for the strawberry buttermilk cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the spelt flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a standup mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and 2/3 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about a minute. Beat in the vanilla and egg, until smooth and completely combined.
  4. Add the buttermilk and dry ingredients in three batches on low speed, alternating between each, and beating until just combined after each addition.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and use a spatula to spread evenly from edge to edge. Arrange the strawberries in an even layer on top, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp sugar.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until just golden, and a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then let cool completely on a baking rack.

for serving

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the sliced strawberries and sugar. Let sit for 20 or so minutes, until the strawberries have released their juices, and are syrupy and fragrant.
  2. When the cake has cooled, spread on a thick layer of whipped cream, then top with the macerated strawberries. Slice and serve immediately. Alternatively, serve the whipped cream and strawberries alongside the cake. Enjoy!

 

A simple and delicious Strawberry Buttermilk Cake (made with whole grain flour!) | via forkknifeswoon.com

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. Making a purchase through one of these links pays me a small referral fee at no added cost to you. These tiny fees add up, and help keep the blog running. Thank you for supporting Fork Knife Swoon!

Make this recipe? Let us know what you think!

Comment Policy: Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! The most helpful comments include recipe feedback and ratings, along with information on ingredients you may have added or substituted, or advice to other commenters. Disrespectful or abusive comments will be deleted. I do my best to respond to each and every comment, but it may take me a day or two to get back to your question. Thank you so much for following along!

Leave a Comment & Review

12 Comments

  • Reply
    Mia
    July 22, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Delicious cake! I upped the strawberries in both the cake and the topping. I also subbed honey for the sugar in the whipped cream and added vanilla bean. And I tossed the strawberries in just a pinch of sugar. It was the perfect cake for my 2 year old’s birthday – served 8 beautifully. I will definitely make this again!

    • Reply
      Laura
      August 10, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      Sorry I missed your sweet comment! I’m so happy to hear you and the little ones loved the cake, it’s one of my favorites 🙂 Thanks, Mia!

  • Reply
    Kelly Fitzpatrick
    August 4, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Beautiful cake. Happy to hear from you again!

    • Reply
      Laura
      August 4, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      Thank you, Kelly! 🙂

  • Reply
    Ellie | Hungry by Nature
    August 4, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I’m so happy to have you back Laura. But honestly, I am happier to hear that you listened to your body and your heart and your head and took time for yourself. Sometimes we get so lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life that you forget what it is all for. This cake looks incredible! Wishing your husband a safe tour and travels home.

    • Reply
      Laura
      August 4, 2016 at 11:50 am

      You’re so sweet, Ellie, thank you 🙂

  • Reply
    Lydia Plunk
    August 3, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    This sounds perfect. God keep you and your husband safe until you are in each other’s arms again.

    • Reply
      Laura
      August 4, 2016 at 10:28 am

      Thank you, Lydia! xo

  • Reply
    Patty Bechstein
    August 3, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    I’m glad you’re back, too!! I’ve missed seeing your recipes! This one looks mouth-wateringly devine!

    • Reply
      Laura
      August 4, 2016 at 10:27 am

      Thanks so much, Patty!!

  • Reply
    Joan
    August 2, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    I’m so glad you’re back! And your strawberry cake looks like a perfect summer-afternoon treat!

    • Reply
      Laura
      August 2, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      Thank you so much, Joan!