A simple and delicious strawberry buttermilk cake studded with sweet strawberries and topped with fluffy whipped cream and more syrupy, macerated berries. This everyday buttermilk cake is made with whole grain flour, comes together quickly and is the quintessential spring or summer treat!
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.
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.”
The simplicity (and perhaps obviousness) of her words resonated with me in a powerful way.
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!
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).
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…Print