Strawberry Upside-down Pound Cake

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Serves 10 | start to finish: 1 1/2 hours

Springtime rewards us for our patience with luscious strawberries straight from the garden or market. Left uneaten for a couple of days, however, their shiny plumpness begins to fade. Layered into a simple upside-down pound cake though, strawberries don’t need to be perfect. Baking turns tired strawberries luxuriously jammy—especially combined with brown sugar and black pepper, which intensifies the flavor of the berries. After baking and flipping this cake, prepare to love strawberries in a whole new way. Serve with more sliced fresh berries, and even a scoop of ice cream, to create a multidimensional strawberry celebration.

Leftover cake can be covered and kept at room temperature or in the refrigerator. To serve the next day, slice the leftovers and toast for 2 minutes on a cookie sheet under a broiler. It will taste great this way for up to a week. This recipe can be made gluten-free with an easy substitute of g-f flour mix.

1 cup unsalted butter, divided
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups cake flour or gluten-free flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Baking Flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced strawberries, plus 1-pint strawberries, sliced, for serving
1 pint strawberry ice cream, if desired, for serving

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Blend together 1/2 cup of the butter and the sugar with an electric mixer. Gradually bring the mixer to high speed and cream the butter and sugar for at least 1 minute, until the color and texture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice, scraping the sides of the bowl. Beat in the whipping cream and salt. Gently stir in the flour until just mixed. Set the bowl of batter aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, or using a microwave, melt the second 1/2 cup of butter. Stir the brown sugar and black pepper together in a small bowl. Pour the butter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 -inch loaf pan and dip a paper towel in the butter to grease the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan, then layer the sliced berries flat until the bottom is completely covered.

Spoon the cake batter over the berries and gently smooth the top. Bake for 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven. Run a knife around the edge and invert onto a serving platter while the cake is still hot and the strawberry topping is loose. Scrape out any jammy bits and spoon on top. Serve warm or at room temperature, with sliced strawberries and strawberry ice cream.

vegetarian ● gluten-free, if made with gluten-free flour


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