A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Sherry Lucas, the food writer for our local newspaper, who asked if I’d like to be the subject of an article. Though naturally camera-shy (as well as people-shy), I agreed, and when she suggested that I cook a dish using something seasonal, my very first thought was strawberries.
Besides being pretty (I hoped the photographer would be smitten by them and forget to take any photos of me), juicy strawberries from Florida have been available in our grocery stores for the past few weeks, and we’ve been able to get Louisiana strawberries since early February from “The Strawberry Man,” a farmer from my hometown in Louisiana who drives them up every day to sell from the back of his truck.
So I set to work on making the best, low-fat strawberry dessert I could, baking 4 different versions of the same recipe…and gaining 5 pounds in the process! All the experimenting paid off; the final version was light and tender. But after all that cooking, testing, and tasting, the newspaper chose to use the other recipe I made–a quinoa and asparagus dish–in the article.
Never fear–the newspaper’s loss is your gain. I’ve got the recipe, as well as these photos of the cake, right here! Be warned that though fat-free, it’s no health food because of the sugar and white flour. But sometimes during strawberry season, we just have to indulge ourselves a little.
Strawberry Snack Cake
I call this a "special occasion" cake because of its sugar content. Even without the strawberry topping, it's a moist, delicious vanilla cake. Using soy yogurt makes it the most delicious, but apple sauce can be substituted in a pinch.
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup soy or other non-dairy yogurt see note
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup vanilla soymilk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 pound strawberries stemmed and sliced
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
Mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add yogurt, vanilla, water, soymilk, and lemon juice. Mix until just blended–do not overmix. Pour into oiled 8×8-inch pan and bake at 350 F until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely.
Combine the strawberries, cornstarch, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until sauce boils and thickens. Spread over top of cake. May be served warm or chilled.
If you can't find unflavored non-dairy yogurt, you can use any fruit flavor and decrease the sugar by a couple of tablespoons. If you're not following a strict no-oil diet, you can use 1/4 cup yogurt and 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil for a more tender cake; add 20 calories and 2.5 grams of fat per serving.
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