fresh strawberries on a white background
Desserts,  Edible Gardening,  Recipes

Summertime Strawberries

Summertime and hot temperatures are just around the corner, so that means strawberries are perfect for picking.

My wonderful neighbor was so kind by sharing some strawberries with us, her mother picked that same morning.

So fresh and sweet, my husband flashed his beautiful brown eyes and asked for my own, Summertime Strawberry Cake, which I was happy to oblige.

Summertime Strawberry CAke

What is a Strawberry?

Strawberries are a red, sweet, juicy fruit consumed in everything from preserves to milkshakes.

Synonymous with summertime, but able to withstand shipping and storage, small berries tend to taste better than that are larger varieties since larger ones tend to be more watery.

Peak season is from April to September, depending upon the location.

History

The first known strawberry was documented in France during the 14th century.

Wild strawberries were harvested and eventually cultivated in domestic gardens during 18th century Europe.

Originally consumed for medical reasons, Europeans eventually paired strawberries with cream, which incurred a fascination, that explorers would share with the world.

Commercial production did not begin in America until the 19th century.

As settlers moved from east to west, they carried strawberry plants and introduced the plant to new soil, expanding cultivation.

Today, strawberries are the fourth most valuable food crop in the United States.

Advances in planting systems, drip irrigation, and seed propagation have improved the volume production of the crop.

California has the largest strawberry production in the United States.

Cultivation

Strawberry plants are considered a vine.

This means the plant has “runners” which can be cut to either control the size of the plant, or produce “daughter plants,” which would propagate more fruit and more runners.

It is best to plant new seedlings in the fall to allow for proper root development and the formation of “crowns,” while trimming early runners.

Runners can be allowed to grow, making new roots, and forming new plants that would increase fruit production.

Professional Horticulturalist Doug Johnson, Branch Manager MNI Direct
Professional Horticulturalist Doug Johnson, Branch Manager MNI Direct

Plants grow best in moist soil, which is irrigated frequently.

They require very low fertilization and plants can be kept for 3-4 years before replacing.

Best in climates that have warm sunny days and cool nights.

“If planted in the fall, the roots will be better established for summer harvest.  They can be planted in the spring but will require much more stringent attention, as the root system will be very vulnerable,” says horticultural expert Doug Johnson.

Types of Strawberries

According to almanac.com, there are three types of plant

http://www.almanac.com/plant/strawberries

  • Day-Neutral:  Regardless of day length, these varieties produce buds, fruits, and runners continuously if the temperature remains between 35 and 85. Production is less than that of Junebearers.
  • Everbearer: These varieties form buds during the long days of summer and the short days of autumn. The summer-formed buds flower and fruit in autumn and the autumn-formed buds fruit the following spring.
  • Junebearer: Length-of-day sensitive, these varieties produce buds in the autumn, flowers and fruits the following spring, and runners during the long days of summer.

Most home gardeners should plant “junebearer.”

It will require patience because you will have to wait one year for harvest.

Buying and Storing

  • Choose brightly colored, plump berries, that still have their green caps, uniform in size
  • Avoid soft, shriveled or moldy berries
  • Do not wash until ready to use
  • Store in a single layer, on a paper towel in a moisture-proof container
  • Store in refrigerator 2-3 days

JoAnn’s Summertime Strawberry Cake

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I decided to name this dessert a “Summertime Strawberry Cake,” because it is so light, it is best enjoyed during warmer seasons.

Ideally made from scratch, I created a short cut of using a white cake box mix and modifying it.

This recipe is definitely a family favorite.

Summertime Strawberry Cake

This light, fluffy cake is easy to make and will satisfy a crowd on a hot summer evening. Pairs great with a rose wine.
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Keyword cake, strawberry, whipped cream
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Putting cake together 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 8 -10 slices
Calories 560kcal
Author JoAnn"s Food Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Duncan Hines White Cake Mix DO NOT FOLLOW BOX INSTRUCTIONS
  • 1/4 cup stick butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 quarts of fresh strawberries sliced, cored
  • 1/2 cup extra fine white sugar
  • 1 1/2 pints whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of extra fine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  • Prepare two 8-inch or two 9-inch round cake pans by spraying them with Baker's Joy.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine white box mix, eggs, water and melted butter. Mix at medium speed until smooth.
  • Pour into cake pans, evenly. Tap pans on the counter to remove air bubbles.
  • Cook cake for about 22 minutes. Test for doneness using the toothpick test.
  • Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes.
  • Remove cakes from pans by turning upside down on Parchment paper and allow to cool completely.
  • Cut cake layers in half, creating 4 layers.
  • In a mixing bowl, slice and hull each strawberry. Discard stems and hulls. Mix in the 1/2 cup of fine sugar in with strawberries. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to two hours.
  • In a mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form, about five minutes. Add the 2 Tablespoons of extra-fine sugar and vanilla flavoring until dissolved.
  • Place one section of cake, cut side up on a serving platter or cake taker. Spread a single layer of cut strawberries onto the cake. Spoon 3 Tablespoons of accumulated strawberry juice onto the cake. Apply a thin layer of whipped cream. Add another layer of cake, cut side down. Spread a single layer of strawberries onto the cake, followed by 2 more Tablespoons of juice and a layer of whipped cream. Repeat the next two layers, finishing with a layer of whipped cream.
  • After final layer of whipping cream, decorate the top of cake with leftover strawberries.
  • For best results, chill the cake for two hours before serving.

What are your favorite summertime desserts?  Comment below!

 

 

One Comment

  • Shelby

    IT HAS BEEN HOT HERE TOO. Cecil made a strawberry cobbler the other day, very delicious by the way. He always has strawberries in the freezer, we go to a place close to Rome and pick our own. And if they are that good for the brain , I better stock up big time…. lol

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