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~ A Luscious Lemony Strawberry-Almond Coffeecake ~

IMG_7775On Monday, when I said, "happiness comes in many forms", I had no idea just how many forms. On Monday I was referring to my delicate, moist, almost-creamy ~ Simply Splendid Lemony Pear Almond Coffeecake ~ (you can get the recipe by clicking on the Related Article link below).  I was, and still am, posting a few pear recipes, because I was given a box of organic bosc pears last week.   The beat goes on -- I am still most contented to eat my way through the remainder of my lovely pears and write another one or two pear posts, so stay tuned.  That being said, in my kitchen, occasonally things can change on a dime and today is such a day.  Why?

IMG_7710I've got a three pound box of strawberries on my countertop. 

IMG_4762 IMG_7313This AM we ooo'd and ahhh'd over the last two slices of pear cake and even lamented a bit over how it would be missed.  I gave Joe a hug, sent him off to the office and reminded him to come home with a couple of steaks for tonight's dinner. He did come home with the steaks, a couple of real beauties, but, he also came home with a 3-pound box of gorgeous strawberries too.

IMG_7453Still being in "cake mode", I decided to make the same cake, substituting strawberries for pears. My thinking: perfectly ripe pears and strawberries texturally have a lot in common -- they're both delicate and will cook in the allotted 38-40+ minutes, the time needed for this unique cake batter to set up. The lemony batter for this cake is merely a medium to hold the fruit together, and, it remains slightly custardlike in pockets around the fruit juices:

IMG_7623Choose perfectly ripe strawberries.  Not underripe, not overripe.

IMG_7154This cake goes together very quickly, so, get organized and prep all of your ingredients as directed before plugging in your mixer.  You will need a 9"-9 1/2" springform pan.  Size does matter.  It can and will affect baking time and the end product.  Do not substitute.

~ Step 1.  Spray the inside of the pan with no-stick cooking spray. Cut out a round of parchment paper to fit the bottom, place it in the bottom (not up the sides) and spray the top of the parchment.  Set aside.

IMG_74382  pounds ripe strawberries, hulled and chopped into bite-sized pieces, about 3 1/2-4 cups

10  tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled

3/4  teaspoon pure strawberry extract, not imitation

1/2  teaspoon pure almond extract, not imitation

1/4  teaspoon pure vanilla extract, not imitation

1/4  cup fresh lemon juice and zest (juice from 2 lemons and zest from 1 lemon)

4  large eggs, at room temperature

2  large egg yolks, at room temperature

1  cup confectioners' sugar

1 1/2  cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1  teaspoon baking powder

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

1/2  cup sliced almonds, very-lightly toasted, for topping cake

additional confectioners' sugar, for garnishing cake or cake slices

no-stick cooking spray, for preparing baking pan

IMG_7106 IMG_7115 IMG_7110 IMG_7125~Steps 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7.  In a 1-cup measuring container, melt the butter and stir in the extracts. Set aside to cool.  Using a microplane grater and a citrus juicer, zest and juice the lemons.  Stir zest and juice together and set aside.  Crack 4 eggs into a small bowl, separate the yolks from 2 eggs and set aside to come to room temperature.  Measure confectioner's sugar and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.  In a small baking pan, very-lightly toast the almonds in a 350 degree oven for 5-6 minutes and set aside to cool.

IMG_7458~ Step 8.  Using a strawberry huller or a paring knife, hull the strawberries.  Using a paring knife, chop strawberries into bite-sized pieces.  Error on the side of too large rather than too small.  Make sure you have 3 1/2-4 cups of chopped strawberries for this recipe, meaning:  measure them. Place strawberries in a medium bowl and pour the lemon juice/zest mixture over the top.  Using a rubber spatua, stir to combine.

IMG_7170 IMG_7158~ Step 9. Place the eggs and sugar in a large bowl. IMG_7162Over high speed of mixer, whip, scraping down sides of bowl w/spatula until an airy custard forms, about 6 minutes.

IMG_7186 IMG_7176~ Step 10. Reduce mixer speed to low and blend in about 1/2  cup of the flour mixture. IMG_7178With the mixer on low speed, drizzle in butter, then second half of flour.  Using spatula fold in the strawberries and all of the lemon juice/zest mixture.

IMG_7471 IMG_7479~ Step 11. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Give pan a few back and forth shakes on the countertop to distribute the batter evenly.  Sprinkle almonds over  top.

~ Step 12.  Bake on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven 38-40+ minutes, or until puffed up in center, lightly browned and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Do not over bake!

IMG_7505 IMG_7509Step 13. Remove from oven, place on a cooling rack and allow to cool in pan for about 15 minutes prior to removing sides from pan. Continue to cool prior to serving at room temperature, about 2 hours. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar just prior to slicing and serving, or, sprinkle confectioner's sugar on individual slices.  This cake is best served the same day cake is baked, and, refrigerate leftovers.

IMG_7519I sprinkle the sugar on each individual slice...

IMG_7706... before loving each & every luscious bite:

IMG_7613Take this version of shortcake to your next Summer picnic.

IMG_7754A Luscious Lemony Strawberry Almond Coffeecake):  Recipe yields 12-16 servings.

Special Equipment List:  9"-9 1/2" springform pan; parchment paper; 2, 1-cup measuring containers; microplane grater; hand-held citrus juicer; small baking pan; cutting board; strawberry huller and/or paring knife; large rubber spatula; hand-held electric mixer; cake tester or toothpick; cooling rack

IMG_4966Cook's Note:  Strawberries are in all of my markets right now.  If it's a classic strawberry recipe you're looking to serve for  your next gathering, click on the Related Article link below for my ~ Scrumptious Sweet-Cream-Biscuits & Strawberries (commonly referred to as Strawberry Short Cakes ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014


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