I feel like I say this kind of a lot, but it’s been a crazy few weeks. Not only has everyone I know turned one year older, I’ve also driven to Boston and Baltimore in the last two weeks, attended an all-day concert, and, you know, worked occasionally. As if it hasn’t been busy enough around here, Boyfriend also got some pretty great news recently that has resulted in a group effort to move him from Boston to Baltimore in under two weeks. So this weekend, instead of the leisurely weekend of relaxing at a bed and breakfast in PA to celebrate our anniversary, we’ll be packing up his life (for the second time in under a year), and moving it down to Maryland. We’ll also be watching the NCAA National Lacrosse Championships live from some great seats, which is the Memorial Day activity Boyfriend has been hoping to have for several years.
But all this pack-up-and-move, find-him-an-apartment, drive-up-and-down-the-East-Coast thing is sort of taking a toll on my culinary adventures. I can barely get in the time to sleep, let alone cook, bake, or write, and the sugar high I’m on after a month of birthday cakes has yet to subside. But of course there were more celebrations to be had, including perhaps the most interesting yet – a non-dessert eater.
How anyone manages to get through life without the occasional bite of chocolate or bowl of ice cream is certainly beyond me, but the birthday girl eats neither. She also, of course, doesn’t eat cake, but what is a birthday without cake!? Instead, she routinely requests an apple bread (we’ll talk about that later) that, while delicious, is by no means a celebratory affair. I know it’s her birthday and she can celebrate however she sees fit, I just can’t handle missing the opportunity for a cake.
I did manage to exercise a bit of restraint though. I didn’t bake a layer cake, and I didn’t make any buttercream. In fact, baked into a loaf pan, this might just be mistaken for a sweet bread with a soft, moist little crumb. But it’s not, and do you know why it’s not? Because it was her birthday. And on birthdays, we eat cake.
Strawberry Buttermilk Cake with Orange Glaze
Adapted from Gourmet, the late, great love of my life
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp salted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup strawberries, thinly sliced
Zest and juice of one orange
1/2 – 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan. Lay half of the strawberries flat on the bottom of the pan in a single layer.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda. In a separate, large bowl, cream together butter and sugar, then add vanilla and egg. Beat until combined. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour.
Once the batter is combined, pour it into the pan on top of the strawberries. Lay the other half of the strawberries flat on top of the cake.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. The cake will be quite brown. Cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes, then invert onto a plate.
To make glaze, whisk confectioner’s sugar into orange zest and juice until it achieves the right consistency and a milky, soft orange color. Pour over cake slices just before serving (it’ll soak into the cake – which may not be a bad thing…)