Fluffy fresh strawberry spongecake

Torta soffice con le fragole

Sometimes (read: often) you just need cake. And a home baked cake is somehow just so much better than a shopbought one. Baking is relaxing, as long as it goes right, and fills the house with the most gorgeous smells that make it seem so much more like a home.

The other day I had too many strawberries. Same story as with the figs, my greengrocer knows what I like and always sells me loads of them – lucky his prices are so reasonable! Loath to allow them to go off, and fairly fed up of overripe strawberries – you really can have to much of a god thing – I decided I had to do something. Normally, I would have made crumble.  But that would have meant making custard, and I was feeling too lazy for that. Plus, it wouldn’t have been very Italian… So I decided to make this cake.

It disappeared pretty quick, so it must have met with the seal of approval. I liked it too, I have to admit – I really don’t like fruit flavoured things, they are almost invariably too sweet. Deserts made with fresh fruit at home however are just perfect as you can really taste the fruit with just the right level of tartness.

You will need:

250 g of plain flour
180 g of sugar
1 tbsp of olive oil
15 strawberries, sliced in half
60 g of icing sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp of baking powder (you can skip this and use self raising flour instead of plain)
a few drops of vanilla essence
100 ml of milk
Butter to grease the cake tin

1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C

2. Roll the sliced strawberries in icing sugar and place to one side

3. Whip the eggs with the sugar until you get a frothy mixture.

4. Seive the flour and baking powder into the egg and sugar mix, being careful to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.

5. Mix in the oil, the milk and the vanilla essence and pour the mixture into the cake tin.

6. Place the strawberries on top of the mixture. they will sink a little now and further during baking.

7. Place in the oven for circa 30 mins or until a knife comes out clean from the centre of the cake.

Voilà! Strawberry cake. And a really yummy smelling apartment.

With love, from Italy

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