Honestly, I can’t understand how it comes to be that I haven’t posted any recipes with strawberries at this time of year yet. We’ve been eating strawberries by the fistful from the very first day they arrived at the greengrocer’s. So, after all this oblivion, this strawberry swirl pound cake seemed just the perfect tribute to put things right. Don’t you agree?
I knew that I wanted a very special yet everyday kind of cake. Something that we could both use and enjoy in our daily breakfasts or as an afternoon snack after school. You know what excites me more about this cake? Discovering a new pattern every time I cut a new piece; you never know what you’ll get!
In fact, that uncertainty happened to be my very first concern from the very beginning to the moment I cut the first slice. What if it didn’t turn out the way I had foreseen? What if the strawberry component was all messy and blurred and you couldn’t make it out well? Well, this one here is the ultimate swirl cake recipe testing after a couple of previous slightly disappointing attempts…
I first considered the idea of using only fresh strawberries. But despite what one may think, their bright and vivid colour —yes, that very same colour you can’t get rid of when it ends up on your clothes— does thin out when mixed in the cake batter. And that’s okay if you don’t pay too much attention to the looks. But I did want something slightly more striking this time. I could have used a few drops of food colouring (which I did, but yet I wasn’t totally convinced; I was definitively not in the colouring mood).
So I finally opted for this amazing product: fruit compound. I just love it; you have both things in just one tablespoon: colour and flavour. And there’re as many options as you can think of: almost any fruit, but also spices, flowers and so on.
Certainly, you can use any flavour of your choice as well as your favourite sponge cake recipe to make this irresistible swirl cake, but I find that pound cakes always work out well and taste wonderfully. And on top of all that, we have sour cream, which just makes things better. So help yourselves and be ready to take your daily dose of cake to the next level.
- 1 cup (225g) unsalted butter
- 1¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅞ cup (200g / 7oz) sour cream
- 1½ tablespoons strawberry compound
- Preheat oven (electric) to 350 degrees F (a 180ºC) and place oven rack into the middle position.
- Grease and line a 10x4-inch (28x11 cm aprox.) loaf pan. Set aside.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large bowl) beat together butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. With a rubber spatula, scrape down batter from paddle, sides and bottom of the bowl. Repeat as necessary along the way.
- With the mixer still running, now at medium-low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate after each addition before adding the next egg.
- Add vanilla extract and mix until combined.
- Now add ⅓ of the dry ingredients (see point 3) to the batter and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Then add ½ of the sour cream and beat. Add another ⅓ of the dry ing., and beat, and then the last of the sour cream and beat. Finally, beat in the last ⅓ of the dry ing. and beat. Do not over mix the batter, just until dry ingredients are moistened. Batter should be still a bit lumpy, (that's fine, don’t try and smooth it) these lumps will disappear during baking.
- Transfer roughly 40% of the batter to a separate bowl (a kitchen scale is very useful here, although it's not totally necessary) and add the the strawberry compound, mixing until totally combined.
- In order to achieve that swirly effect, alternatively place spoonfuls of both batters, white and pink, into the prepared pan until no more batter is left. Using a knife or a skewer, swirl the batter to create a marbled effect: moving across the pan in horizontal direction, plunge the end of the knife (or skewer) into the batter and make big swirls, moving across the pan in one direction. Then, moving back over the swirls, make a few more swirls in the opposite direction. Be sure you are reaching all the way to the bottom of the pan (without scraping it). Be careful not to work it too much, or you'll end up with a muddy, overly-blended cake. Finally, to release any air bubbles that may have developed in the batter, tap the pan gently on a work surface. If necessary, using a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon, carefully smooth the surface.
- Bake for 60-65 minutes until golden brown (to avoid heavy browning, loosely cover the cake with foil for the last 10-15 minutes) and a skewer (or cake tester) comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before unmolding. Then let cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing and serving.
It keeps tightly covered for up to 3-4 days at room temperature.