Now that New England farms seem to have recovered from the harshest of harsh winters, and summer fruits are abundant and most importantly, ripe, I can’t help but plan each recipe-test around Saturday’s finest from the local farm-stand. On this occasion, though I was hoping for raspberries in order to try Bon Appetit‘s June 2014 recipe, I used what was left of the strawberries. If strawberries are not in season, buy frozen organic strawberries; they are just as sweet once defrosted. The pistachios are for crunch and color, and the cake itself is meant to be lemony-light and therefore multi-purpose: sweet and fruity for a none-too-heavy breakfast alongside yogurt, as an accompaniment to afternoon tea, and/or as a summer evening dessert a la mode.
3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Scant 1 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp pure organic vanilla extract
2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
Juice from at least half a large lemon
3/4 cup olive oil
About 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, more or less if you please
3 tbsp. chopped unsalted raw pistachios
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Oil or lightly butter a 9″ diameter cake pan. I assume that you can also use a loaf pan, but doing so might change the baking time.
In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt.
In an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar for about five minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla and 1 tbsp. lemon juice. Then slowly add the oil until just combined. Add the flour mixture in thirds; do not add it all at once. Then fold in the lemon zest. Feel free to add more lemon juice to the bowl here, depending on how strong you prefer the lemon flavor.
Pour the batter into the pan and top with the sliced strawberries and chopped pistachios. If you like, scatter a little light brown sugar over the top. Bake for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserts into the center comes out clean.
Close to finishing time, in a small pan, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice and a handful of strawberries over medium heat. If you would like, you can add a pinch of sugar here as well, or maybe a small bit of honey. Use a wooden spoon to gently slosh around the strawberries so that a syrup forms.
Once the cake is baked, set it on a drying rack in its cake pan. I used a pan with a removable bottom, but it far easier to remove once the cake has cooled. While still hot, use a brush to brush the strawberry and lemon syrup over the cake. Allow to cool.