To Be Always June

June 30, 2012


Fresh garden peas

Vine-ripening strawberries

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.”
— Lucy Maud Montgomery

What would it be like indeed — a life of strawberries and raspberries, fresh garden peas, roses, long days.  I guess I’d still choose a world with four seasons.  Perpetual summer would be just too much of a good thing.

How about you?

Watercolor sketch of strawberries

Another watercolor sketch of a strawberry

June is the month of strawberries, but these are from California rather than from local farmers.  I bought them at Costco, and as usual with Costco portions, we’ve been flush with strawberries for the past few days.  I needed to use them up fairly quickly, and that was all the excuse I needed to make a recipe for Strawberry Upside-Down Cake that I saw in one of the blogs I follow (’ll share the recipe here:

Strawberry Upside-down Cake

recipe found on

makes: one 8-inch cake

For the Topping:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup sliced strawberries

For the Cake:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

I used an 8-inch round with 3-inch tall sides. You can also use a 9-inch round with 2-inch sides.

Place butter in the cake pan and place in the oven. When butter is melted, remove pan from the oven. Using two pot holders, tilt the pan around and around, coating the sides of the pan with butter. Once sides are coated, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed. Cream until slightly pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop mixer, scrape down the bowl with a spatula, and add egg and vanilla extract. Beat for 1 minute.

Turn the mixer off, scrape the bowl, and add the dry ingredients. Beat on low speed while adding the sour cream. Beat until the batter just comes together. Batter will be pretty thick. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating ingredients with a spatula.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar into the melted butter in the cake pan. Sprinkle strawberry slices over the butter and sugar in a single layer. Spoon batter over the strawberries and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cake rest for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the cake and inverting the cake onto a cake plate. Serve warm with sweetened sour or whipped cream.


Bowl of sliced strawberries

Strawberry Upside-Down Cake just out of the oven

My husband liked this cake so much that he ate two pieces, one right after the other!

Red Berries

June 28, 2010

Red raspberries, some ripe for the picking

Succulent red strawberry

“Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.”
     — Wendell Berry (whose name is very apt for this quote!) 

I wanted to serve fresh strawberries for dessert accompanied by some kind of lemon cake.  So I looked through my stash of yet-to-be-tried recipes and found this one from Cupcakes:  Luscious Bakeshop Favorites from Your Home Kitchen by Shelly Kaldunski: 

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes 

1 c all-purpose flour
1-1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/4 c sour cream 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. (I used cupcake liners instead.) 

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt.  In another bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, 2 – 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon extract, and beat until combined.  Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.  Add the sour cream and beat until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full.  Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 – 20 minutes.  Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. 

If desired, spoon a lemon glaze over the cupcakes.  The glazed cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcake


Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes ready for glaze

Seasonal Berries

June 20, 2010

Raspberry Strawberry Coconut Cake

Who can resist eating seasonally when it’s berry time! 

I recently came across a cake recipe that used strawberries and raspberries.  But what appealed to me was that this was a coconut cake.  When I saw this magic combination of ingredients, I resolved to try the recipe.  It was as good as it sounded.  I think it would also make a delicious and fancy coffee cake for breakfast.

You can find the recipe at, but I’ll reproduce it for you here as well:

Raspberry Strawberry Coconut Cake
1/2 cup butter, soft
1 1/4 cup sugar (I used 1 cup)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 cup strawberries, quartered
1 cup raspberries (use frozen or fresh – but put in freezer for 10 minutes before mixing in, so they retain their shape).
Icing sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 inch cake pan.
Beat the butter & sugar until creamy. Then beat in the eggs & milk.
Mix the dry ingredients, and gently mix into the wet.
Very gently fold in the strawberries and frozen raspberries.
Spoon batter into cake pan and bake for 1 -1.5 hours, until an inserted cake tester/toothpick comes out clean.

Ingredients for the cake

Chilled, rimed raspberries

Raspberry Strawberry Coconut Cake lightly dusted with powdered sugar

Strawberry Season

June 1, 2009

Fresh red strawberries for pie

Fresh red strawberries for pie

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Fresh Strawberry Pie

When it’s June I think of strawberries.  It’s been years since I’ve picked strawberries.  My mother had a strawberry patch, and it was back-breaking work to bend down and pick the tiny, fragrant jewels from the low-lying plants. We have been seeing California strawberries in the grocery store for some time already.  The ones I bought actually smelled and tasted like strawberries instead of tasteless blobs.  I usually make strawberry shortcake using a scone recipe, but today I decided to make a fresh strawberry pie.  Yum!