• Monika Cyran

Summer strawberry cake - perfect for hot summer days


Strawberries, you can use them almost anywhere. No matter if the dish is savory or sweet. I love them in salads, cakes, ice creams and even with pasta.


So, let’s talk about strawberries. Did you know that Strawberries are one of the most cultivated fruits in the United States? I did not. There are about 600 different varieties and they vary in size, texture and surprisingly in taste.

When is the season for strawberries in the US?


The ideal growing conditions can differ depending on its kind. The conditions and locations where they grow influence the strawberry season. It can affect it so much that the national strawberry season is said to run even from January all the way through November, depending on the region.

But to be more precise - in the Deep South, strawberry harvesting falls between late April and May. In the middle part of the country, May and June are typically best. In the far north and in Canada, the peak time will normally be in late June. The natural growing season in Illinois and throughout most of the country is April through June.

Similarly in Poland the season starts in late April but runs all the way to June, even through mid-July, if the harvest is good.



Strawberry picking - a fun activity to do with your children?

As a child I picked a lot of strawberries - sometimes to help and get some free food while doing it, and sometimes to make some extra money. In the United States, I found out that strawberry picking is actually an activity that all families do for fun. Whatever the reason the result is the same- sore back or knees, and a box full of juicy, beautiful strawberries- and yes the sore back is totally worth it!


In Maryland, there are farms that you can visit and pick seasonal fruits. Sometimes you have to pay a small entrance fee, sometimes you don’t. The farm that we love to go and pick our berries is Butler’s Orchard in Germantown. Placed on the borders of two parks - which I think look more like forest - Goshen Recreation Park, Great Seneca Stream Valley Park is a superb place to visit, especially with children.

The entrance fee is $3 per person, no charge for kids 2 years old and younger. To pick your strawberries you can purchase 3 different sizes boxes: 1.5 lbs, 6-8 lbs and 12-16 lbs. They cost respectively $6, $ 25, $ 45 ea. We (me and my two little helpers 2 and 5 year olds) collect about 10 lbs of strawberries in about 1h. You have to reserve a space prior to coming to pick fruits.

However, if you get tired of picking all those yummy berries or you just are not really into picking up berries - there is still plenty to do. From the strawberry patch is a short drive to the main parking lot, and yes, you can get around the big grounds in your own car. The main parking is placed in the middle the farm, right next to a spatial and beautiful playground and picnic area.


The farm has one big playground that is built from natural or recycled/ reused materials- like wood, old tiers and even some cut down trees. It is beautiful! Here, your kids will be able to play on a pirate sheep, in a train or even in a castle.



But that is not all. Next to the playground is a small tractor area, where everyone can try to paddle a tractor. There is even an old combine tractor that has been made into a slide, and it is right next to the farm animals. Oh, yes! There are also animals, donkeys, pigs, goats and small sheep that you can feed, with the food provided and purchased at the entrance.


When you get tired from all the fun, the beautifully shaded picnic area is right at your fingertips. You can purchase food and some beverages from the Farm’s Porch, but you can bring your own picnic.

I left the best for last. There are “THE SLIDES”! Four giant slides made from pipes that you can slide while sitting on hay bags. They are awesome!!! You climb up to the top with a bag (provided by the farm), you sit down and off you go! Yes, they do fit adults. You will want to try.


On your way out you can stop at the farmer’s market and grab seasonal pies, and treats or amazing bread, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

It is a perfect family-focused farm with pick-your-own patches, a kids' play area & hayrides. Super day to spend with your kids!



Servings: 12 Portions Total Time: Time: 1h 10 min

prep time: 20 min bake time: 50 min3h (dough has to rest)

Ingredients:


For the dough

  • 1/2 cup of sugar

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 cup of butter - melted

  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract

  • 1 1/3 cup of all- purpose flour

  • 1 tsp of salt

  • 2 tsp of baking soda

  • Lemon zest

  • 3 cups of fresh strawberries

  • Fresh mint for garnish

Special dishes and kitchen appliances

  • Stand or hand mixer, with a whisk attachment

  • Ceramic or baking dish 9x 9 inches

  • Parchment paper

  • Wooden spoon or silicone spatula

Step by Step

  1. To a bowl of a stand mixer add eggs and sugar. Mix it on high until light, fluffy and it changes color from dark yellow to pastel yellow.

  2. While the eggs are going, place the butter in a small bowl, and melt it in the microwave for 30s. Cool it down.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350F.

  4. Add the cooled down butter to the egg mixture. Add it slowly and in a small stream. Next add vanilla extract. Let it mix for 1 min, and turn it off.

  5. In a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients - flour, salt, baking powder- and lemon zest. Mix them all together.

  6. Fold in the dry ingredients into the wet, be gentle, use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.

  7. Cover the baking dish with parchment paper, and pour in the dough. Shake it a bit, to even it out.

  8. Spread the strawberries on top.

  9. Bake it for 45 min. After that time check with a pick if it’s ready, if the dough sticks to the toothpick give it 5 more minutes. SMACZNEGO!!!


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