Healthy eating: Revel in the glory of Strawberry Spoon Cake

Strawberry Spoon Cake.

I am eagerly awaiting my 2024 crop of delicious strawberries. The strawberry is a powerhouse of antioxidants, fiber and vitamins; along with raspberries, it is one of my favorite berries to bake with and use in smoothies.

Throughout the year I make a strawberry vanilla sauce (without sugar) to use in my morning yogurt and granola. Making a quick sorbet by putting frozen strawberries in my food processor has become a quick dessert treat.

And who doesn’t like a crumble or crisp with strawberries? Combine it with rhubarb and you have a nearly perfect treat — healthy enough to eat for breakfast too.

I love old-timey recipes. I look for old cookbooks when I go to garage sales. I try to adapt the recipes to fit what I have in my cupboard.

Here’s an easy cake that is perfect for spring berry season. And you can use last year’s berries that might still be buried in your freezer. Try this recipe with blueberries, raspberries and even rhubarb.

The key is to let the fruit macerate in lemon juice and sugar. Enjoy this any time of the day. I am looking forward to an abundant berry season!

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Spoon Cake


8 ounces fresh strawberries (about 8 medium)

1 medium lemon

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Vanilla ice cream, yogurt or whipped cream, for serving (optional, but a nice addition)


Trim 8 ounces strawberries and coarsely chop (about 1 heaping cup). Finely grate the zest from 1 medium lemon (about 1 teaspoon), then juice the lemon until you have 1 teaspoon. Place the strawberries, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of the lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Place 1 stick unsalted butter in an 8-inch round cake pan or 8×8 baking dish. Place the pan in the oven as it preheats until the butter is melted, about 5-8 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, swirl the butter so that it coats the bottom of the pan and halfway up the sides, then pour the remaining butter into a medium bowl.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest to the bowl of melted butter and whisk to combine. Add 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and whisk to combine.

Add 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. Whisk until no dry flour remains and the batter is just combined (it will be thick).

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread into an even layer. Spoon the strawberries evenly on top and drizzle any juice over the strawberries.

Bake until the cake is golden brown around the edges, pulling away from the sides, and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean (35-40 minutes).

Let cool for five minutes. Spoon into bowls and serve with vanilla ice cream, yogurt or whipped cream.

Substitutions: You can use 8 ounces thawed frozen strawberries (chop if needed) in place of fresh. Discard any juices.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days. Reheat it the before serving.

— By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She loves to cook from scratch using produce from the gardens she created and maintains with her husband. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and focused on desserts, pastries and bread. She’s worked for restaurants and caterers in the front and back of the house (kitchen) on both coasts. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. Deborah loves experimenting and developing new recipes. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at

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