On growing strawberries and recipe for Eggless Strawberry Yogurt Cake
My three year old son and me have a morning routine nowadays. After his drink of milk, we go to the garden and check if there's any red peeking out of the strawberry patch. If we didn't do this, the squirrels and ants, who have been blessed with a better foraging sense than us human beings, will get to the juicy berries before we do. We don't get too much, but a small handful a day, to add to cereal or to make a couple of muffins, or to eat as it is. The latter doesn't happen often as I am not very tolerant to acidic fruits and I'm yet to taste lusciously sweet strawberries grown in India. Here, strawberry needs sugar as a partner to make it more palatable.
But, however little, that sense of joy we get from having watched something grow for nearly eight months, and finally bearing fruit, is such a fulfilling one. These strawberry saplings were planted in June and they quickly propagated and covered the ground, but there was not a single flower in sight even after six months. The newbie gardener that I am, I quickly lost hope. Patience is clearly not one of my virtues, hence I stand to benefit a lot from gardening. I am slowly learning that nature doesn't work at the speed of a 4Mbps internet connection. It takes its own sweet time. And what sweeter time than spring time? I don't need my neighbours to drench me in permanent colours (albeit organic) and hose me with tons of water, to announce the arrival of spring (I'm talking about the one festival I dread, Holi). The new blooms and fruits in my garden had already whispered to me a few weeks ago that spring is not far away.
Just plucked strawberries basking in the morning sun
A few years ago, if someone told me that I could grow strawberries in India, I would have laughed it off. But Bangalore weather is somehow to conducive to growing almost anything. Like my friend @abithaanandh tweeted this morning -
"Am willing to overlook 11pm deadlines,bad infrastructure,forever 90s music loop- all 4 those few precious hrs in the garden! Tk U #Bangalore"
It is so true. I'll continue to grow strawberries next year too. I'm told they bear better fruit in the 2nd and 3rd year. Only, I'll be growing them in hanging baskets, so I dont have to compete with the ants to pluck the fruit!
I've been wanting to bake a strawberry cake for a while now. Not the types where the fruit is pureed in, but stands out like red jewels, slightly mushy from the baking and a burst of flavour in the mouth, when you bite into it. And somehow, I wanted to pair it with yogurt as I couldn't use eggs in this. A Foodblogsearch didn't find me the kind of recipe I had in mind, so I did my own improvisation. Yesterday afternoon, just before the baking session, I found a bottle of strawberry essence at Nilgiri's, so the fruit, the essence and the jam made the taste pretty intense, but not in the cloying sort of way.
The recipe I'm sharing with you seems to be the most low-fat and healthiest version among all those that I went through as a result of my various searches.
This is a tea cake or a weekend breakfast cake. I'm not asking you to believe that it's dessert. Umm...may be with ice cream, yes :)
The texture was very moist and delicate despite not using eggs or butter.
Do give it a try before the strawberry season bids us a goodbye.
Recipe for Strawberry-Yogurt Cake
Eggfree / Eggless / Lowfat
Tea time or breakfast cake
Makes 1 tall 8" cake
- Preheat oven at 180 C.
- Grease an 8” round cake tin. If using silicon pan, no need to grease.
- In one bowl, whisk the oil, yogurt, milk, sugar and jam.
- In another big bowl, sieve the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well. Add the whisked wet ingredients. Fold until they come together. Over enthusiastic beating / whisking is better avoided.
- Towards the end, fold in chopped berries and tutti-fruity.
- Scrape the batter into the greased tin / silicon mould and bake at 180 C for around 45-55 minutes, checking with a tester if it comes out clean.
- After 10 minutes, unmould and cool on a wire rack.
- Cut into wedges, dust with icing sugar and serve with tea.
The same recipe will work with raspberries or blueberries to make a blueberry yogurt cake or a raspberry yogurt cake.
See what people have to say about this cake! (via Twitter).
@saffrontrail Love your blog.Just baked your eggless strawberry yogurt cake ,its superb!wanted to thankyou.Hope you wud reciprocate!:).
— nitisha kashyap (@nitishakashyap) March 11, 2012.