strawberry

strawberry rhubarb skillet cake

You guys. I have a confession to make.
I’m the world’s WORST blogger.

strawberry rhubarb skillet cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

It’s been sunny and warm for the past few days and I had to draaaag myself indoors to write this post. I’ve really wanted nothing more than to lay out in the yard after work and snuggle puppies and drink rosé.
Russell’s been visiting family in LA and I should be taking this opportunity to catch up on my writing, but once the sun goes down and the spring chill sets back in, I’d rather be watching reruns of the Walking Dead or RuPaul’s Drag Race with a pint of pistachio ice cream.

strawberry rhubarb skillet cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

In addition to laziness and springtime distractions, I’ve also fallen victim to springtime cravings. The arrival of warm weather and green leaves makes me crave fresh produce and bright spring berries like crazy. I mentioned last week that as much as I crave these foods, local production hasn’t caught up to my cravings just yet and so far the produce at the green markets leaves a bit to be desired.

strawberry rhubarb skillet cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’ve been trying to hold out, but the other day I caved. I’m really the worst.

Just awful.

strawberry rhubarb skillet cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Wandering the aisles of the grocery store the other day I stumbled across a big bucket filled with rhubarb stalks. Conveniently located behind the rhubarb were stacks and stacks of organic strawberries fresh from the freight truck.

I tried to resist, but their strawberry siren song was too much for me and I circled the produce section twice before finding them in my basket at the checkout line.

strawberry rhubarb skillet cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Truth be told, I had no damned clue what I would do with my pre-season berries and rhubarb but I just HAD to have them. There aren’t many things in this world that I love more than a strawberry rhubarb pie, but a pie is so filling-centric that I know I need to wait for strawberry season proper to go that route.

In terms of flavor, nothing beats a berry that was ripened in the sun, in season, a few miles (or footsteps) from your home. These bright red little berries however, fresh off the truck from California, travelled a looooong way before finding their way onto the shelves at the Food Town in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They were pretty durn good, especially after not tasting a fresh strawberry for months, but they tasted nowhere near as fresh and flavorful as they will in a few short weeks.

strawberry rhubarb skillet cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Tart rhubarb and a healthy bit of sugar would help doctor up my lackluster berries, but in this case they would need to be more of an accent flavor and less of the main attraction. I needed to come up with a recipe that would elevate them and let them shine without expecting too much of them.

strawberry rhubarb skillet cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

It didn’t take me long to think of a rustic skillet cake I made last summer, with caramelized peaches and cornmeal. Perfect! I didn’t want to go the cornmeal route this time, but the basic idea was spot on. I’d cook the sliced berries with the rhubarb, a bit of butter, and some sugar; and then I’d pour them over a tender buttermilk cake baked in a big ol’ cast iron skillet.

strawberry rhubarb skillet cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

This cake is perfect.

In another week or two, when strawberries are actually in season here, this will definitely be happening again because then it’ll be even more perfect than it’s current state of perfection.

Topped with fresh barely sweetened whipped cream, it’s like a jammy little slice of strawberry shortcake.
Rustic and unfussy. Sweet and tart. Fluffy and tender. The cooked strawberry rhubarb is sweet and bright and jammy and fresh. The cake is just sweet enough and a tiny bit tart from the lemon and buttermilk. It’s buttery and light and moist and just…

perfect.

strawberry rhubarb skillet cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Strawberry Rhubarb Skillet Cake

adapted from Joy the Baker

Strawberry Rhubarb filling:
1 cup sliced rhubarb (from about 3 stalks)
2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt

Cake:
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
zest of one lemon
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar or coarse finishing sugar

Preheat oven to 350 and move a rack to the center position.

Combine strawberries, rhubarb, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, and pinch of salt in an 11 or 12 inch skillet.* Place over a medium high flame and cook, stirring frequently, until fruit is soft and coming apart and juices have reduced to a thick syrup, about 10 to 15 minutes. Do not let juices burn.

Scrape strawberry rhubarb mixture into a bowl to cool and scrape skillet clean with a silicone spatula. It’s okay if a little residue remains.
Melt butter in skillet and pour out all but 1 tablespoon to cool. Coat skillet evenly with remaining tablespoon. Add lemon zest to cooling butter and stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Set aside.
In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, lemon juice, eggs, vanilla and butter.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture all at once.  Stir with a silicone spatula just until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl until there are no dry pockets of flour. Do not over mix.  Pour batter into the prepared skillet and spread (or shake) smooth.  Dot the batter with strawberry mixture as evenly as possible, and sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Allow cake to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. If desired, serve with a generous dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream or a light dusting of powdered sugar.

Cake will last, removed from skillet and well wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.

*If you don’t have a cast iron skillet you can cook the strawberries and melt the butter in any pan you have, and use an 11-inch round tart or quiche pan, or a 9×13-inch pan for the cake. The batter may spread more thin so you’ll need to keep a close eye on it in the oven.

Advertisements

boozey strawberry lemonade

The arrival of warm weather, and the ability to leave the windows and doors open, has a very distinct affect on my state of mind.

boozey strawberry lemonade | Brooklyn Homemaker

Primarily, it puts me in the mood for day drinking. If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of day drinking, it’s pretty simple. You drink (alcohol) during the day, preferably outdoors. Boom. I know. Can you think of anything more wonderful?
Day drinking is something that most people consider a weekend activity, but since I work in retail I’m usually working on Saturdays. When it’s bright and pleasant outside and the rest of Brooklyn is out eating brunch and laying on blankets at the park, I’m indoors selling picnic baskets and wine thermos’, and grill tongs. Don’t shed any tears for me just yet though, I do usually have Sundays off so if the weather is just as warm and sunny, I still get one day to join in the fun.

boozey strawberry lemonade | Brooklyn Homemaker

I was lucky enough a couple weekends ago, just before that last cold snap, when the weather was just nice enough to go out and spend some quality time in our back yard. We decided to make a day of it and called some friends over, fired up the grill, and cooked up some delicious lemon herb chicken thighs (which I told you about here). Of course, I also dove head-first into the task of crafting some seriously amazing spring-time cocktails. I thought hard about what would pair well with the spring-y weather and decided strawberries, lemonade, & vodka were the just the ticket.

boozey strawberry lemonade | Brooklyn Homemaker

Our good friends Karen and Mari of Crown Street Productions wanted to join in the fun too, so they came over to bask in the sunshine with us. Since I was whipping up some cocktails, they brought along their equipment to capture the moment. They’re so much fun to work with, and the best part is that they’re complete videography geniuses. I don’t know how they do it. I’m a total awkward weirdo in real life, and they somehow manage to make me appear charming and professional!
Check out this amazing video for a complete tutorial on how to make these delicious boozey strawberry lemonades. I hope you enjoy the video as much as the cocktails!

Did that make you thirsty or what?

If you want to make this for a crowd you could easily do it in large batches by tossing the strawberries into a blender or food processor. If you went this route, I don’t think adding the extra sugar to the strawberries would be necessary. If you like the idea of a big pitcher or punch bowl with some chunks of strawberries floating around, just pulse your blender until the berries are mashed but not pulverized. If you want to serve these from a drink dispenser with a spigot or pour spout though, you’ll need to completely puree them so that none of the chunky strawberries get stuck in the spout.

boozey strawberry lemonade | Brooklyn Homemaker

Normally I’m not a big vodka drinker, and prefer my tipple to have a bit more backbone. For this drink though, I thought that the neutral flavor (or lack thereof) of vodka would let the other ingredients be the stars of the show. To add an extra hint of citrusy goodness, I also added just a bit of orange liqueur. Any orange liqueur will do just fine, but I think the mix of bitter orange and cognac in Grand Marnier gives this cocktail the cojones that the vodka’s missing.

The combination of sweet tangy lemonade, ripe red strawberries, orange liqueur, and vodka is really phenomenal. There’s just enough alcohol to make you feel gooood without tasting too strong. Muddling the strawberries with a bit of sugar helps them to give off their juices and flavor the drink without turning to total mush. This way you get some little chunky bits of juicy fresh berries floating around in your drink, soaking up all the boozey goodness. All stirred together in a tall glass with plenty of ice, it tastes like you’re sipping on springtime.

boozey strawberry lemonade | Brooklyn Homemaker

You may have have noticed that I served these drinks in quilted mason jars. I know they’re really trendy right now, but before you roll your eyes, here’s the thing. Not only are they cute and homey, but they’re also made of really sturdy glass and they’re really affordable! You can take them outside for your next bbq because if they break they’re easily replaced, and they’re only about $2 each! The 12 oz quilted jars are tall and skinny so they also make great highball glasses in a pinch. Russell and I have a bunch of them because we used them as glassware at our wedding last summer!

No matter what you serve it in, this cocktail is perfect for sunny days spent with friends. Odds are that your friends will agree, so you should call them up and get to drinkin’!

boozey strawberry lemonade | Brooklyn Homemaker

Boozey Strawberry Lemonade

  • Servings: one 10 oz cocktail
  • Print
2-3 strawberries (depending on size)
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 oz orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
2 oz vodka
6 oz lemonade

Roughly chop your strawberries and place into a mixing glass or cocktail glass. Top with sugar and muddle until well mashed and juicy. Top with orange liqueur and vodka and stir. Add ice, top off with lemonade and stir again. Add a lemon slice as garnish, if desired.

Homemade Lemonade
makes about 6 1/2 cups of lemonade

3/4 cups of sugar
5 cups of water, divided
1 cup of lemon juice

In a small saucepan make a simple syrup by bringing sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil, stirring frequently. Once all sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and let cool. In a pitcher, combine remaining water, lemon juice, and cooled simple syrup; and stir until well mixed.