I made this cake twice in one week and each time, it was a hit. Simple to make, moist, and look at all those gorgeous strawberries. This is a cake to herald spring days, lush green hills and blue skies. Pardon me if I wax poetic - this cake has that effect on me.
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an 8-inch cake pan. Place parchment paper on top, taking care to press on every surface until the paper has adhered.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer) cream the butter and sugar together on medium high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, incorporate any ingredients hiding at the bottom of the bowl, making sure the batter is completely mixed. Scrape half the batter into the prepared cake pan and gently smooth the top with a spatula. Tap the pan firmly on the counter to remove any air bubbles from the batter. Arrange half the strawberries in a concentric ring on top of the batter, cut side down.
Gently pour the rest of the batter on top of the strawberries, again smoothing the top with a spatula and tapping the pan firm on the counter. Arrange the rest of the strawberries in a concentric ring on top of the batter, cut side down. Do not press too firmly on the batter, or else as you bake the batter will cover the top strawberry layer.
Bake the cake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack.