A few weeks ago my boss asked if I would make a birthday cake for her son’s birthday. His request? White cake with strawberry filling.
On my way home from work tonight I decided to stop at Zupan’s in John’s Landing to break up the monotony of the 10 miles of complete gridlock traffic on my drive from Beaverton. My choice to stop at Zupan’s proved to only further aggravate me. Zupan’s is a high-end market local to Portland that has a lovely selection of high-priced, quality foods. If I was making money hand over fist, I would buy all my groceries there. But I’m not. So trips to Zupan’s are rare – saved for special occasions.Special occasions that usually aren’t marked by excruciatingly slow drives home from work.
I had to get the cake done tonight because I need to hand it off to my boss tomorrow morning. At the very least, I needed frozen strawberries. Two pounds of frozen Oregon strawberries which I purchased for $8. I also grabbed an 18-ounce jar of peanut butter, a bag of bittersweet chocolate pieces, and two-pounds of powdered sugar all for the bargain price of $18.
After finishing the birthday cake, I had a pound and a half of strawberries leftover. I needed a recipe that used a large quantity of strawberries. So I settled on this one:
- ½ c. butter
- 1 c. granulated white sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 c. flour
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 mashed banana, plus an additional banana to slice for garnish OR ½ c. strawberry juice (from frozen strawberries, thawed) for a strawberry only bread
- 1 c. toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 2 c. chopped strawberries, fresh, plus more for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the oven rack in the middle position.
- Spray the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray or grease with vegetable shortening.
- Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about eight minutes or until brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and let cool completely before chopping coarsely.
- Beat the butter until softened (about one minute) using an electric mixer. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three additions) and strawberry juice starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined. Gently fold in walnuts and chopped strawberries.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, top with additional sliced strawberries and banana for a pretty garnish, and bake about an hour or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Here’s what I said about this bread back in 2011:
As the bread was baking, strawberry and cinnamon filled the air. With cinnamon permeating the air, I decided I would cut down on the cinnamon if I could go back in time – but that’s because it’s my opinion that strawberry and cinnamon do not mix. As it turns out, I didn’t taste much cinnamon in the finished product.
There also wasn’t that much flavor in this bread. I was looking for a strong strawberry flavor, which this bread seemed to lack. Although I baked the bread for over an hour, the bread seemed to be slightly under-baked when I sunk the knife into it the next morning. After gobbling down an entire piece, I couldn’t decide if the bread was under-baked or incredibly moist. Not necessarily a bad thing!
In 2018 I greatly improved upon the recipe, in my opinion. I made the bread a banana-strawberry hybrid, subbing strawberry juice for one mashed banana. I also omitted the cinnamon. The result was a well balanced bread that delivers both flavors of banana and strawberry and is clearly cooked through, as you can see from the pictures. I did not rate this bread very high back in 2011 but with the improvements bumped up the rating to four apples. I would recommend this recipe to anyone.