It’s strawberry season and I’m baking you a miraculous cake! Unlike the fussiness of standalone meringues that are nearly impossible in humid weather, this simple cake gets whipped up in no time, and is surely to wow your family and guests. It’s an old family recipe of forgotten origins, scrawled in a notebook and resurrected a few times a year. It’s on the sweet side for me, so I don’t add sugar to the fruit topping.
4 oz (1 stick) softened butter
1 1/2 c sugar (divided into 1/2 c + 1 c)
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp milk
Sliced strawberries or other fruit
Optional: toasted sliced almonds
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 10” square pan with parchment overhanging the edges (to remove the cake later) or use or two 8” round cake pans with removable bottoms (or reconcile yourself to serving from the pan).
Cream butter and 1/2 c of sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs yolks and vanilla extract. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, and add gradually to the egg mixture, alternating with milk. Spread the batter in the prepared pan(s).
Make the meringue. Beat the reserved egg whites until frothy and gradually add the remaining 1 cup of sugar, beating until the eggs are stiff and glossy. Spread over the cake batter. Bake for 30 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with sliced berries or other fruit and, optionally, with lightly toasted sliced almonds.