Strawberry season comes early here in Southern California and I have already seen berries at multiple farm stands up and down Pacific Coast Highway, to and from Santa Barbara county. During a good strawberry season, berries are so full of natural juice, that they burst when bitten into, yet still maintain their shape. This year seems like another good one because the berries I have tasted are truly magnificent in every way. Shortcake season usually doesn’t come until summer, but I thought why not take advantage of these strawberries now, and bake a treat that has all the same flavors, yet is in one loaf?
Quick breads are those lovely baked goods that are easy to put together and taste somewhere between a bread and a cake. What I enjoy so much about baking quick breads is the ability to add all different kinds of ingredients, and this time around, I went with fresh seasonal strawberries. Strawberries should be folded into the batter in a gentle fashion, by hand, so they don’t break apart. The berries will add moisture to the batter, so initially it might feel stiffer than usual, but when the strawberries are added, and the bread is baked, it turns into one soft crumb.
This strawberry loaf isn’t too sweet, even though it does have sugar, which makes it great to enjoy almost any time of day. I personally like a slice in the afternoon with some tea, or another cup of coffee, but you could always go the old-fashioned route and get out some vanilla ice cream and serve it for dessert.
2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk, or whole milk with 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced thinly
(Makes 1 Loaf)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
- In a food processor or blender, pulverize freeze dried strawberries, until a powder. Set aside
- In a stand mixer or large bowl, cream together butter and sugar for 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add vanilla and mix for 1 minute. Add strawberry powder and mix on low for 1 minute.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing in between additions. Add flour in thirds, alternating with buttermilk.
- Remove bowl from stand and mix in strawberries by hand. Spoon into loaf pan and smooth out on top.
- Bake in oven for 60-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean. Remove and let cool in pan for 20 minutes.
- Loosen with knife around edges and invert onto rack. Slice and serve when room temperature. Enjoy!