“For dessert we ravaged whole loaves of newly baked bread from the last town, inserting squares of dark chocolate into them.”
–Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian
_ _Public transportation provides an excessive amount of entertainment, as anyone having lived in a city can tell you. One day someone may try to “save” you, and the next day the bus driver will smack-talk the Yankees over the intercom for the entire 20-minute ride. Between constant delays, air conditioning malfunctions in the middle of summer and knowing that I was usually the best smelling person in the vicinity, riding the infamous Boston T provided me with many dear memories.
_ _Boarding the train at Boylston I was in my own world, staring at everyone around me (which is what I consider minding my business) when I felt a pair of eyes on me as well. Glancing around I realized that a woman I had previously believed to be reading, was actually glaring at me over the top of her book. I tried to ignore her but it was made especially difficult when she got off at the same stop and followed me with the book inches from my face. It wasn’t until then that I realized the title of the tome was “How To Combat Cult Mind Control” She recognized my cult-ish attempt control her and effectively combated it… Foiled. But you, my friends, aren’t so lucky–I’m ordering you to make this cake.
1 cup Water
1 cup Sugar
1 1/2 cups Strawberries, mashed or chopped
1 3/4 cups Flour, sifted
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, room temperature
4 0z Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups Sugar
3 Eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Milk, room temperature
FOR THE SAUCE:
1. In a small/medium sauce pan mix sugar into the water until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil.
2. Slowly add the strawberries and allow the mixture to reduce by a little more than half. Set aside.
FOR THE CAKE:
Preheat oven to 325°F (or 350°F for high altitude)
1. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl together and set aside.
2. Using a mixer, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar for several minutes until really smooth.
3. Add the eggs one at a time until they are thoroughly combined.
4. Add vanilla and the milk and again, mix until everything is combined.
5. Slowly add the flour mixture as you mix until the batter is thick and smooth.
6. Pour into either greased muffin tins ( fill about 2/3 full, it makes about 16 mini pound cakes) or into a greased 9×5 loaf pan.
7. If using muffin tins, bake for 20-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. If using a loaf pan bake for about 60 minutes.
Top with the warm strawberry sauce (rewarm it in the microwave or over low heat if necessary) and fresh strawberries, whipped cream and chocolate (optional)!
*Note: kept in an air-tight container, I think these cakes might even be better the next day.