May is National Strawberry Month, and on May 21 we celebrate National Strawberry and Cream Day, bringing together two favorites: fresh ripe strawberries and homemade whipped cream. While that alone makes for a divine dessert, let’s add a lightly sweet, vanilla-flavored cake, and we’ve just won life. This cake is a classic Great Depression recipe called Hot Milk Cake. It is a buttery sponge cake made with scalded milk and has a characteristic fine-grained texture, like pound cake.
Depression-era recipes were often created out of necessity due to a lack of ingredients, and could fall into the shadow of their pre- and post-depression counterparts. But this original recipe holds its place against any vanilla cake recipe. I’ve included optional frosting to top the cake; it adds another layer of flavor, but it’s perfectly delicious without it.
HOT MILK CAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM
2 pounds of strawberries
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of yeast
1/2 teaspoon of salt
To make frosting:
1½ cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
The whipped cream:
1½ cups heavy cream, cold
3 tablespoons of sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur (optional)
1. Hull and cut the strawberries into quarters; mix them with the sugar and chill.
2. Preheat oven to 350 F, grease and flour a standard Bundt pan (or two 8-inch round pans, or one 9×13 baking pan). In a large bowl or blender, cream the eggs and sugar together until pale, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk and butter until the butter has melted and bubbles are beginning to form around the edge of the pan, but do not bring to a boil complete. When small bubbles appear, remove from heat. While beating continuously, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture until incorporated. (Do this gradually so you don’t scramble the eggs. It doesn’t make anyone happy.) Add the vanilla extract.
4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, then gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Pour the batter into your Bundt pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. While the cake is baking, place a metal bowl and beaters in the freezer to prepare to whip the cream. If you choose to add the icing, in a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.
6. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter. If using frosting, pour it over the top of the cake and let it set.
7. Combine the whipped cream ingredients in the chilled metal bowl and beat until soft peaks form. To serve: Pile the cake with strawberries and whipped cream and face all that glorious goodness. This light and airy recipe is perfect for all your summer fun. Add some blueberries and we have a patriotic dessert for Independence Day. Add sliced peaches later in the summer when juicy and ripe for late summer perfection. You can cut the cake into cubes and layer the ingredients in a trifle bowl for a spectacular presentation. Or make individual portions perfect for a picnic in mason jars for travel.
As National Strawberry and Cream Day is Saturday, no matter how, when or why; you can’t beat strawberries and cream on a hot milk cake.
Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the recipe, party planning, recipe and content creator for the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” to www.divasonadime.com. © 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.