Strawberry Amaretto Cake with fresh herbs

Strawberries are a celebration of the beginning of summer.  Their bright color, delicate fragrance and sweet flavors simply demand your attention.  As much as I just love to eat them straight, I have also wanted to put them in something more than just strawberry shortcake.

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My first attempt was for a party I had at my house this weekend.  I am one of those crazy people who will make a first try recipe for a party.  I have to admit that I’ve gotten away with it every time.  And although my first attempt at this cake was presentable and good, it just wasn’t up to being something I would make again.IMG_2826

So, I decided to make it again today….yep, that’s right…the very next day.  The first cake was a little too dry and needed more flavor, so I changed some proportions and decided to add another element; fresh herbs.  Specifically, lemon balm because of it’s a subtle flavor.  I didn’t want to overwhelm the strawberries and almonds.  I did want the cake itself to have some….well taste!

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I have to admit that this one is much better, moist and soft, with all the flavors dancing together in a nice balance.  I am sorry that my friends who came to the party (and those who did not) didn’t get a chance to taste this one.  But maybe, when they read this, they will make one for themselves! (Hint, hint!)

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You’ll need:

2/3 cup unbleached flour

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup finely chopped lemon balm

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup fruity olive oil

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup raw sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tbs lemon juice

1 cup strawberries, quartered (about 8-9 med/lg strawberries)

1/2 cup roasted, almonds, chopped (I used toffy almonds)

additional strawberries, halved for garnish (optional)

1/8 cup Amaretto liqueur

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch round spring-form pan.

In a small bowl, stir together the flours, salt, baking soda and minced lemon balm until combined. Set aside

In your mixer’s bowl, combine honey, sugar, eggs, olive oil, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients and blend until smooth.

Fold in quartered strawberries. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.

Top with chopped almonds. Add strawberry garnish.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack.  Let cake cool for 15 minutes.

Poke holes throughout the top of the cake with a skewer. Pour the Amaretto over the cake.

Serve with additional fresh strawberries and strawberry ice cream.  Enjoy!

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