Some days, you get overzealous and buy strawberries at Costco. And then you come home and make a yummy strawberry rhubarb crisp. But you still have strawberries left. Like, a lot of strawberries.
So you find a recipe you made before. And you play with it.
First you double it. Because, why not?
And then you add orange zest. Because, well, again, why not?
And you make a lovely orange-scented cake, and when you lick the bowl you are happier than one should be. You pour the batter into the pan, and you slice all of those leftover strawberries in half, until your fingers are stained pink. And you nestle them in that batter. You cram as many of them in there as you can. Because there’s no such thing as too many strawberries. And you sprinkle sugar over the top, and you bake it all up. And those strawberries hide within the cake, all roasted and gooey like pockets of strawberry jam.
And then you take the cake to work. And everyone loves you. Forever and always. Amen.
Roasted Strawberry Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 cups plus 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
Zest of one orange
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 9×13 pan (I used a casserole dish that was probably a little smaller…maybe 8×11).
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat butter, orange zest and 2 cups sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.
Pour into prepared pan. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer (though I had to overlap a few to get them all in). Sprinkle remaining 4 tablespoons sugar over berries.
Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes (mine probably went for an extra 10 minutes). (Gooey strawberries on the tester are a given.) Let cool in pan on a rack. Serve with lightly whipped cream.
Take cake to office and become beloved.
Do ahead: Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, loosely covered, but good luck with that.