So- true story, I was in a sorority in college. I did my undergrad at Johns Hopkins University, so the nature of Greek life was pretty toned down in comparison to other schools. We didn’t have a house. I wasn’t constantly decked out in apparel. And I definitely was not hazed. It was rather low key due to the fact that everyone had schoolwork on their mind first. But it still felt like a cohesive group. I made some of my best friends from college in that sorority- girls that I still see often and am in constant communication with, girls I anticipate being friends with for the rest of my life. I also made a ton of other close friends, either through long nights or silly activities, that when I see now I still have that special connection with. I’ll be the first to admit that the whole “sisters” and “sisterly bond” thing doesn’t really describe the nature of my experience in a sorority, but nonetheless the friendships I made still matter very much to me.
Lucky for me, there are probably 25+ girls from my sorority living in the NYC area. In June we started doing monthly get togethers. We rotate homes, everyone brings food, and then we just hang and chat. When I went in June there were girls there I hadn’t seen in close to five years (since I graduated), and just the sound of their voices brought back a flood of memories from the time we had spent together in college. It was kind of unreal. And it made me realize just how valuable this network of girls I have in my life is. I know sororities can get a pretty bad rap, and truthfully, had I been at another school I likely would not have joined one. But now being able to experience having this rich group of friendships in close proximity, I’m so thankful for having been in one.
Oh, so this cake? This is what I brought to last night’s get together. It’s a spin off of the buttermilk cake I made a few weeks back. I might like this version a bit better, mostly because it’s generously topped with a luscious cream cheese icing. Have I mentioned I detest frosting cakes? I’m all about recipes where you thickly slather the top of the cake with icing, rather than all around. Makes life way easier. Also, I simply cannot get over the crumb of this cake. It is so incredibly tender. Your guests won’t be able to either. So whichever version you choose, I urge you to make this buttermilk cake in some form or fashion this summer. Enjoy!
Strawberry Buttermilk Cake with Strawberry Icing
Make the strawberry purée:
- 10 medium to large strawberries, cut in half
- 2 T sugar
For the cake (cake slightly adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook):
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 6 T unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup strawberry purée
Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter and flour a 9 inch cake pan or cast iron pan and set aside.
Whisk together the dry ingredients. Using a stand or hand mixer, on medium speed beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 3 minutes. Add in the egg and then the egg yolk, beating until just combined after each addition. Lastly add in the vanilla and beat until just combined. Lower the mixer to low speed, add in half the flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Add in the buttermilk and beat just until the flour disappears. Add in the remaining flour and beat until the flour disappears. Use a rubber spatula to bring together the batter and ensure everything is well incorporated. Lastly, fold in the strawberry purée and stir until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake is a deep golden brown and a cake tester or tooth pick comes out clean. Let cool completely.
Make the frosting:
- 8 T unsalted butter, softened
- 4 T cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 T strawberry purée
Beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Fold in the strawberry purée. Place the frosting in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to firm up before spreading thickly across the top of the cake. Serve immediately.