As most people know, many Americans in North Africa have faced terrible protests this month. In Algeria, we are very lucky, as a strong police presence and general desire for calm in the city have kept things quiet here. In fact, the only recent protest was a large protest against the management of the ruling FLN party. So, on one of these recent tense days, I'm at the fruit and vegetable stand and my bill is about twice what it usually is (all, you know, 5 euros). But before I could wonder if I was paying the new foreigner tax, the vendor, who is always very kind to me, explained that the strawberries in my basket were imported from Spain, and thus very expensive.
With my treasured out-of season strawberries at home, we snacked on a few, but I knew I had to use them up quickly before they went bad. I remembered a blueberry cake recipe I'd seen online, and thought I could tweak it to go with strawberries. The result is a really tender wonderfully scented cake. The addition of almond and amaranth flours makes for a soft moist crumb, and the almonds and sugar on top add crunch to the strawberries.
** Update: We recently made this with chopped pears (I sauteed the pears in a hot pan to soften them and draw out some of their moisture first) and it came out great.
Strawberry Almond Cake
1 cup flour
1/4 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
3 tablespoons amaranth flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 dash vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
1 handful (about 1/3 cup) slivered almonds
1 tablespoon sugar, for sprinkling on top
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan.
2. Mix the flours, almond meal, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, until the mixture is ribbony, then add in the vanilla. Fold in half of the flour mixture, then add in the milk, then fold in the remaining flour mixture until combined. Fold in half of the strawberries.
3. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Arrange the remaining strawberries on top. Scatter the almonds and the 1 tablespoon sugar over the top. Bake 40-45 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Let cool on a rack. Serve with whipped cream.