Love and Olive Oil

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake with Preserved Whole Strawberries

Guess what? I have another something special for you. I’d like to welcome a very special guest, miss Maggie Battista of Eat Boutique. Yes, that Eat Boutique, the fabulous blog and purveyor of our favorite foodie gift boxes, sharing a delicious summer dessert recipe!

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake with Preserved Whole Strawberries

This happens to be a short story of two yeses, two recipes and a giveaway.

Let’s start with the yeses. I’ve only known Lindsay since the start of this year, but I feel like she’s a sweet, forever friend. We’ve built up our friendship over the course of two giveaways. Lindsay’s a big supporter of my blog, Eat Boutique, where we share recipes and guides, spotlight food makers and sell homespun gift boxes. (Thanks, Lindsay!)

Preserved Whole Strawberries

When I told Lindsay about Eat Boutique’s summer gift box, a crafty box packed with food fit for a summer picnic, she said, “yes” to a summer box giveaway. (Don’t you just love a giveaway?) And when she asked me to write the blog post, I couldn’t help but get excited and say “yes” – though, of course, secretly stressing about what I might share with you all.

Preserved Whole Strawberries

While I’ve been a food blogger for four years, baking for this crowd is a bit scary; you’re all such great bakers! More so than baking, I love preserving. I’ve found my passion in homemade jams, vinegars, syrups and sweet cordials with whatever is in season. Our strawberry season is coming to a close in New England, but I managed to preserve several quarts, including this easy recipe for preserved whole strawberries.

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake with Preserved Whole Strawberries

Since we’re not preserving these strawberries to take us through to next year, the preparation is really easy. And let’s be realistic, local strawberries don’t last more than a few weeks in my house, whether freshly picked or preserved; they’re just too delicious.

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake with Preserved Whole Strawberries

Keep in mind: You could add spices, like an adobe chile during cooking, or even liquor, like a few splashes of Campari just after the cooking, to the strawberries for some added flavor. (My oh my, Campari-flavored preserved strawberries make for a great Americano cocktail!) But I kept it simple, as this strawberry buttermilk cake doesn’t need much to shine. Maybe just a touch of homemade whipped cream. And while the cake is perfect at room temperature, I actually loved the “ice box” nature of chilling it in the fridge for a bit before serving.

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake with Preserved Whole Strawberries

Did you make this recipe?


For cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 handful fresh strawberries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon sugar (If you don’t have lemon sugar on hand, there’s a nice version in the Eat Boutique gift box, or just use plain sugar)

For preserved strawberries:

  • 1 pound cleaned and hulled strawberries, but kept whole
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour an 8-inch spring form cake pan or a 9-inch regular metal cake pan. If using a spring form cake pan, cut a round piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and place in the pan. (I got lazy and just placed a large sheet of parchment paper on the base and placed the spring form side right on top snugly.)
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla and zest. Add the egg and beat well.
  3. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared cake pan, smoothing out the top. Scatter strawberries evenly over top, loading in as many as you would like. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the lemon sugar.
  4. Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove the spring form or invert from your pan, and cool. Some prefer to serve this cake warm with a bit of vanilla ice cream. I opted to put mine in the fridge and serve it with freshly made whipped cream and preserved strawberries.
  5. To make the preserved strawberries, place the strawberries in a heavy, medium-size pot with the sugar and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat – as the fruit begins to juice, the sugar will melt. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, skimming off the foam, if you’d like. Stir it every 10 minutes or so – do so gently because you want the strawberries to stay intact. The strawberries are done when they’ve shrunken and the syrup has thickened a bit. Serve drizzled on top of the slices of the buttermilk cake and store any leftovers in the fridge for two to three weeks.

These recipes were adapted from Amanda Hesser’s Preserved Strawberries with Chiles on Food 52, and Melissa Robert’s Raspberry Buttermilk Cake featured in Gourmet in June 2009.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. Yuuumi! Looks amazing guys.

  2. Wow! I so love strawberries. And this look amazingly awesome :) Can’t wait to try this.

  3. while i am unable to participate in the giveaway (stupid canadian citizenship!) – i did make your cake last night… and then proceeded to gobble up pretty much the entire thing!!

    Only suggestion: there should be more of it…

    Wait, no, that wasn’t my suggestion. my suggestion was this: in the instructions for the cake itself, it says a “handful of fresh strawberries” – yet for the preserved strawberries it specifies to hull them. thus, the recipe may lead novice bakers to assume that the tops of the strawberries should be left in tact in the cake since there are no such directions… like me. haha – wasn’t a huge deal but i had to cut them off the berries as i found them buried in the cake.. just an idea :)

  4. i would love to try the smores !!

  5. for me i love brownies, but citrus sugar sounds intriguing as a dust over pound cake or fresh fruit with whipped cream

  6. I follow you on Twitter, and I tweeted your tweet! I’m BoonieSooze.!/BoonieSooze/status/91181521649672192

  7. I’d love to try the lime and hibiscus syrup! Mmmm..reminds me of a paleta I once tried!

  8. GIVEAWAY is now closed!

  9. I would love to try the lime and hibiscus syrup. I LOVE when floral is integrated into food!

  10. I also already “like” you on Facebook! Travis R.

  11. I Tweeted also… I’m PlaguedLeech

  12. I’d be super excited to try the Lime & Hibiscus Syrup!

  13. Oh and I tweeted (@christyfike) and already “Like” you on Facebook! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  14. Most definitely would love to try the bacon fat Old Bay roasted peanuts! Yummo!

  15. i’m also a fan on facebook, of course :) jaclyn f.

  16. i also tweeted the link to the giveaway! @foodpluswords :)

  17. oooh! i love eat boutique! i would absolutely love to try that brownie!

  18. I would LOVE the syrup since it’s fruit based. I am exploring cooking with more and more “non-sugar” sweeteners. Such a great idea!

  19. Likes Love & Olive Oil on Facebook (Marie E.)

  20. The S’mores Marshmallows. Yum!

  21. I am envisioning a refreshing summer cocktail made with the lime and hibiscus syrup!

  22. It’s a toss up between the brownie & the bacon fat roasted peanuts.

  23. Far too many to pick from, but def the lime and hibiscus syrup and the brownie! I’d love to compare it to the brownies from NYC that I fell in love with at fat witch bakery!

  24. Definitely the lime and hibiscus syrup. Just think of all the drink possibilities… yum!

  25. I would love to try the brownie!! I follow you on twitter and on facebook! YUMMM

  26. I’m a new fan on facebook! erin l.

  27. Lime & Hibiscus Jam!! Yum, I want!

  28. Alrighty let’s get down to business here cause this gift box is quite something. I would say that I really would love to try the sweet heat pickles cause what gay boy (especially one named The Gay Gourmet!™) doesn’t love a good pickle! (Don’t you get any ideas!) But as I look further into this box I am more and more intrigued. For instance sweet beet and summer picnics go hand in hand but once again too easy, onto the NUTS! (shhhh…) Bacon, Nuts & old bay sound like food sex in a bag and they are certainly my no. 2 choice of what I really wanna try.

    When it really comes down to it I think I’m really gonna have to go with the Lime Hibiscus Syrup just because it sounds so versatile! I’m thinking glazed pork, or lime hibiscus bacon, my famous red velvet pancakes doused in this stuff…UGH! Just pour it all over me!… I mean… It sounds AMAZING and I would be honored to win such a decadent prize!!

  29. I want to try Old Salties, bacon-fat roasted, Old-Bay peanuts.

    mmmmm Bacon!

  30. I would love to try the BEST BROWNIE in the WORLD! sounds scrumtious!

  31. The peanuts roasted in bacon fat. Everyone in my family LOVES bacon.

  32. Wow, everything looks amazing! It’s super difficult to choose, but…I think I’d want to try the brownie the most. I’m a sucker for chocolate!

  33. I tweeted from @michellepollak and I liked on FB!! Thanks!

  34. The lime and hibiscus syrup sound divine!!

  35. I like Love and Olive Oil on Facebook…Anna van Tonder

  36. I posted the link on twitter. My handle is @annadishes

  37. I can’t decide which I want to try more…all of it sounds amazing!

  38. Would love to try the Lime & Hibiscus Syrup. I’m a huge hibiscus fan! Oh, and I just followed you on FB and Twitter! :)

  39. Oh my citrus sugars sound amazing and so perfect for summer baking projects!

  40. I want to try the s’more marshmallow because it sums up the perfect summer: eating S’mores by the campfire with friends you’ll never forget!

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