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. I like you on FB too. Marie T

  2. I am quite excited about the s’mores marshmallows and the citrus sugars!

  3. so hard to choose – i’m intrigued by a trio of citrus sugars

  4. I would love to try the lime and hibiscus syrup. My first thought was to use it on a cake. Or as a glaze for chicken. Or add it jasmine rice…. I just want to try it. And I like you on Facebook.

  5. What a great gift! I’d love to try the bacon fat roasted Old Bay peanuts — can’t go wrong with pork fat! :)

  6. What WOULDN’T I want to try? The box even looks wonderful. I’m sure it might taste funky though.

    All of it! I’m all….well, mouth!

  7. I grew up on the Eastern Shore and thus an utterly addicted to Old Bay and the Chesapeake Bay Company’ roasted peanuts, so there bacon/Old Bay peanuts really pique my interest. But even more, I want to try to the lime hibiscus syrup. I’m imagining all sorts of summery drinks- alcoholic and not.

  8. lime & hibiscus syrup!

  9. That brownie would be first on my list!

  10. I’m a fan on facebook, too!

  11. “best brownie I’ve ever tasted” sounds like a challenge to me. Hard not to want to taste that one (even though I’m really tempted by the thought of trying a new kind of marshmallow).

  12. The old salties sound really good! Your strawberry cake looks delicious too.

  13. That brownie sounds good. It’s been a while since I’ve made a brownie. Never had sweet beets, though. Looking forward to trying something I’ve never had. =o]

  14. They all look delicious but I would really love to try the citrus sugars!
    rncstrong at gmail dot com

  15. Mmm. Looking forward to the sweet beets!

  16. Wow, you had me at bacon fat roasted peanuts! I need those in my life!

  17. I want some of those Old Bay peanuts!! I’m from MD, where Old Bay goes on everything…yet, somehow, I’ve never put it on peanuts. Sounds amazing!

  18. I’ve only ever had mass-produced marshmallows – so I’d love to try some artisan ones on one of my upcoming summer camping trips!

  19. I woud love to try the Old Saltie’s peanuts. They sound delicious.

  20. ooh, I’d like to try the citrus sugars- those sound fun!

    also, I’m a fan on facebook- Jade M. is my name!

  21. The lime and hibiscus syrup really sounds intrigueing!!

  22. I’m down for the lime and hibiscus syrup – summer soda is in my future!

  23. Really excited to try the citrus sugars! I love flavored sugars!

  24. I’m curious about the beets. Never had one yet that really wowed me. This could change that.

  25. Your cake looks and sounds simply divine! The entire give away looks so tasty and intriguing with unique flavors. I would have to be most excited about the lime & hibiscus syrup, since it is completely different. Hope you have a great week!!! :)

  26. I already follow you on Facebook!

  27. @singerinkitchen follows @loveandoliveoil and I tweeted!/singerinkitchen/status/88965103671721984

  28. I would love to try the lime and hibiscus syrup! So yummmm!

  29. The brownie! No contest!

  30. Definitely the s’mores marshmallows!

  31. I think the lime & hibiscus syrup would be wonderful on a warm biscuit….

  32. Yum to it all! Would love to work with the citrus sugars!

  33. It is definitely a tie between the brownie and citrus sugars.

  34. Sweet Beets! I love love love beets…

  35. The Sweet Beets!

    But I agree that I’m very interested in the citrus sugars too

  36. Probably the citrus sugars. Those sound intriguing!

  37. I want to try the s’mores marshmallows. Absolutely my favorite summer treat.

  38. the brownie of course!!!!

  39. Mmmm I want to try to lime and hibiscus syrup! sounds delightful!

  40. The Square One Chocolate Brownies are definitely my top pick. Love chocolate!

  41. Old Salties, bacon-fat roasted, Old-Bay peanuts. You can’t go wrong with bacon on anything!! Add Old-Bay and it’s a done deal.

  42. I Like you on Facebook!

  43. Old Salties, bacon-fat roasted, Old-Bay peanuts – I love bacon, I love peanuts, and I love Old Bay. End of story! Thanks!

  44. I’m not going to lie, the brownies!

  45. The lime & hibiscus syrup sounds wonderful!

  46. I’m a fan on Facebook.

  47. I think the lime and hibiscus syrup – I would love to find different ways to use it.

  48. Those bacon fat roasted Old Bay peanuts sound interesting. I would love to try those.

  49. I have to pick the brownie – how could I not after that endorsement? Thank you for the giveaway – and the recipe, can’t wait to try it!

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