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

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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. The lime and hibiscus syrup would definitely be my favorite. It just sounds like it would inspire creativity! This summer gift box looks gorgeous and the cake sounds fantastic!

  2. I love the citrus sugars and can think of so many uses to bring the flavors of summer all year long.

  3. 240Sweet’s Smores marshmellow looks so good I can almost taste it. Without being able to have a campfire, this would be the next best thing!

  4. I am a fan of Love and Olive oil on facebook

  5. I would love to try the Old Salties, bacon-fat roasted, Old-Bay peanuts. They sound amazing!

  6. Lime and Hibiscus syrup….!

  7. like you on facebook c sorel

  8. The bacon fat roasted Old Bay peanuts sound great and want some of those

  9. I would love to try the s’mores marshmallows. I love s’mores, but the only marshmallows we get where I live are strawberry flavored and I don’t really like them.

  10. The citrus sugars sound amazing, but I’m even mire curious about that brownie…

  11. I am pretty sure the brownie would disappear as soon as I opened the box!

  12. Umm, how could you pick just ONE? They all sound sooo good, though salty, the peanuts would be what I first reached for in this kit! oh yum!

  13. The lime & hibiscus syrup for sure- i’m imagining some wonderfully refreshing beverages right now! Thanks!

  14. Following @loveandoliveoil on Twitter @lyndacooks and Tweeted this:!/lyndacooks/status/89219448317288448

    [email protected]

  15. Liked Love and Olive Oil on Facebook as Lynda Clark
    [email protected]

  16. I am excited to try the Trio of Citrus Sugars from the Summer Eat Boutique Gift box. Thank you for this exciting giveaway.
    [email protected]

  17. I like you on Facebook (Cheryl HeartnSoulmom)

  18. I follow you via Twitter @HeartnSoulmom


  19. I would love to try the Lime & Hibiscus Syrup, for sure!

  20. The lime and hibiscus syrup sounds so refreshing! Can’t wait to try it (hopefully)

  21. I like Love & Olive Oil on facebook.
    (Sharon O.)

  22. I would especially love to try the Lime and Hibiscus Syrup. It sounds so unique and delicious. Thanks!

  23. The lime-hibiscus syrup sounds lovely. Thanks for the chance to win.

  24. I’m a fan on Facebook!

  25. Definitely the old salties–I just discovered Old Bay and it is amazing!

  26. Brownies! Yum!

  27. I’m really interested in checking out The Trio of Citrus Sugars!

  28. I follow on Facebook!

  29. The lime hibiscus syrup sounds delicious!

  30. the s’mores marshmallows!

  31. I would love the s’more marshmallows!

  32. I would love to try the citrus sugars because they are great to put on anything. Scones, muffins, cookies, anything…

  33. I am a chocoholic so of course the brownie!

  34. Lots of goodness in that gift basket! Can’t wait to try your strawberry cake. I’m a fan on facebook.

  35. The lime & hibiscus syrup sounds divine! I’d love to drizzle some of that goodness on vanilla ice cream! Love you blog XOs

  36. the citrus sugars

  37. I tweeted. I’m @Fettbot

  38. Lime and hybiscus syrup – exotic, tropical, sunny – I’m already drooling!

  39. I’m a fan on Facebook. I’m Emily Fette!

  40. Lime & Hibiscus Syrup!

    I would love to try this syrup because I have never tried any syrup like this before! It sounds soaked in summer and delicious!

    The Strawberry Buttermilk Cake sounds incredible! I have another inspiration for my strawberries that are awaiting to be picked in the garden right now!

    Thank you!

  41. Oh my goodness, I’m drooling over your pictures. I’m also very curious about the Lime & Hibiscus Syrup. I bet it would be amazing on frozen yogurt or ice cream!

  42. I’m a fan on Facebook.

  43. I’m another one for the lime and hibiscus syrup.

  44. I would love to try the jellies and jams ! I would love to learn how to make my own!

  45. How could I not want to try the best brownie ever tasted?!

  46. Um, bacon fat roasted peanuts all the way! What’s not to love?

  47. First: I will have the S’Mores! Second: Thank you for this great recipe. I live in Sacramento, CA. but from Watsonville, CA. where we get the best strawberries in the US., DRISCOLS. And we can have them through summer. They are terrific dipped in chocolate, or dip the strawberry in sour cream then brown sugar. Super! We have lots of strawberries, on pancakes, plain, dipped, on cereal and on any cake. Love CA berries.

  48. I would LOVE to try the different sugars!

  49. S’mores marshmallows just sound incredible!

  50. Mmhmm, I want to try those delicious looking s’mores marshmallows!!!

  51. the brownies sound AWESOME!

  52. I think the lime and hibiscus syrup sounds divine!!!

  53. I’m intrigued by the old salties!

  54. I love to grill and try new sauces so I’d like to try the sweet & spicy bbq sauce most. And then I’d dive right into that brownie! Thank you for the opportunity to try new things!

  55. And I’m a fan on Facebook

  56. Love s’mores, love marshmallows = would love to try s’more marshmallows!!

  57. i am canadian so im a no-go for the contest, but just wanted to say thanks for turning me on to Eat Boutique! its fabulous :)

  58. I’m a sucker for s’mores. Would love to try Sweet240’s s’mores marshmallows.

  59. Hands down, the lime hibiscus syrup- can someone say cocktail?!

  60. I am already a fan on facebook :)

  61. I tweeted about the giveaway (@drwinnie) :)

  62. I would love to try the lime and hibiscus syrup!

  63. The lime and hibiscus syrup sounds interesting. I would love to try it.

  64. I also tweeted! (@meghquinn)

  65. I like (really love) you on facebook!

  66. As a S’mores addict, the marshmallows sound amazing. However, I also have a new obsession with beets, so they are a close second.

  67. Mmm, I would love to try the s’mores marshmallows! I am a fan on Facebook!

  68. follow you on FB
    Wendi N

  69. Everything sounds delicious, I love marshmallows so the S’mores Marshmallows would probable be my fave.

  70. I am a facebook fan!

  71. I think i would have to choose s’mores marshmallows!! Sweet beets is a close second. But really this box sounds glorious! What a dream to win!!

  72. Just became a facebook fan!

  73. I’m a chocoholic, so most certainly the brownies-YUM!

  74. Lime & hibiscus syrup sounds fresh and summery!

  75. I also “like” you on FB.

  76. You had me at bacon fat roasted peanuts…. drool.

  77. I would have to pick the Lime & Hibiscus syrup. It sounds wonderful and I am already thinking of a few things to try it with. Although, everything in the box sounds wonderful!

  78. Your cake looks lovely….I cannot wait to try it out!! Although everything in the box sounds amazing, I would have to go with the brownies! I am such a chocolate lover and your description of them sold me!

  79. I would love to try the citrus sugars :)

  80. The pickles would be lovely.

  81. The citrus sugars sound wonderful.

  82. I would love to try the s’mores marshmallows as my Daughter-in-law is trying to make different flavored marshmallows. But all of it just sounds delightful!

  83. S’mores Marshmallows please. S’mores on a campfire scream summer to me.

  84. Also, I’m now following Love & Olive Oil on facebook! (Megan L.)

  85. I am super curious to try that lemon and hibiscus syrup. It sounds really good!

  86. i also follow you on twitter (@Ulixis)

  87. I’m already a facebook fan (Amanda G)

  88. the sweet beets & lime & hibiscus syrup sound amazing!

  89. I like on FB! Nelly R :)

  90. I’d love to try lime & hibiscus syrup!!!

  91. I would most like to try the Square One Brownie.

  92. Pick Me! Of course the sweet beets sound so great… especially because I won’t make beets for fear of staining…

  93. the syrup, I wonder if it would be good over vanilla ice cream……….

  94. Oh, those sound wonderful! I’m kind of addicted to s’mores, so I’d want to try the marshmallows!

  95. Smores marshmallows!!!!

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