Strawberry Cardamom Upside Down Cake

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When I tell people about my sister (like the fact that half of my wardrobe is made up of clothes I’ve stolen from her, or that she terrifies me, or that she’s far better at doing her makeup and hair than I can ever be, or that she never calls), they assume she’s older than me.

She’s not.

She’s fifteen. She’s fifteen, but she’s the oldest fifteen you’ll ever come across. I once told her that sometimes I think she acts more grown up than I do. Her response was a knowing smile, a metaphorical pat on the hand, and a superior, “Sometimes I think that too.”

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Usually at the beginning of the summer, we go strawberry picking. By this, I mean I pick strawberries while she complains about the heat and gives me a recap of all the juicy school drama from the past year. It’s something we didn’t get the chance to do this year, meaning this cake was made with frozen store-bought strawberries. Next year, though, I’ll make sure that I make it from a crap ton of fresh lowcountry strawberries instead (so mark your calendar, Hali).

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Thanks to those (frozen) strawberries, this cake is juicy and sweet and needs very little in the way of toppings. In fact, the only addition I’d really suggest is a dollop of whipped cream (because when is that ever not a good idea). The base of the cake itself gets most of its moisture from greek yogurt, a heavy lifting baking ingredient that goes a long way in preventing your cake from drying out without letting it get gummy. The real key, however, is the cardamom. It’s one of my all time favorite spices, in that it’s so unexpected. Earthy and bright, it’s the perfect compliment to those summery berries. And it’s guaranteed to make whoever tries a slice ask “Now what exactly is that flavor…?”

It’s cardamom, hon. You’re welcome.

* * *

Cardamon Strawberry Upside Down Cake

Makes one 9-inch cake

Ingredients:

2 cups sliced strawberries (fresh or frozen*)
3/4 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup almond milk (or other milk of choice)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9-inch cake pan. Toss sliced strawberries in 2 Tablespoons of sugar, then spread evenly on the bottom of the cake pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cardamom, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs for about a minute. Whisk in the yogurt, almond milk, and remaining sugar. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together gently just until combined. Spoon the batter into the cake pan over the strawberries, and smooth the top with a spatula or the back of a spoon.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan before inverting onto a platter and serving.

*Bonus points if they’re from a sister-bonding strawberry picking excursion

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