Attack Of Strawberry Upside-Down Cake


Every summer our hardy little strawberries outdo themselves for a few weeks burying us with sweet succulent ruby red berries in an avalanche of vitamin C-packed goodness. Actually, these delicious titian gems are overflowing with perks, 1 cup contains 149% of the RDA, 29% manganese, 99 mg heart and joint healthy omega-3 fatty acids, 3 g of fiber, 1 g of protein, and just 49 calories. Not bad for something that feels like a dulcet guilty pleasure. And while they taste amazing in their naked glory or nestled in some creamy protein-rich Greek yogurt, I still find myself scouring the interwebs for new and interesting ways to highlight their many juicy virtues as well as stretch out their little lifespans cuz they’re so sweet they even ripen further in the refrigerator! Strangely, most of the recipes I found were um, strange. One involved an entire bag of marshmallows while others showed cakes studded with red clots like a Day of the Dead buffet. I’ve basically turned a buttermilk cake recipe into an upside-down cake by filling the bottom of the cake pan with strawberries tossed in some sugar and piquant balsamic vinegar to give them a more sweetly sour tang. Adding some lemon juice and zest to the cake gives a nice citrus note that complements the berries and provides some more interest to the moist buttery cake. Despite the dramatic appearance of the crimson top contrasting with the golden cake this is a pretty painless dessert to make, but multiple second servings aside, I’m fairly certain the dinner guests couldn’t tell just how effortless it actually was 🙂 This is a very moist cake so throw restraint out the window if you’re not able to finish it off in a few days you can make lots of friends by sharing with your neighbors and sending leftovers home with your dinner guests (It tastes great as breakfast!) otherwise you will end up with a mushy hoarded dessert 4 days later 😦


This recipe is just that easy.

2 c strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tbsp + 1 c sugar
1 + 2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
16 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tbsp lemon zest ~2 lemons
1/4 c lemon juice ~1-2 lemons
1 c low-fat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F. If not using a silicone 9 or 10-inch round baking pan grease the sides only of a baking pan and set aside.

Combine strawberries, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and balsamic vinegar in a bowl and mix. Pour into baking pan so that the bottom of the pan is completely covered in an even layer.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Beat butter in another large bowl till pale and fluffy. Mix in remaining 1 c sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, then mix in remaining 2 tsp vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest. On low speed mix in half of flour mixture till just incorporated (no white lumps or streaks visible). Mix half of buttermilk. Alternate remaining flour mixture with buttermilk till just combined. Pour batter over strawberries so that strawberries are covered in an even layer. Bake till golden and a cake tester or wooden toothpick comes out clean ~35-45 minutes. Using a 9-inch silicone baking pan and convection it takes me 40 minutes. Let cool for ~10 minutes before flipping out onto a plate (I find it’s easiest to invert a plate onto the cake pan and then flip the pan while holding it onto the plate.). Makes 8-10 servings.


About Cam

Enjoying the hippie life in Portlandia :)


  1. Now this is the way to use up strawberries. That nice layer of strawberry sure does make this cake look delicious, Cam. I’ve always had a soft spot for upside-down cakes. It was the first cake I ever made and was the only type of cake I made for years afterward. 🙂 Never did make one with strawberries, though, and I think I’ve been missing out. Thanks for the nudge in the right direction. 🙂

    • Cam

      When you’re drowning in strawberries, inspiration strikes 😉

      I love upside-down cakes cuz they’re so easy yet are moist, delicious, and striking. Has berry season hit in the middle west yet? The heat waves here have confused everyone’s gardens (usually I don’t start harvesting strawberries till the end of June). I think I’ll be making strawberry-rhubarb jam today 🙂 I just need to get myself off the couch …

      • Strawberries are definitely in and I’ve made the shortcakes to prove it! Not a fan of rhubarb at all and I’ve endured countless tastings of it in every form possible by well-meaning friends and family members. I’ll stick with the shortcakes. 🙂

      • Cam

        I must say that while I don’t like rhubarb by itself, I like it with strawberry in pies and jams. It definitely has an astringent acidity that needs help from something sweet and fragrant otherwise it sort of reminds me of a sour, slightly chalky celery. Ugh, now that sounds unappealing lol.

  2. Oh YUM! Strawberry anything always gets my attention! Looks delish!

    • Cam

      Thanks! I love strawberries too but going into week 3 of the annual strawberry tsunami I’m really wracking my brains trying to find new and interesting ways to consume ~3 quarts every few days. It’s sunny right now so it seems like a strawberry margarita popsicle day, you think? 🙂

  3. Lusty strawberry cake!
    can’t wait for making this wen the strawberry is on season…..

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