In the spirit of full disclosure, I feel like I should give this post a theme. Let’s call it “When Things Don’t Turn Out The Way You Want Them To, But It’s Okay.”
This cake didn’t turn out the way that I wanted it to. But it’s okay. So, I’m sharing it anyway.
A Poke Cake is a dessert where a baked, still warm cake gets holes poked through it while it’s still in the pan, then a warm liquid (usually a custard or curd) gets poured into the holes. Once it’s given time to set up, the liquid in the poked holes forms a pretty streaky filling in the cake.
That’s how it’s supposed to work.
But, as y’all can see: there is no streaky filling in my cake.
Those of you who are bakers know how this story goes. You try out a new recipe and hope for the best…and sometimes the best just doesn’t happen. It’s not the worst–but it’s not best either.
Had everything with this cake gone exactly according to my plan, then you guys would currently be able to see pretty strawberry streaks running up and down, all the way through it. Y’know, the way a Poke Cake is supposed to look. But unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan. The cake itself baked up beautifully. The strawberry filling came together easily. But when it came time to poke the cake full of holes and pour the filling over the top so that it could seep inside, for some reason it just didn’t budge.
Some of you may be wondering, if the Strawberry Poke Cake didn’t work out, then why are you still posting the recipe, Jess?
Well first, it was still an absolutely delicious pound cake. Second, although it may not qualify as a Poke Cake, there was still a delicious strawberry filling on one side, and an equally delicious strawberry icing on the other. In light of that, I saw no reason why it couldn’t qualify as a Strawberry Pound Cake.
Third, I thought that maybe I’d go ahead and post the recipe anyway to see if one of you wanted to try it and might have better success than I did. Then maybe, you’ll come back here and post a comment to let me know how it turned out, and I can try to gauge where the heck I went wrong 😉
Regardless, this one of those”When Things Don’t Turn Out The Way You Want Them To, But It’s Okay.” recipes, and I hope that it’s enjoyed.
Strawberry Pound Cake
- 1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 1/2 cups sugar, divided
- 6 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 cup half and half
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a Bundt pan or tube cake pan (at least 10 cup capacity).
Combine the flour and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt together in a medium size bowl and set aside.
Cream together the butter and 3 cups of the sugar together in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed (or use a handheld mixer and a large bowl).
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed just until combined. Add the extracts.
Add to butter mixture alternately with half-and-half, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat on low speed just until combined after each addition.
Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Pound cake is done at an inner temp of 195 degrees Fahrenheit)
Meanwhile, during last 20 minutes of the cake’s baking, pulse strawberries and remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor until smooth, about 45 seconds. Use a spatula to press the mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids. Set aside 1/2 cup strawberry mixture.
Whisk together water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Combine cornstarch mixture and remaining strawberry mixture in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, just until mixture begins to thicken, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Using a long wooden skewer, poke holes about 1/2 inch apart into bottom of cake, wiggling skewer slightly to make holes about 1/8 inch wide. (Do not poke skewer all the way through top of cake.) Pour warm strawberry syrup over cake. Let stand until syrup is absorbed and pan is still warm but cool enough to handle, about 45 minutes.
Lay a piece of aluminum foil on top of a wire rack and lightly spray with cooking spray. Invert cake onto rack, and cool completely, about 1 hour.
Whisk together powdered sugar and reserved 1/2 cup strawberry mixture in a medium bowl until smooth. Use a fork to drizzle evenly over cooled cake. Allow to sit for about 20 minutes to allow the icing to harden.