I did not do my homework, or I was naïve, or both, thinking that the rabbits would leave my new strawberry patch alone. They are systematically eating their way through the rows. I should have known better – pet rabbits are given strawberry leaves as a treat. Fencing in the strawberry patch is out of the question because to really keep the bunnies out, the fence needs to be galvanized hardwire cloth, buried 6 inches in the ground and at least 3 feet high, like my vegetable garden. Even a stubborn gardener like me must admit that this is not economical for a strawberry patch, and very labor-intensive.
But I wasn’t ready to give up just as yet so as a last attempt (all products I have tried in the past did not work), I bought Plantskydd, an organic rabbit repellent from Sweden that is supposed to do miracles. With one leaf left on a plant, so I learned, the strawberries might survive the onslaught. If in a week or so, the new leaves are not chewed off, the stuff works. Until then, I am not getting my hopes up too high.
Fortunately, our neighbor, a part-time farmer, grows strawberries. He has supplied us with super-ripe strawberries twice this week. This strawberry cake was an impromptu operation so I used what I had on hand. For the lining of the crust, I made a small batch of strawberry jam of the ripest strawberries. Unless it’s top-quality or homemade, I find most strawberry jams nothing but sugary so this was more than a solution borne out of necessity.Strawberry Cake with Vanilla Custard
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (125 g) all-purpose flour
2½ level teaspoons baking powder
½ cup (100 g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons lemon agrumato olive oil (or lemon-infused olive oil)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 pinch salt
1¼ to 1½ pounds washed and hulled strawberries
Strawberry jam for brushing
1 batch homemade vanilla pudding (recipe is on my other blog, Spoonfuls of Germany)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees Celsius). Line a 10-inch (25 cm) cake pan or springform pan with baking parchment and grease the sides.
2. Add all ingredients for the crust to a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until combined, then beat at high speed for 1 minute. Pour into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until firm and golden. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly then unmold onto a cake rack and let cool completely.
4. Brush the cake with jam.
5. Prepare vanilla pudding following recipe. Spread on cake while still lukewarm, leaving about ½ inch (1.25 cm) free all around to give the custard room to spread without dripping down the sides.
6. Wash and hull strawberries and arrange in an overlapping shingle pattern. Refrigerate and serve within a day.
Makes 1 cake