Strawberry Poke Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat bottom and sides of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with baking spray; set aside. Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the butter melts and the mixture is warm, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside. Sift together flour and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.Advertisement
Beat eggs, lemon extract, salt and 1 tablespoon vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Gradually add 2 cups sugar, beating on medium speed. Beat until all the sugar is incorporated; increase speed to medium-high; beat until the mixture becomes fluffy and lighter in color, 2 to 3 minutes more. Gradually add the milk-butter mixture, beating on low speed until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and place it on a work surface. Using a spatula, gradually add the sifted flour mixture in 4 batches, folding until incorporated (use a whisk toward the end of mixing to evenly combine). Pour the mixture into the prepared pan; smooth the top. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, trim strawberries, and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, transferring the sliced strawberries to a medium bowl as you work. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup sugar to the strawberries; toss to evenly coat. Let stand for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Drain, reserving the juices. Set aside 3 cups strawberries. Place the remaining strawberries, the reserved strawberry juices and gelatin in a food processor or blender; process until smooth, about 1 minute. (You will have about 2 cups strawberry sauce.) Set aside until ready to use.
Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes 1/2 inch apart over the surface of the cooled cake. Pour the strawberry sauce over the cake, letting the sauce fill the holes. Chill the cake for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Arrange the reserved 3 cups strawberries in rows over the chilled cake; sprinkle the cake with mint. Dollop with yogurt (or whipped cream), if desired, and serve.
Tip: When using cake pans, they must be greased and floured to create a thin layer of protection against the oven's heat. For greater convenience, use a cooking spray that has flour in the mix, such as Pam for Baking, Baker's Joy or Crisco No-Stick Flour Spray.
To make ahead: Refrigerate cake, uncovered, for up to 4 hours or cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Dollop with yogurt or whipped cream just before serving, if desired.
1 1/2 other carbohydrate, 1 fat, 1 starch, 1/2 fruit