3 tablespoons plus 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

separated into 3 tablespoons and 1 cup portions

2/3 cup dark brown sugar, tightly packed

2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

zest from 1 medium lemon

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

1 cup fine-ground cornmeal 

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

(makes one 9-inch cake)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F). 

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter. Add 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and lemon zest stirring until the sugar melts. Scrape the mixture into the bottom of the prepared cake pan, swirling the pan so that the mixture spreads across the cake pan bottom and up its sides. Place the sliced, flat side of the strawberries on the bottom of the pan on top of the mixture. Here's a pro tip — try and cover as much of the bottom of the pan as you can with strawberries for a more attractive cake!

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup fine-ground cornmeal, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 1 cup unsalted butter and 1 cup granulated sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. When the mixture has doubled in size, reduce the mixer speed and add 4 large eggs, one at a time, only adding the next egg when the one before it is fully incorporated. Once all the eggs have been incorporated, beat in 1/3 cup sour cream and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract until just incorporated.

Sprinkle the dry ingredients (from the 3rd step) over the mixture and use a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients into the wet ingredients by hand — do not overmix! Just continue mixing until the dry ingredients have just incorporated into the batter.

Scrape the batter into the cake pan over the strawberry slices. Transfer to the oven and bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, around 40 to 50 minutes. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, before running a butter knife or an offset spatula along the cake's edges to loosen it from the pan. Invert the cake onto a platter, and allow to cool completely before serving.

Hummingbird High