In Season: Local Strawberries


One of the things I love about Sacramento is stumbling upon a corner of earth, right in the middle of our urban landscape, that some lovely soul has decided to farm. It’s a beautiful thing to see acres of fruit trees in the middle of a residential neighborhood, or a strawberry patch nestled between a grocery store and a tract of homes. These open spaces give our fair city the kind of topography that sets it apart from the concrete jungles out there. And, of course, the resulting fruit stands that feature an assortment of color-drenched, just-picked fruit (and vegetables) feels a little like a gift.


I have a favorite strawberry stand in my neighborhood that sells delicious strawberries, cherries and an assortment of in-season vegetables. The strawberry varietals vary as the season progresses, but each is beloved. Whether washed and eaten, sliced over cake, in a smoothie or shake, or spread across my kitchen counter in my yearly quest to “put up” jam, strawberries have always been a symbol of spring and summer, sunshine and warmth, as well as delectable sweetness.


One of my favorite desserts is fresh strawberries over angel food cake. My mom used to make this simple dessert for us a lot during the summer, and there were never any leftovers. In honor of Mother’s Day, my family will be enjoying this (practically) guilt-free dessert.

Gluten-free Angel Food Cake


1 ½ cups egg whites (about 10)

¾ cup plus ½ cup sugar, divided

¼ cup cornstarch

¼ cup white rice flour

¼ cup tapioca flour

¼ cup potato starch

1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar

¾ teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

Assorted fresh fruit, such as strawberries

Whipped cream


Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Sift 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, flours and potato starch together twice; set aside.

Add cream of tartar, salt and vanilla to egg whites; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold in flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time.

Gently spoon into an ungreased 10-in. tube pan. Cut through the batter with a knife to remove air pockets. Bake on the lowest oven rack at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until lightly browned and entire top appears dry. Immediately invert pan; cool completely, about 1 hour.

Run a knife around side and center tube of pan. Remove cake to a serving plate. Top with fresh fruit if desired. Yield: 16 servings.

From ( Originally published as Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake in Healthy Cooking June/July 2010, p18

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