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Miriam Foster with her now famous brown butter spice cake at the Orient Country Store. (Credit: Claire Leaden)

A gluten-free brown butter spice cake from the Orient Country Store provides the base for the best strawberry shortcake in the world — at least according to one NPR host.

Faith Middleton, a regular customer at the Village Lane market and host of The Faith Middleton Show and The Food Shmooze, spread her own strawberry, lemon juice and honey mixture over market co-owner Miriam Foster’s brown butter spice cake on a whim earlier this summer.

The result was what the Peabody Award-winning radio host called “hands down, the best thing ever.”

“It’s unbelievably delicious,” Middleton told Foster on the latest episode of The Food Schmooze, which aired on July 3 and 5. “The cake itself is a knockout. But this together is unbelievable.”

Foster said she modified the recipe from North Fork Table & Inn pastry chef Claudia Fleming’s cookbook The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern. Foster makes the recipe gluten-free — specifically for her brother-in-law who has a wheat allergy — by using rice flour.

Middleton noted the crunchy texture and nutty taste from the ground almonds included in the recipe.

“The nuts thankfully both give a lot of flavor, the crunch that you taste and structure to the bread,” said Foster, who owns the market with husband Grayson Murphy.

Foster allowed Middleton to publish the recipe for the gluten-free cake on her website, though listeners have been stopping in for a taste from the source.

“Since it aired I have had four or five people come in specifically to taste the cake,” Foster told northforker. “It’s been a nice ground swell of comments near and far.”


Middleton’s praise of the Orient market was not limited to Foster’s mixing bowl skills.

“They make this awesome tuna salad with lemon zest in it,” she said. “It’s just a wonderful hang out.”

The Orient Country Store is located at 950 Village Lane in Orient.