Monday, April 6, 2015

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

 When you think of a strawberry shortcake, you might think of a basic pound or sponge cake, layered with strawberries and whipped cream, am I right? It always makes me think of the dessert case at a diner. (honestly, I think I could eat the whole thing) But here's the thing... Actually, a real strawberry shortcake is not really a cake at all. It's more like a biscuit, sort of bumpy and craggy and not so sweet. Often times, you'll see individual servings, sliced horizontally, stuffed with strawberries and then topped with whipped cream. Well, I wanted to make something as big as the cake in the diner case, but with the biscuit recipe. Then I saw Trisha Yearwood do exactly that on her cooking show. I can't remember exactly whose recipe it was, maybe her grandmother, I think. Anyway, this was exactly what I wanted.
 Now, when I looked at her recipe, I noticed that there wasn't very much sugar in it at all. Like I said, it's usually not very sweet. It really was just a giant biscuit. So I kind of tweaked it a little and made it a little bit sweeter. I made it for my friend Kathleen and she said it was AMAZING. (I told her she could keep it all to herself if she wanted....Hmm... I wonder if she ever gave her husband, Tony, a slice. LOL) Anyway, I think this is now my go-to strawberry shortcake recipe. It's really very simple to make , simple to assemble, and I guarantee everyone will be impressed. And when you top it with whipped cream, use a piping bag. Some people might even think you bought it from a bakery! Gotta love that.
So give this one a try. It's definitely a keeper!

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2/3 cup butter (11 tablespoons), cold and cut into small pieces
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 pints fresh strawberries
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
 Grease the bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and 1 cup of the sugar. Add the cold butter and cut in with 2 knives or a pastry blender to coarse-crumb consistency. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the milk until fully combined. Gradually stir the egg and milk mixture into the flour mixture. Knead the dough for no more than a minute on a lightly floured board. Pat half the dough into each cake pan. Brush the surfaces with the melted butter. Sprinkle the top of each layer with a couple tbs sugar. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Turn the shortcake layers out onto cooling racks. While the layers are cooling, wash the strawberries and remove the hulls. Reserve a few berries for garnish. Cut the large berries in half and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup sugar. Let stand for about 30 minutes. Spoon half of the berries with their juice over one shortcake layer. Place the second layer on top and spoon the remaining berries and juice over it. Top with whipped cream.
After baking the layers, I looked at the top of each one to see which one was more even, then made that the top layer. The more uneven one would then become the bottom layer. Using a serrated knife, I sliced off the top of the uneven layer, and then assembled the cake as directed. This serves two purposes: It gives you a flat surface on which to layer the strawberries, and it also makes it easier for the syrup from the strawberries to absorb into the cake. Smart, huh????
Not a fan of strawberries? Use whatever kind of fruit you like!
 Btw, I didn't top it with a lot of whipped cream because I was making it for Kathleen and she prefers it that way, but if you like a lot of whipped cream, go for it!!

1 comment:

Kathleen Casazza said...

This really was the most AMAZING strawberry shortcake! It was so delicious that I did actually share with Tony! (And Anthony, Matthew, Kelsie, and AJ! 😃)