Strawberry shortbread!?

Today was Cat’s birthday, so I wanted to do something nice for her. “Nice” as in, “make her a cake.” Her request was strawberry shortcake, which was something I’ve never made before. So, I grabbed a somewhat random recipe off the Internet and ran with it. For better or for worse!

The results were… interesting. I went with this particular recipe because it seemed fairly simple and looked like a novel change of pace from the usual spongecake style of strawberry shortcake, which I’ve never been a big fan of. When I think strawberry shortcake, I generally think of bland, spongy, wannabe angel food cake, which is no way to celebrate a birthday!

What I didn’t realize — probably because I suck at reading recipes — is that this cake is less of a cake and more of a pastry. The texture of the cake is almost like a shortbread cookie, except lighter and airier. It’s also only mildly sweet, which is nice. It’s a rich, crisp, light, buttery wafer, which ended up being a great complement to the sweet berries I picked up on the way home. Bringing the two together was hand-whipped heavy cream, which I sweetened slightly with vanilla extract and two teaspoons of brown sugar.

I thought it was surprisingly delicious, one of the very few strawberry shortcakes I’ve ever enjoyed. Cat, on the other hand, seemed initially taken aback by the uncharacteristic texture and consistency of the cake. She liked it, thankfully (because it sure would suck if the birthday girl hated her cake), but only after she warmed up to it.

All in all, a modest success.

7 thoughts on “Strawberry shortbread!?

  1. Looks pretty good. I probably would have been lazy and just got bought a regular strawberry shortcake kit because I fail at recipes.

  2. You should feel encouraged, sir. Her mystification is not surprising– most folks who ask for strawberry shortcake are expecting a pound cake with strawberries and whipped cream on it. Usually, that’s what I give ’em. I love a real shortcake as much as the next guy, but it’s the sort of thing most folks are used to seeing only in cookie form.

    If you’re still on a cake kick going into the cooler months, one of my favorite (and simplest to make) cakes for fall is a pound cake imbued with the power of delicious spices:

    1/4 cup milk
    1/2 cup egg whites
    2 tsp brandy
    2 cups cake flour, sifted
    1 cup sugar
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp cloves
    1 and 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
    16 tbsp softened unsalted butter

    First, prepare your pan: Butter the pan, then line each side with parchment paper, then butter the parchment paper, then lightly flour it. Shake out any excess flour, and you’re ready to rock.

    1) Combine milk, egg whites, brandy.
    2) In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
    3) Mix in the butter and half of the egg mixture, mixing until the ingredients are moistened. Then, beat the hell out of it for a minute or so (aka medium speed if you’re using a mixer).
    4) Add half of the remaining egg mixture; beat for 20 seconds. Add the other half and do the same.
    5) Use a scraper to get the batter out of the bowl and into the cake pan. Then, bake for 45 – 55 minutes at 350F.
    6) Once it’s done baking, let it cool for about 10 minutes before bringing it out of the pan.

    Half a slice of this stuff is a great match for a really good cup of tea.

  3. This is the kind of shortcake I’m used to – I’ll try to make it somewhere between a shortcake and a scone, so that you get a nice, light crumbly texture. By itself, it would be a little dry, but when you add whipped cream it becomes perfect, and the strawberries really get to shine.

  4. That makes me hungry.

    You are thinking of the things the grocery stores pawn off on us lazy people as the ‘cake’ for shortcake. The real homemade stuff is more like a biscuit or a mildly sweet shortbread. I have made the shortbread type cake, but since I am a lousy biscuit maker, it doesn’t turn out very good for me.

  5. Oh man, good old fashioned shortcake like my grandma used to make. When she would make strawberry shortcake, she would pour a little cream over the cake to moisten it up. So good. It’s been so long since I’ve had it, I might try to make some myself!

  6. Your great grandmother just made a pie crust and put strawberries on it. I can believe the no biscuit thing as mine always looked like a hocket puck. That is one reason I made yeast breads all the time.

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