strawberry shortcake (cake).

I was hoping I'd have a Brittany Fell on Her Butt in Karate story for you, but it's just not meant to be. I showed up for class on Tuesday night to an empty parking lot and a very kind custodian telling me the class was canceled for a band activity. Naturally, I raised one eye brow because the school was completely empty, and muttered something about never receiving a phone call and I just came all the way out here, etc.. I was less than thrilled considering my pants were soaked from the knee down from the flood that continues to pour from the sky on a daily basis and I suddenly wished I did know a karate chop or two so I could plow through a concrete block and get a little stress relief.

But I don't know any moves. Not yet. So I made cake instead.

I love strawberries, mostly because I went through a really weird phase for ten years of my life where I was allergic to almost every fruit on the planet except strawberries. Peaches, pears, plums, cantaloupes, apples, bananas, you name it - my mouth would swell and itch and I'd want to chew my lips off. By the grace of God, I grew out of it and have since made up for lost time with peaches soaked in white wine and cherry pies galore. Seriously though, it's kind of scarring when your mother hands you an apple slice and tells you to just "rub it on your lips a little" so your Aunt Daniela can see just how puffy they can be.

I'm still working through that.

I'm a sucker for classic strawberry shortcake, a buttery, slightly salty biscuit soaked with strawberry juice and slices of berries, a cloud of barely sweetened whipped cream on top - but I try to step out of the box on occasion, like with this cake. It's got the same basic elements are strawberry shortcake, but is made as a whole cake instead of individual servings and cream cheese frosting in place of the whipped cream. When it was all said and done, my parents loved it, Justin thought it was so-so, and I didn't care for it one bit.

The recipe calls for way too much sugar for already sweet strawberries, and they tasted more like pie filling than a berry, and the cream cheese frosting is overkill on the sugar, its thick consistency and sugary tang was too overpowering for the delicate vanilla cake. It was nearly impossible to spread frosting over juicy strawberries without mixing it all in together and after a day in the cake stand, the strawberry juices turned the cake to mush and the frosting looked like something out of a horror flick. The recipe said to store in the fridge, but knowing how much cold air dries out a cake, I couldn't bear to do it.

I'm currently drafting my apology letter to the original Strawberry Shortcake (not the cartoon with the ridiculous outfits) for ever turning my back on it. ::sniff sniff::

Strawberry Shortcake Cake
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1-½ cup Flour
3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
½ teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
9 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
1-½ cup Sugar
3 whole Large Eggs
½ cups Sour Cream, Room Temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla

½ pound Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
2 sticks Unsalted Butter
1-½ pound Powdered Sugar, Sifted
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 pound Strawberries
Be sure to use a cake pan that’s at least 2 inches deep! Before baking, the batter should not fill the pan more than halfway.

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch.

Cream 9 tablespoons butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.

Pour into greased and floured 8-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake test comes out clean. Remove from cake pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.

Stem strawberries and slice them in half from bottom to top. Place into a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mash the strawberries in two batches. Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoons sugar and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.

Make icing: combine cream cheese, 2 sticks butter, sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix until very light and fluffy.

Slice cake in half through the middle. Spread strawberries evenly over each half (cut side up), pouring on all the juices. Place cake halves into the freezer for five minutes, just to make icing easier.

Remove from freezer. Use a little less than 1/3 of the icing to spread over the top of the strawberries on the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top. Add half of the remaining icing to the top spreading evenly, then spread the remaining 1/3 cup around the sides.

Leave plain OR garnish with strawberry halves.

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