It’s that time of year again…SUMMER time baby!! And tomorrow is the Fourth of July, a day of backyard BBQ’s, fireworks, and of course who could forget… strawberry shortcake! WHOOHOO!! Ahem…sorry about that, I get a little excited when it comes to that particular dessert. It’s a true sign that summer has finally come when you start seeing those massive displays of strawberry pints at the grocery store. Usually sitting right next to them are those famously yellow little sponge cakes, calling to you to splash them with strawberries and dollop them with Cool Whip…or maybe that’s just me.
Now let me explain something, I grew up in a house run by a wonderful woman who made Hamburger Helper for dinner, Wonder Bread, Kraft Single, and Miracle Whip sandwiches for lunch and those yellow and red beauties for The Fourth of July. Let me say this though, I am by no means complaining!! Now, I love to cook and bake with the fresh ingredients as much as the next cook…however I will never, I repeat NEVER turn my nose up to a classic plate of Hamburger Helper. It’s just in my blood, and I’m fine with that. Honestly it’s not like any of these overly processed packaged foods actually taste good to me, it’s just the memories they invoke when I eat them that are so special. Sitting down for dinner as a kid after playing outside all day, everyone talking about what went on in their worlds that day. After all, isn’t that why we all cook and bake in the first place, to bring family together? Well that, and to completely indulge ourselves in delicious pleasures! Cue, my makeover of my most beloved dessert as a child, sweet sweet strawberry shortcake. This is the stuff dreams are made of!
Now, like I said before I have no beef with the little yellow packaged version, but man does this one blow that outta the water! Look, I know I say this a lot…but this recipe couldn’t be easier!! I will admit that it does have a few steps, but they all come together quite quickly and effortlessly.
What I did here is basically make three big biscuits to replace those small individual yellow sponge cakes. The cakes are buttery and flaky with just a touch of sweetness. They also hold up well under saucy conditions! After all, the best part of this dessert is all that delicious strawberry sauce, or maybe it’s the whipped cream for you. The whipped cream is made from scratch (so easy) rather then getting it from a tub or a can…you’ll thank me later. BUT! I did stick to the same classic way my mom always prepared the strawberries. Some things are just better left to tradition…if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Am I right? Basically this cake brings together the best of both worlds, all in one show stopping package! Make sure to buy the best strawberries you can find, it makes all the difference! This stacked strawberry shortcake is gorgeous and will surely be the center of attention at any Fourth of July celebration, whether it just be at home around the table with family or out at a party…no one will know you threw it together earlier that day!
Happy July 4th!!!
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp.+ 2 tsp. baking powder
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter (cubed)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 pints strawberries (hulled and sliced)
- 1/4-1/2 cup sugar
- Juice from one lemon
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2-4 tbsp. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Line three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment, butter and flour. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
- Add the cold cubed butter into the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or a fork work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture becomes crumbly.
- Slowly add the cream as you stir. Do not over mix.
- Form the mixture into a ball, then divide it into three parts.
- Press each section firmly into the prepared pans.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until tops are pale gold but not browned at all.
- Cool on wire racks in the pans for 10 minutes, remove and cool completely.
- Place the hulled and sliced strawberries in a large bowl.
- Add the juice of one lemon and the sugar (more or less depending on your taste) and toss to coat.
- Let stand in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to macerate. (get juicy :p)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, whip the heavy cream on medium/high speed until cream has thickened slightly.
- add the the vanilla and sugar (more or less depending on your taste) and whip on medium speed until peaks form when you lift up the whisk. Be careful not to over whip the cream otherwise it will look curdled.
- Once the shortcakes have cooled completely assemble the shortcake.
- Place one layer on a serving plate, top with several heaping spoonfuls of the strawberries, trying to leave out most of the juice.
- Spread a thin layer of whipped cream over the berries.
- Repeat, stacking the next two layers on top of one another.
- Smooth a thicker layer of whipped cream on the top of the cake, and garnish with a few strawberries.
- Serve immediately, spooning leftover strawberries and strawberry juice over each piece as desired.
- Yields 8-10 slices