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The other day, I started cruising the web looking for the best, prettiest strawberry shortcakes in the world. I saw a picture of these. I stopped.
I didn’t even look at the recipe; I knew how I was going to make it-two layers of cream cake or sponge cake, strawberries and a stabilized, flavored whipped cream in between. I also thought about a chocolate version. Then I looked for the best strawberries I could find and started baking.
For the Cake
I made a cream cake. A cream cake is denser than the cakes you make from the boxed mixes you find in the store. It’s somewhere between a light, fluffy cake and a pound cake (I figured the light, fluffy cakes would get soggy and wouldn’t carry the berries and cream well). I used our Vanilla Bean Baby Cake Mix. I suspect that most cakes made from scratch will work since they’re not as fluffy as those from the boxes.
I baked the cake in a 9 x 13-inch pan according to the package directions. I lined the cake pan with parchment paper so that I could grasp the edges of the parchment paper once baked and lift the cake from the pan.
The Whipped Cream Filling
I wanted a filling that was thick enough that I could pipe it, and stable enough that the leftover pieces would still be attractive on the second day. For two cups of heavy whipping cream, I added six ounces of cream cheese and a quarter cup of meringue powder. That’s twice as much cream cheese as I usually use but I wanted this to be so stable that it would be almost like a frosting. I sweetened it with a 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and a 1/3 cup of powdered sugar to give it more stability. I added a teaspoon of lemon flavor and a bit of lemon zest. Lemon goes well with strawberries.
I used a strawberry slicer to get thin, uniform slices. I always cut my strawberries vertically; they’re prettier that way. Do not add sugar; the sugar will draw water from the berries.
To Make Your Strawberry Desserts
The cake needs to be split to place strawberries and whipped cream between the layers. The easy way to do it is with a cake leveler; you can adjust the height of the blade and split the cake uniformly. You can do it with a serrated knife, but cut the cake in half and split a half at a time.
1.After the cake is baked, remove it from the pan to a cutting board and let it cool. Split the cake as described above.
2.Once the cake has cooled completely, spread a layer of whipped cream filling 1/4-inch thick on the top of one of the halves. Spread a layer of strawberry slices over the whipped cream.
3.Carefully lift the second half and set it on top of the first half with the edges aligned and the cut edges
4.Trim a quarter inch or so off the cooked edges so that you have uniform cut edges all around.
5.Put the remaining whipped cream filling in a pastry bag fitted with a round tip Squeeze lines of filling side-by-side diagonally across the cake to get a corrugated appearance as shown in the picture.
6.Use a ruler to measure and lightly score lines on the cake for cutting. Very gently with a serrated knife and without pressing down, cut the cake into pieces.
7.Finely chop 1/4 cup of walnuts. Drizzle a diagonal line of chopped nuts across each piece, crossing the lines of filling.
8.Garnish with more strawberries.
What You’ll Need
Strawberry Shortcake Supreme with Strawberry Filling:
Make as above but substitute strawberry flavor for the lemon and add Americolor pink food color gel to the whipping cream.
Strawberry Shortcake Supreme with Chocolate Cake:
Make as above with a Fudgy Baby Cakes Mix. Eliminate the lemon flavor. Either add vanilla flavor or three tablespoons medium dark cocoa if you prefer a chocolate filling. Garnish with strawberries, chocolate curls, and chocolate sauce.
Traditional Strawberry Shortcakes with Flavored Whipped Cream:
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<hr class=’system-pagebreak’ /><hr class=’system-pagebreak’ />0001pt; line-height: normal; text-align: left;”>This article explains how to make traditional shortcakes, the rich biscuit-like kind plus it has recipes for flavored whipped cream.
If you like strawberry shortcakes, it is a great article.
Note: How to Cut Delicate Cakes
Soft, delicate cakes can be hard to cut. So can cakes with fillings such as whipped cream. These cakes were hard to cut without disfiguring the slices. But there is a method to making nice cuts in soft cakes for perfect presentations. The key is not to press down on the cake but let the knife do the work for you.
- Choose a sharp serrated knife with a deep tooth cut and along blade.
- Make your cuts with a ruler and straight edge.
- Make your first cuts crosswise and come back and make the longitudinal cuts.
- Barely put any pressure on your knife-not even the weight of the knife-as you make the cuts.
- Gently saw back and forth with the teeth barely engaged in the cake. Let the serrations do all the work. Don’t press down.
- When you make the short cuts, the cake may tend to tip or rock. Rather than pressing down, place a straightedge behind the cake to keep it steady and from rocking. It may be helpful to recruit a family member to hold the straightedge for you.
Top of FormDennis Weaver has burnt food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking, available free in an e-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon for $10.
He loves to help people bake and is giving away Free Digital Cookbooks and Magazines. There is no cost or obligation. To sign up for these giveaways, click here.
Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children.
To learn more about The Prepared Pantry, visit our website at www.preparedpantry.com.