Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry shortcake is a classic summer dessert when berries are in season.  It is often somewhat disappointing with not-full-flavor strawberries.  Here, I added Rose Levy Beranbaum’s brilliant idea of creating a concentrated frozen strawberry purée to the cake-strawberry-cream combo.  The cake is sweet but not overly so.  It is a rich, sturdy platform for the strawberry menagerie.  The fresh strawberries are only lightly sweetened to bring out their juice and flavor.  The puree is sweet, but not cloyingly, same with whipped cream.  Together you get a strawberry delight that is like fresh strawberries to the max!  Even more flavorful in my view than a plain berry.

There are often delicious organic strawberries from California available late April to early May, perfect for this early foray into summertime treats, especially with the flavor boost of the purée.  A treat, indeed!

There are four parts to this dessert:

Golden yellow layer cake – 1 9” cake, prepared day before

Frozen strawberry purée

Sliced fresh strawberries with a bit of sugar

Whipped cream with confectioners sugar

 

Strawberry purée:

Ingredients:

1 5-oz bag of organic frozen strawberries

1-2 T sugar

2 t lemon juice

  1. Put strawberries in a colander, and set over deep bowl. Leave on counter for several hours, allowing juice to drip down. Press on fruit to extract juice.
  2. Reduce juice by boiling until reduced to ¼ c.
  3. Put strawberries in food processor, and puré
  4. Put into bowl and mix in sugar and lemon juice.
  5. It should be very delicious. Adjust sugar and lemon as needed. Refrigerate.

 

Fresh Strawberries: Rinse and hull 1-1/2 # organic strawberries. Slice thickly and put in bowl. Stir in gently 1-2 T sugar. Refrigerate until needed, removing from refrigerator in advance to warm to room temp. Best sugared less than one hour before assembling/eating.

 

Cake:

Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Golden Butter Cream Cake, from The Cake Bible (p. 34)

This is best made one day ahead, wrapped in aluminum foil and held at room temperature. Keeps for up to 3 days this way, or 2 months frozen.

Ingredients:

150 g cake flour, sifted

150 g sugar

6 g baking powder

¼ t salt

 

Butter, softened 150 g and cut up

 

3 egg yolks

116 g heavy cream (1/2 c)

3 g vanilla (3/4 t)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 9” round baking pan: Grease pan, add paper liner and spray with pan spray with flour.
  2. Sift flour into mixing bowl. Add sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend.
  3. Mix together gently: yolks, 2 T cream and vanilla.
  4. Add butter to flour mixture with remainder of cream (6 T). Mix on low speed until moistened, then increase to medium for 1-1/2 minutes.
  5. Scrape down bowl and add egg mixture in 3 batches, beating 20 secs after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  6. Put batter into pan, and even out with spatula.
  7. Bake for 25-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cake will spring back when pressed lightly in center; should just be starting to shrink from sides.

 

Whipped cream: Whip 2 c heavy cream on medium speed. Add couple T confectioners sugar, and increase speed to high. You want just lightly sweetened. Whip to soft peaks. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

 

 

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