Strawberry Shortcake

strawberry shortcake

I grew up with a deep love for strawberry shortcake. I am not sure how or why it started but, by the age of five, I absolutely insisted to be served strawberry shortcake on my birthday (and for every birthday thereafter). I didn't need a sugar laden cake. No neon colored frosting. Just some simple cake, strawberries, and whipped cream and I was all yours.

strawberry shortcake

This is the first time I made true shortcakes instead of a using a sponge or angel food cake in its place. The first batch I forgot the baking powder and ended up with delicious smelling rocks. Sigh. My second attempt lent me dense shortcakes (I should have realized whole wheat flour isn't particularly light). But these little shortcakes were so fantastically delicious that I ate two before I remembered these were even supposed to served with strawberries.

My little whole wheat shortcakes, you are more than good enough for me.

Strawberry Shortcake
Adapted from Joy of Baking

Yields 8 shortcakes

Shortcakes
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (though I suggest using all purpose flour for a lighter cake)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup half and half

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

shortcake ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Cut the butter into small cubes. If you have a pastry blender, now is the time to use it!  If you don't have a pastry blender (like me), you can use two knives to break up the butter. Simply cut the knives through the butter and flour with a criss-cross pattern (over and over again). Blend in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand.

i wish i had a pastry blender...

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla extract, and half and half. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together using a hard, rubber spatula until all the flour is moistened. Do not over mix.

shortcake dough
shortcake dough

Sprinkle a bit of flour onto the counter and transfer the dough. Knead the dough a few times to bring all the pieces together. Roll the dough into a circle that is roughly 7 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Using a 3 inch biscuit cutter, cut out rounds and transfer the rounds to a baking sheet.

cutting out the shortcakes

Bake the cakes for 15 to 20, or until tops begin to brown.

Strawberry Filling
2 pounds fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar

fresh from the market
quebec strawberries

Hull and slice the strawberries. Put a third of the strawberries into a bowl and mash them up with a fork. Add the rest of the sliced strawberries. Sprinkle the sugar on top and mix. Let the strawberries sit for 30 to 60 minutes to get the natural juices flowing. Strawberries can be stored in the refrigerator.

macerated strawberries

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar

In a large bowl, combine the cream, vanilla extract, and sugar. Cover and chill the bowl for at least 30 minutes. Then, using an electric mixer, beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Serve immediately.

Alternatively, if you own a magic bullet or something of the like, simply place all the ingredients within and mix for about 5 seconds. Like magic, you will have instant whipped cream. Chill in the refrigerator.

strawberry tops