Zack and I have purchased a grill- about time- and decided it would be fun to have some friends over for a cookout this past weekend. When I entertain, it’s uncalled for not to serve dessert. I feel like I’m not doing my job as a pastry chef if I don’t.
Zack suggested strawberry shortcake, and I immediately thought of my trusty vanilla sponge cake recipe. Rather than make individual shortcakes, or the biscuit kind, I would bake the cake batter in a deep springform pan. That way, once the cake has baked, you simply split it in half and fill with whipped cream and strawberries. You can also add some more on top, too. Fast, simple, and divine.
Everyone loved this dessert. We devoured it so quickly I didn’t even get a photo of the assembled cake. The cake is super light, tender, and not too sweet. Paired with cool, creamy, just-a-touch-sweetened whipped cream, and fresh summer strawberries, it’s a crowd-pleaser.
To make whipped cream, we usually add about 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar per cup of heavy cream, and a dash of vanilla. Whip it until it holds its shape but it still soft and creamy.
The strawberries we purchased were just a touch on the tart side. I halved them and put them in a saucepan with a few spoonfuls of sugar to taste. Warm them over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and they start releasing a little bit of juice. Remove from the heat before they turn mushy- we want them still firm. They’ll be cooked just slightly, which intensifies their flavor and also creates a luscious sauce.
For other shortcake variations, try:
How to make this high altitude adjusted recipe:
Cake recipe adjusted from King Arthur Flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cake flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ tablespoon of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 3 oz cold water
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 egg whites
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream
- Halved strawberries
- Preheat your oven to 350 F.
- Grease a 9" or 10" springform cake pan and line the bottom with a parchment paper round.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, oil, water, vanilla, and egg yolks.
- In a clean bowl, whip the egg whites until they are white, fluffy, and soft.
- Fold the whipped egg whites into the batter in two additions.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and baking until puffed and golden brown, about 35 minutes.
- Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then loosen the sides of the pan and let the cake cool completely. It will lose some of its height as it cools, don't freak.
- Once the cake is cooled, split it in half horizontally and fill it with most of the whipped cream and strawberries.
- Top it with the second half of cake, and spread the remaining whipped cream and strawberries over the top, letting the strawberry juices run down the sides.
Note: This recipe was adapted for high altitude baking. To make at sea level, increase the baking powder to 1/2 tablespoon.