By Rebecca Bent
I love strawberry shortcake—it’s one of those dishes you need to make and eat within about a 24-hour period because if you wait any longer, the strawberries tend to lose their vibrance. Yes, it’s an excuse that allows me to cut up big slices and not feel any guilt. I hope you do the same.
Easy Strawberry Shortcake
For the cake:
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, diced
1 cup whole milk
4 fresh eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the whipped cream filling:
2 cups whipped heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar (or more according to your taste)
1 pint strawberries, rinsed and hulled; ¾ chopped and ¼ thinly sliced for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350F with an oven rack placed in the center.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a small saucepot over medium-high heat, start melting the butter and then pour in the milk. Swirl it around a few times. Cook until the milk is just scalded. Turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, in a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the eggs until they are thick and a lemon color. Add in the sugar and beat until it is incorporated. Next, add the vanilla and reduce the speed to low and slowly add in the sifted flour mixture. When the flour is incorporated and the batter is quite thick, add in the milk and butter mixture, a little at a time. Once the batter starts to look smooth, turn off the mixer and scrape the bowl, especially the bottom. Mix again until everything is well blended.
Spray down the insides of an 8-inch round pan with cooking spray. Carefully pour in the cake batter and gently tap it on the counter so the batter settles. Place the baking pan in the oven. Bake the cake for approximately 40 to 45 minutes, rotating halfway.
The cake is done when a cake tester is placed in the center and comes out clean. If the cake requires a little bit more time to cook, put a foil tent over it, this prevents the cake from starting to get too brown.
Carefully remove the cake from the oven and let it cool. Run a knife along the edge and turn it out into a tray. When the cake is completely cool, slice the cake to make two or three layers. (Three is really difficult, so if you are just starting out, two is great.)
When the cake is cooling prepare the whipped cream. In a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until it becomes thick, this can take a few minutes. Incorporate the sugar to taste.
Place the bottom cake layer on a decorative plate and cover it with the chopped strawberries and one-fourth of the whipped cream. Smear it around but don’t over do it. Carefully cover it with the other cake layer and coat the entire cake with whipped cream. Decoratively place the sliced strawberries on top. Chill in the refrigerator one hour before serving.