The World of Strawberry Shortcake [Fierce Foodie]
Strawberry shortcake has always fascinated me. The perfect blend of a juicy, ripe summer fruit, fresh cream, and a dense scone or light cake, it can be made the easy way with mainly store bought ingredients, or the cream and cake components can be lovingly prepared by hand. In either case, I am happy to indulge in the perfection that is fruit, cake and cream.
Strawberry Shortcake is also the name of an elfin-like being, a child-like creature with unnaturally red hair, obsessed with strawberries the size of her head, living in a forest cottage and occasionally accompanied by other dessert-themed friends with unusual hair colors such as Blueberry Muffin. As a child, I loved how the dolls each smelled of their assigned fruit. Lemon Meringue was tangy, while Orange Blossom was citrus and sweet. I was also fascinated by the fact that Strawberry Shortcake had a pink cat with patchwork on its side, as if it was an animated stuffed animal.
I loved the confluence of food and play then, and I still do. Today I have given away my dolls, but I still have a collection of San-X stationary picturing such visual treats as Nyan Nyan Nyanko, little kittens who frolic in food, and the Happy Cheese Family, whose members are each a different type of cheese and who regularly cannibalize each other to make fondue. I also love those little erasers made to look like food. Not surprisingly, strawberry shortcake looks great in rubber.
Strawberry Shortcake (based on recipe from Denyse at Allrecipes.com)
3 pints fresh strawberries
1/2 cup white sugar
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening or softened butter
2/3 cup milk
2 cups whipped heavy cream or cool whip if you plan to live past 40
1. Slice the strawberries and toss them with 1/2 cup of white sugar. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease and flour one 8 inch round cake pan.
3. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons white sugar and the salt. With a pastry blender cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg and milk. Stir until just combined.
4. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool partially in pan on wire rack.
5. Slice partially cooled cake in half, making two layers. Place half of the strawberries on one layer and top with the other layer. Top cake with remaining strawberries and cover with the whipped cream, and try not to eat the whole thing by yourself. It’s supposed to be 9 servings. For me that means 4. I usually end up taking these things to parties to avoid eating it entire.
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