Strawberry Shortcake

When I think of strawberry shortcake, slightly sweetened biscuits filled with berries and cream come to mind. Diners get their own individual dessert and are the happier for it, as individual desserts do that to people. However, back in the day, shortcakes were often made in round 8-inch [20-cm] cake pans. Here, I have toyed with just such a shortcake--referred to as a Fruit Fantasy in Some of My Favorite Good Things to Eat (1940). I baked it in one pan and sliced it into two layers before filling it with fresh fruit, as opposed to the canned option offered in the original (you're welcome).
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

Strawberry Filling:

4 cups [455 g] strawberries, hulled and sliced

1/4 cup [50 g] granulated sugar

Shortcake:

Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing

2 cups [280 g] all-purpose flour

1 cup [120 g] cake flour

5 tablespoons [75 g] granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon table salt

3/4 cup [165 g] unsalted butter, chilled

1 cup [240 ml] heavy cream

Egg Wash:

1 egg

Splash of heavy cream

Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Whipped Cream:

1 1/2 cups [360 ml] cold heavy cream

1/4 cup [30 g] confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F [220 degrees C]. Spray an 8-by-2-inch [20-by-5-cm] round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray, then line with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. For the strawberry filling: Combine the berries and granulated sugar in a medium bowl and allow to macerate on the counter while you prepare and bake the shortcake.
  3. For the shortcake: Add the all-purpose and cake flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Cut the butter into small cubes, add to the bowl, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Dump the mixture into a large bowl and add the heavy cream. Using a wooden spoon, combine the wet ingredients into the dry, until a shaggy dough forms.
  4. Dump the dough out onto the counter. Knead the dough until it just comes together and gently press it into the prepared pan. The dough will be crumbly.
  5. For the egg wash: Combine the egg and heavy cream in a small bowl and brush the egg wash on the top of the shortcake. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
  6. Bake for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to 400 degrees F [200 degrees C] and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway point. The shortcake is ready when it is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. If the top browns too much before the cake is fully baked, tent it with aluminum foil.
  7. Place the pan on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Invert the cake onto a serving plate, so it is right-side up, and let it come almost to room temperature.
  8. For the whipped cream: Place the cream, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium to medium high speed until medium peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes.
  9. Slice the cake in half horizontally with a large serrated knife. Place strawberries and their juice on the bottom layer, and place the top layer over the berries. Slice and serve with a generous dollop of whipped cream. The cake is best eaten the day it is made.
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