Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Strawberry Shortcake Cake for Grandpa!

Recently my father had a birthday and I wanted to make him a cake, a cake that I was sure that he'd like.  My father likes fruits, and in the summer he really likes strawberries in the form of pies and shortcake.  Well February just isn't really the time for those desserts.  So I started scouring the internet for strawberry cake ideas that were a little more seasonally appropriate.  If you're familiar with the Pioneer Woman, she has a recipe for a strawberry shortcake cake that looked... well it looked like it would taste ok.  But her icing seemed rather sweet for my taste and the cake itself just didn't scream birthday to me.  Plus it was clear that her strawberries were probably much riper than mine from Wegmans would be.  So I decided to improvise, and this is the cake that I made.

The recipe that follows includes her cake layers (they seemed appropriately firm and absorbant which would give the testure of a shortcake) and let me tell you that they did turn out deliciously.

Then from that point I revised everything.  I added a package of frozen sweetened strawberries, along with 2 16oz packages of fresh berries.  (I do not think you would need the sweetened strawberries if you were making this with the fresh berries of summer... but in the winter it's necessary, not only for flavor but also because out-of-season berries tend to be dry and not give off the juice.  The juice is necessary because it should be absorbed into the cake layers, giving you that moist straight-off-the-picnic-table-strawberry-shortcake texture.

(Believe it or not the picture below was the lonely last remaining slice that was scooped up and eaten before I could even finish taking its portrait... so it's not the most photogenic but still as delicious.)

And the frosting was all my own concoction based on my love of cream cheese and all things fluffy.  Try making this cake, it's definitely worth your time.  Trust me.  It took all of 40 minutes for 4 adults and 2 little people to devour this.  It's that good.  Like better than any professionally made strawberry cake that I've ever tasted.  That good.  And you might question my use of both Cool Whip and Heavy Cream.  I know it seems redundant, but the Heavy Cream is there because of the flavor and richness, while the Cool Whip is there for texture and structure, not to mention sugar content.

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

1-½ cup Flour
3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
½ teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
9 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
1-½ cup Sugar
3 whole Large Eggs
½ cups Sour Cream, Room Temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Strawberry filling:
1 package (mine actually came in a little tub) of frozen sweetened, sliced strawberries, fully thawed.
1 16oz package of fresh strawberries for the filling
1 16oz package of fresh strawberries (for the top)

1 8oz block of full fat cream cheese, softened
1 8oz container of thawed Cool Whip
1 Tbsp sugar
3/4 c. heavy cream
1 tspn vanilla

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch.
Cream 9 tablespoons butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.

Pour into greased and floured 8-inch round cake pan. IMPORTANT: If you do NOT have an 8 inch round cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep (mine aren't) then split between 2 round cake pans instead. Cake rises quite a bit so you don't want the batter to fill in any more than halfway to the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until no longer jiggly. They get to be a nice golden brown, so don't panic and think that you're burning them like I did, lol! Remove from cake pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.

Either while waiting for cake to bake or cool you can start the strawberry filling. Wash, hull and slice one package of the fresh berries. Combine the thawed sweetened berries, with their syrup and the fresh sliced berries in a bowl and mash them roughly. This will mix their juices, which is very important. Refrigerate berrie mixture until your cake is cool.

Wash, hull and half the remaining package of fresh berries and set aside.

When cake is cooled you can slice it in half and lay with the sliced sides facing up on a baking sheet. If you had to split them into 2 pans then just flip them out of their pans carefully and slice the rounded tops off so you have a cut flat surface on top and lay them on the baking sheet.

Take your berry filling mixture that should be nice and juicy and spread it across the two cut sides of the cake. It should make a nice juicy layer of filling on top of each. Then put them in the freezer for about ten to fifteen minutes while you mix up your icing.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, Cool Whip and vanilla until smooth and then add in heavy cream and beat that through also. The mixture should be a little thick but still spreadable and delicious. (You can taste it, I give you permission)

Pull the two cake layers out of the freezer. Place one of them on your cake plate and spread a thin layer of icing on top of the strawberry layer, carefully. Set the second cake layer on top of that and frost the entire cake with the remaining icing. It doesn't have to be perfect coverage, in fact it looks pretty darn tasty with a little strawberry showing through here and there.

Then take the remaining halved berries and arrange them evenly on top of the cake. Chill for 2 hours and serve!  (Try really hard not to eat the whole thing yourself)

And if you were wondering, yes it is possible to stand outside in 8 inches of snow holding a cake in your left hand while snapping a picture with your right hand... all with the purpose of good lighting, a snow white back drop and keeping prying fingers from dipping in before you can carry it in the house and set it down to take the picture....  The things I do in the name of blogability.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Mmmmmm... This yummy shortcake was like no other ! Brown and moist. It was so funny when our sweet little "Foodie" Vivi-Ann started to object by crying when you attempted to carry it back outside to take the