I *love* strawberry shortcake! Growing up, we used to go into Kent Valley and pick so many strawberries we could practically swim in them. My mom would have us help her make freezer jam, and sliced strawberries to freeze. Whatever we had left we would slice and make shortcake. Mmm mm mmm.
My dad makes this awesome hot milk sponge cake that is perfect for the strawberries. Forget about those ones you buy at the grocery store. They turn to complete mush when the juice of the strawberries hits it. This cake stays nice and firm, yet moist. I promise if you take the time to make this, you won't be sorry.
Ron's Hot Milk Sponge Cake
In a bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.
In a glass dish, heat 1 cup milk and 4 Tbsp butter in the microwave until hot and buter is melted.
Add 4 eggs and 2 tsp vanilla to the milk/butter mixture. and mix well.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until everything comes together. Don't overmix.
I like baking this in muffin tins to make individual cakes. You can bake this entire thing in a 13x9 pan.
If you use muffin tins, fill only halfway up as this does double in size while baking.
Put in a preheated 350* oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
The tops should be nice and golden, and the cake itself should be nice and spongy... hence the name sponge cake.
Remove the cakes from the muffin pan so they don't get soggy on the bottom from moisture. If you use the 13x9 pan, no need to worry about taking from the pan.
Clean the strawberries. Remove the stems and slice.
Add a couple tablespoons of sugar. The sugar will dissolve and draw out the juices from the fruit. This is called macerating. Let the strawberries sit with that sugar for a bit. The longer they sit, the more juice they'll make. I'm not patient enough so I don't ever get a lot of juice. Ah well. I'm okay with it.
Now to the whipped cream. Trust me again when I say this. Make it! Don't buy something in a can at the store. If you've never whipped your own cream, it's not difficult and I promise you, you will never want anything but homemade ever again.
You want to start off with cold tools. I put my Kitchenaid bowl and whisk in the fridge for about half hour before whipping. If you have room in your freezer, great. The colder the better. Whipped cream will give you better results the colder it is.
Pour your cream (2 cups) into the mixing bowl and start mixing on medium speed. Don't go full speed from the get go otherwise it will splatter all over the place.
When ribbons begin to form in the cream, kick up the speed and add 1/4 cup sugar.
Keep whipping on high until firm peaks form and the cream becomes nice and fluffy like clouds. Don't overwhip or else you'll start making butter!
Turn off mixer and add 1 tsp vanilla. On slow speed, mix the vanilla in.
Mmmm... say it with me. Whipped... cream....
To assemble your strawberry shortcakes, cut one of the cakes in half. Put in the bottom of a bowl. Spoon strawberries and some juice on the cake. Put a nice dollop of whipped cream. Place cake top on the whipped cream. Add some more strawberries if you want and top with more whipped cream.
To make it fancy, put a sprig of mint on top and/or dust with powdered sugar.