Divas on a Dime: All for the love of shortcake

You know what I love about June? Even though strawberries have been available since February, in June they actually start to taste like strawberries! Can I get a Woo-Hoo?

The nicest thing you can do for a strawberry is let it be the star of the show with some very capable supporting players. For this reason, there’s nothing better than a classic strawberry shortcake.

I have a theory about the perfect strawberry shortcake experience.

First, it must be summertime. It’s just wrong in November. Next, the berries must be gently mixed with just a little sugar. They will macerate and release those natural juices that make up the syrup that is the nectar of the gods.

You must have fresh whipped cream with vanilla; the creaminess balances the tart zing of the strawberries. And finally; you need this easy, old-fashioned recipe for shortcake. It’s not too sweet, we’ve got enough of that going on. It soaks up the juices and the vanilla complements the whipped cream in perfect harmony. If you don’t get all poetic about strawberry shortcake, you haven’t tried the right recipe yet.

Classic Strawberry Shortcake

Yield: six normal servings, four obnoxious servings

Time: one hour

What you’ll need:

The strawberries: 2 pounds of strawberries

3 tablespoons sugar

The shortcake: 2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons sugar

¾ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups heavy cream

The whipped cream: 1 ½ cups heavy cream, chilled

3 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Here’s how:

Hull and quarter the strawberries, mix them with the sugar and refrigerate. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt together. Add heavy cream and mix until just combined. Place batter in an ungreased 8-inch square pan and bake until golden, 20 to 22 minutes.

While the shortcake is cooking, place a metal bowl and beaters in the freezer to whip the cream. Let the baked cake cool partially in pan on wire rack. Mix the whipped cream ingredients in the metal bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Slice the cake into six (or four!) pieces and split each piece in half horizontally. Spoon some of the strawberries with their juice onto the bottom half, top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and then the shortcake top. Spoon more strawberries over the top, add more whipped cream, then a little more, and devour.

This light and airy recipe is perfect for all your summer entertaining.Add some blueberries, and we have a patriotic dessert for Independence Day. Add sliced peaches later in the summer when they’re juicy and ripe for late summer perfection. You can cut the cake into cubes and layer the ingredients in a trifle bowl for a spectacular presentation. Or make picnic perfect individual portions in mason jars for travel.

No matter how, when or why; you can’t beat a classic strawberry shortcake.

Fabulous Food by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Website and blog – www.divasonadime.com Join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.