Recipe: Strawberry Shortcake

Is there any dessert that belongs to spring more than strawberry shortcake? I've been noticing big, beautiful red strawberries at the market for a few weeks and couldn't resist their invitation any longer. They were practically begging me to turn them into this delicious dish. Okay, okay, Strawberries, I give in! Strawberry shortcake is a fabulous party dessert, too, for a few different reasons: all the elements can be prepared in advance, and the cream/fruit ratio can easily be adjusted for individual tastes. Oh, and one more reason--it's delicious! This recipe is one of my standards and works beautifully as a compliment to any fruit and cream pairing, especially strawberries and peaches. Feel free to try it with your favorite fruit. Strawberry Shortcake Shortcake 2 cups flour 1/2 cup sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 cup whole milk 2 teaspoons vanilla Fruit 2 pints strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced 1/4 cup powdered sugar Whip Cream Topping 1 cup heavy cream, well chilled 2 tablespoons powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla Directions Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter cake pans (I used two 9-inch round pans. 9-inch square pans work, too), then line pan with parchment paper and butter and flour the paper. The paper lining will allow you to easily remove the cakes from the pans. It will also create an interesting rustic edge. Shortcake: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, stir together the butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pans to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out of the pans and let them cool to room temperature. Fruit: In another large bowl, mixed sliced fruit with powdered sugar and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes. A thin glaze will form around the fruit. Cream: Put the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a chilled bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Use medium speed and chilled beaters for best results. Before serving, spread a layer of cream one one layer of the cake, followed by a layer of strawberries. Place the other cake layer on top and garnish with more cream and berries. Enjoy!
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