Babz Bites: Strawberry Shortcake

Chef Babz Goldman

Well forget spring, the hot temperatures have proven summer seems to have already arrived. I feel like I’m preaching to the choir making any mention of what a crazy month May has been.

Between graduations, weddings, class reunions, and the school year wrapping up, this month has given us a lot to celebrate. Folks are simply out and about in a capacity the cold weather didn’t warrant. And after such a long cold winter, we are all ready to celebrate. When the sun first started to come out after these last couple of bits of snow, we all seemed like bears that had come out of hibernation.

It seems like I can barely get anything done without hearing a knock on my door and a familiar face stopping by to say hello. I hate not having something to offer guests when they stop in. Even if I send it with them to go. I just feel better. Having a little nosh for guests hasn’t been easy, my free time is been a little bit non-existent between all of the food I have been preparing for various events. But what a wonderful problem to have! Guests stopping by this month have definitely been leaving with a to go-box of dessert.

As different as all of these events are, one thing that has been consistent is the need for a sweet treat. I’ve noticed guests are eating a lot more of anything sugary and especially cold and creamy. But surprisingly it hasn’t been my chocolatey desserts that have been flying off the shelf, it’s been a strawberry shortcake.

Maybe it’s because it’s light and creamy, maybe it’s the refreshing strawberries, but the appeal knows no limits. Guest of all ages, shapes, in sizes have been requesting a good bite of old fashioned strawberry shortcake. I don’t know why this ever surprises me.

Several years ago I did an extravagant wedding cake with Chef Sarah Ward for beautiful bride Saraya Brewer. The bride requested a strawberry shortcake wedding cake. To this day it is the only cake I have ever done that there was literally nothing left after. It would faster than any other cake ever has. There wasn’t even a crumb left on the cake plate to tease guests with.

Unlike most desserts, it’s the simplicity that appeals to guess and cooks. The earliest recipe for this delicious Shortcake appeared in an English cookbook in 1588.

Regardless of how simple or extravagant the table, cooks across the world have continued to go to strawberry shortcake for a reason.

Today I have included a basic strawberry shortcake recipe. I encourage you to make it your own. Throw something unexpected like caramel or nuts on it, heck don’t hold it back on the ice cream. You may decide you prefer biscuits to angel food cake or even donuts. Whatever sounds delicious to you, give it a whirl.

Good luck and enjoy!

Strawberry Shortcake

Makes 9 servings/ Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup shortening

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

1-1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup whole milk

Whipped cream

1-1/2 quarts fresh strawberries, sliced

In a large bowl combine sugar and shortening until creamed. Add vanilla and eggs, mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients. Combined dry ingredients and add alternating with milk to the creamed mixture.

Using a 9 inch baking pan, I prefer square but anything will work, grease pan and spread batter evenly throughout. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. After completely finished allow cake to cool on a wire rack.

After cake is completely cooled, cut into servings to your liking. Split each serving in half and fill with a layer of whipped cream and a layer of strawberries. One of my favorite things to do with the strawberries is to allow them to soak in a little bit of sugar and honey while I am preparing the cake.

Please the top layer of cake on each serving and garnish with more berries or whipped cream or however you would prefer to serve. Serve immediately after incorporating strawberries and cream. You may even want to decorate with a few flowers or any personal touch for the occasion.

The photo and recipes used in today’s article are from the kitchen of Chef Babz ([email protected]) with some amazing help from her cake baking partner Chef Sarah Ward, and with the keen eye and good taste of one of her favorite brides and wedding planners Saraya Brewer.

Chef Babz Goldman