My love for strawberry shortcake seems to have grown with age. I don't really remember my mother making shortcakes as a child (correct me if I'm wrong, Mum) but I do remember friends families serving the dish with store bought spongey cakes, that to my eyes always resembled actual sponges a little too much.
But these cakes are perfection. Topped with lightly sweetened cream and the freshest berries you could dream of, you won't be able to stop thinking about them.
At least that's how it works in our house. I don't think I need to tell you who is currently baking off the leftover cakes to serve for breakfast this morning...
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 2/3 cup flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 hard boiled egg yolks
6 tablespoons cold butter cut into pieces
2 tablespoons lemon or orange zest
2/3 cup (plus 1 tablespoon for brushing on cakes) heavy cream
1/2 pound strawberries, tops removed, halved or quartered
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream, beaten to soft peaks*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine in a large bowl the flour, baking powder, sugar, egg yolks, salt, and butter. Using your hands or a pastry cutter blend all ingredients until a coarse meal is formed (make sure there are no large chunks of egg yolk left). Add zest and cream and mix well. Empty bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly to bring dough together. Flatten to about 3/4 or 1 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter (or in my case a mason jar lid) to cut 6 or more discs out of the dough. Chill for 20 minutes (or up to 2 hours).
Remove from fridge, brush tops of cakes with heavy cream and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile toss berries in sugar and lemon juice, and let stand until cakes are ready.
When cakes are done, slice horizontally, pile on strawberries, whip cream and cake top, and serve immediately.
*I like to add a pinch of sugar and a dash of vanilla to the cream