How was your summer? I feel like I blinked and all of a sudden summer was over. My daughter started high school last week and I’m sitting here thinking, ‘Wait, what the heck happened? Did we have summer?’ I vaguely remember a few days when there was no obligations or volleyball practices, just sitting in our PJs playing Legend of Zelda. I guess we did take a couple of campervan trips, fit in some family get-togethers, connect with friends we hadn’t seen in forever, and tackle some house projects. Ok, phew, we did have summer, but I really wouldn’t mind a few more weeks, pleeeease!
In my refusal to accept that summer is coming to an end, I am posting my Strawberry Shortcake recipe. This is the recipe that I made most this summer because it is my go-to birthday cake and my family has waaaay too many summer birthdays. This birthday cake is best when fresh, juicy, bright red strawberries are in season. It’s a super easy recipe and the strawberries pretty much do all the work. A light, airy cake that highlights the fruit and goes well after any kind of meal. I can still go into the produce store and find some delicious local strawberries, so it’s still totally summer.
In America we think of a strawberry shortcake as a biscuit or scone that is topped with strawberries and whipped cream, while in Japan strawberry shortcake is more of a layered sponge cake with a strawberry and whipped cream filling. This recipe is the Japanese shortcake type. The sponge cake is soft, fluffy and goes great with whipped cream. It has only five ingredients which I usually have on hand (eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder and vanilla) and bakes up in 17-20 minutes. I love this sponge cake recipe so much that I use it all year for roll cakes (goes well with most any kind of filling) as well as my Bûche de Noël cake during Christmas time.
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1/3 cup +3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Lightly grease three 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
- Beat egg yolks until thick and light yellow colored.
- Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar and beat until an even lighter color, stir in vanilla.
- Beat egg whites until foamy (make sure the beater and bowl are totally cleaned and dried), gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
- Fold yolk mixture into beaten egg whites (do not over mix).
- Gently fold combined flour, baking powder into egg mixture just until flour streaks are gone.
- Spread batter evenly into three, 8-inch round cake pans.
- Bake 17-20 minutes or until lightly browned and cake springs back when you touch.
- Let cool in pan.
- Gently separate the cake from the pan by putting a spatula under the cake and gently lift (slightly) the cake from the pan. Then work the spatula all the way around the pan while gently lifting. Put a plate on top of the cake facing down and then flip. Lift pan off the cake.
- Add whipped cream or stabilized whipped cream and sliced strawberries to each layer.
Note: For the whipped cream, I usually add about 1/4 cup powdered sugar (or about 2 T granulated sugar) to 1 cup heavy cream and whip to medium stiff peaks. If this cake is going to sit for awhile, I use stabilized whipped cream (see recipe below), which basically adds melted gelatin to the whipped cream. This gives the whipped cream a mousse-like consistency and prevents the cream from melting/deflating.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar (more or less, to taste)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 2 tablespoons water
- Combine unflavored gelatin with water and let sit for five minutes (until gelatin has bloomed).
- Microwave gelatin for 15-20 seconds or until melted (should look clear and thick). Let gelatin cool to room temperature.
- While the gelatin is cooling, whip the heavy whipping cream with 1/2 cup powdered sugar (adjust sweetness to taste) and vanilla.
- Gradually add the room temperature gelatin in a steady stream to the whipping cream while the mixer is still on.
- Finish beating whipped cream to medium stiff peaks (try not to over beat at this stage, don’t ask me how I know 🙂 ) and use to spread on cake immediately.
Let me quickly take you through it: