You know how every once in a while you have those amazing moments with your children that make all the hard stuff worthwhile? I had one of those a few weeks ago with my 8-year old daughter. It's probably not what you think. She did not form a charity for autism. Nor did she save a baby from a burning building. However, what she did was remarkable all the same.
My daughter asked to make Strawberry Shortcake together - from scratch!! Yes, she specifically said, "Can we make strawberry shortcake but make it all from scratch? Like the cake and the whipped cream and macerate (although she pronounced it mask-er-ite) the strawberries?" This will go down in the history of our family as one of my proudest moments as a mom. I've officially succeeded in making my kids foodies. Mama couldn't be prouder.
My other daughter, who is almost 7, loves to cook too so we three piled into my mini-van and headed to the store. The girls sliced the strawberries, measured the ingredients, and added sugar to the cream as it whipped. It took forever, and as always it's a lesson in patience to cook with kids. But it was one of those shining times I'll always treasure.
Strawberry Shortcake with Buttery Pound Cake
Serves 6 (healthy sized portions)
2 lbs. strawberries, hulled, cored, sliced
2 T. sugar
2 sticks butter
2 t. vanilla
1-3/4 c. cake flour
1/2 t. table salt
1-1/4 c. sugar
1 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
Mix sliced strawberries and sugar in a bowl. Set aside, covered.
Cut butter into chunks and place in bowl of electric mixer. You want to bring this to just below room temp. Beat lightly 3 whole eggs, 3 egg yolks, and vanilla in a liquid measuring cup. Set aside to come to room temp with the butter.
Heat oven to 325*. Butter and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Using the paddle attachment, beat butter and salt for 2-3 minutes, until shiny and smooth, scraping down sides. Very slowly pour 1-1/4 c. sugar into bowl while running on medium high speed. Let it run for 5-8 minutes, scraping down sides as necessary. You're looking for a very pale, fluffy butter mixture. Turn machine to medium and very slowly pour egg mixture into bowl, scraping down sides. Turn to med-high and let run for 3-4 minutes. It's ok if it looks slightly curdled.
In three additions, sift the cake flour over the bowl and fold into the butter mixture with a spatula. Don't over-mix or the cake will end up tough.
Pour into loaf pan and smooth top. Bake 70-80 minutes until golden brown and passes the toothpick test. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out and flip so it's right side up on wire rack and let cool 2 hours before slicing.
To assemble Strawberry Shortcakes:
Place cream in clean bowl of mixer. With whisk attachment, beat until it starts to increase in volume. Add the vanilla and slowly add the sugar until stiff peaks form.
Place one or two slices of pound cake on plate. Top with macerated strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream.
Recipe for pound cake adapted from Cook's Illustrated