Berry season is a very happy time of year for me and my family. Both my daughter and I adore fresh berries and for the second year in a row our family enjoyed picking strawberries from a local New Jersey farm together. Of course my daughter does far more eating than picking, but that’s all part of the fun.
While we mostly enjoy eating the strawberries with breakfast, in smoothies or as a snack, I was hankering for a special berry dessert this year.
I grew up eating traditional strawberry shortcakes, made often with Bisquick mix and lots of freshly whipped cream.
But my own preference is for moist, spongy CAKE. So my version of berry shortcake includes a triple layer of simple white cake, made from my dear friend Brittany Wayne’s recipe. Layered with macerated strawberries and simple whipped cream and the result is a taste of summer indulgence at its finest. Who cares if it isn’t quite traditional; to me it’s even better.
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one batch of white cake, baked into three round pans
one pint heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 Tbsp sugar
mixed berries for topping
fresh mint (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour three 9 inch round pans.
Divide cake batter evenly among the three pans. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow cakes to cool completely.
Combine 2 cups sliced strawberries with 2 Tbsp sugar. Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.
Using a hand mixer, whip heavy cream until frothy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Layer whipped cream and strawberries on top of each layer of cake. Finish the final layer with a generous layer of whipped cream and top with mixed berries of your choice. Garnish with fresh mint if desired.
Happy Tu Bishvat! Today we celebrate the birthday of the trees by eating fruit, nuts, grains, and other things that grow from the ground. Some people like to plant a tree on Tu Bishvat, but personally, I just like to eat cake. For instance, this morning I had a piece of our scandalously delicious Banana Cake for Tu Bishvat. As some people have pointed out, bananas don’t grow on trees, but this cake is also packed with nuts, dates, figs and raisins, and I added some chocolate to my version, too. I cannot stress enough how unbelievably good this is. Definitely the best Tu Bishvat dish I’ve ever made.
But if you’re still looking, we have a lemon lavender cake I can recommend, and a lemon and almond semolina cake that will knock your socks off. Combine any of these with a hot cup of tea and you are guaranteed a sweet and happy Tu Bishvat.
Perhaps you’re one of the lucky people who went to a Tu Bishvat seder last night, where you drank delicious wine and sangria, maybe got to eat fruit salad, orange and maple baked tofu, granola, Israeli salad, or persimmon cupcakes, all which are yummy Tu Bishvat foods. There’s still time to make any of these recipes today if you missed them yesterday.
Or if you’re looking for a very low maintenance way to celebrate, how about just stopping by your local grocery and picking up a nice bag of trail mix. As you enjoy the dried fruits and nuts, you can think about all of the great things trees bring to your life. L’chaim! To trees!