With Florida strawberries in season and supplies being plentiful and affordable at grocery stores, farmers market and “you pick it” farm stands, it seems only right to assemble a somewhat decadent yet light and refreshing shortcake tower of crumbly buttery cake, toasted meringue , berries and whipped cream. Forks at the ready!
This recipe is not difficult, but requires some prep and time management.
- 4 cups fresh sliced strawberries, washed, hulled and stemmed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3-4 unstemmed berries for garnish
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pea size pieces
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 large egg yolks
- extra butter to grease pans
- 2 large egg whites, whipped into stiff peaks
- 3 tbsp sugar
Whipped cream topping
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Reserve 1 cup berries. Add 1/4 cup sugar to remaining sliced berries. With a fork, crush reserved berries until you create a loose jammy mixture. Add crushed fruit and their all their juices to berry and sugar mixture. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
- Add flour, baking powder and salt to a medium sized bowl. With clean hands or a pastry cutter, cut in butter until flour mixture is resembles sand. Combine milk and egg yolks, gently stir into flour mixture until just moistened.
- Divide dough evenly into two rounds. Pat dough into well-buttered 8 inch cake rounds or springform pans. Use moistened fingers to spread dough. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Beat eggs whites with stand mixer or hand mixer until glossy stiff peaks are formed about 3-5 minutes gradually adding sugar while mixing. Do not over beat.
- Remove chilled batter in pans from fridge. Spread whipped egg whites ( meringue) over chilled batter.
- Bake at 450 for 7-8 minutes until golden brown. Watch oven so they cakes do not over bake. Baked layers will be thin and somewhat crisp and buttery. Remove from pans once slightly cooled and let completely cool on wire racks .
- Whip cream and sugar until thickened and fluffy. Do not use whipped topping or whipped cream in an aerosol can. It will not stand up during assembling.
- To assemble, place the first cake on a platter. Top with 1 cup of berries and juice. Spread a generous cup of whipped cream on top.
- Place the second cake on top of cream. Add another generous pile of juice and berries and a final layer of whipped cream.
- Top off cake, cream and berries with remaining fruit.
- Slice remaining whole berries and spread as a fan for garnish. Chill for at least 30 minutes to an 1 hour before serving.