This is a post for anyone who is drowning in red-berry abundance. It is June, and you have strawberries coming out of your ears. You’ve lost control. The strawberries that were just a nice controlled patch have decided they like you, and so they have put our runners, and they ran (like the wind!). Filling up vast areas of bare dirt with leafy plants and an abundance that you can’t get your head around. This happened to me – and while it was an absolute blessing – I can’t say I didn’t find the strawberry situation kinda stressful. Too much, it is just too much. When life gives you strawberries – make shortcake.
I’m going to throw you a life vest. It is white and spongy, and it looks like this:
Don’t be tempted to put it around your neck and start flapping your arms – that is not what this is for.
How to make strawberry shortcake:
You can buy these (Angel Food Cakes) at your local grocer, but if you really want to make one, I suggest rewarding your needless effort with an added flavoring like almond or lemon or get crazy with cloves – this way, people will know it is homemade and you might get some extra credit (this largely depends on the crowd – abort this effort immediately if this is primarily to be served to anyone under the age of 12 – this audience does.not.care).
Honestly, though, store-bought angel food cake is good, so it isn’t worth the effort (this is a rare baking exception).
Cut strawberries to remove tops and make bite-sized (in half is generally fine). Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of sugar (this is enough for a large bowl). Let that sit for a bit so the sugar can make the juice come out of the berries.
While you are at the market, buy one of those shake and spray cans of whipping cream. Go organic and local if you can (I am blessed with this option in my local posh market) – it is worth it.
This is the hardest part. Split the cake evenly amongst everyone you are serving. (If this means you each get half a cake, so be it – it’s your little secret). But do not be tempted to make your piece bigger than the others. You will just come off as a bit childish, maybe even a little rude, and honestly, why not let someone else have those damned extra calories?
Next, spoon juicy strawberries over the cake and then bury it all with a squirt of whipping cream.
Repeat every day until the season passes.
Variations on a Strawberry Cake Pile Theme:
Strawberry Shortcake (as this is basically called) – can also be made with actual shortcake (I don’t prefer or like this, but you might like it better if you prefer a more dry, crumbly texture with a little saltiness).
And it can also be made with pound cake. As much as I love pound cake, I prefer angel food to pair with the strawberries. Angel food is lighter, less sweet, and less fat-filled. And I love it just as much, so why waste the calories?
You can also get super fancy and buy lady’s fingers, and instead of a messy pile of bakery goodies, piles with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream. You can organize things a bit. Use the ladyfingers for an edge band, use some strawberries to make a mouse, and then make the layers stack cleaning In a spring pan. (Ladyfingers on the bottom and edges, mousse, strawberries, whipped cream, more strawberries). It’s called Strawberry Charlotte cake, and it isn’t hard – but it will make you look like a domestic and garden god simultaneously.