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Strawberry Shortcake is a summer dessert staple here in the south. Even more so here in Florida where some of the best strawberries you could ever have are grown in state. Heck, we even have a festival for it. Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal. However, all this strawberry pride has led to some overly processed sugar bombs that don’t even deserve the shortcake name. I wanted to do away with all that and bring the focus back where it needed to be – on the strawberries.
The base of my dish is a slightly sweet black pepper biscuit. It might seem a bit odd, but the tiny bit of heat you get from the freshly ground pepper goes wonderfully with the sweetness from the cream and the berries. Also, I do acknowledge that there is a bit of sugar in each component of this recipe, but I tried to use it in a way that enhances rather than overpowers. Don’t let the multiple components throw you – the biscuits are the only tricky bit to this recipe; everything else is super simple.
Biscuits (makes 9-12 depending on size)
- 1 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
- 3 tsp organic sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees F
- Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl and whisk together with a fork.
- Pour cream into well in the center of the dry mixture and stir gently with the fork until the mixture begins to come together.
- Turn contents of bowl out onto a floured surface and shape into a rough ball.
- Fold the ball in half and press out with the heel of your hand. Turn 90 degrees and repeat eight more times.
- Pat mixture into large disk approximately 1/2 inch thick
- Use a glass with a greased rim to cut out biscuits (do not twist or the edges will seal and prevent biscuit from rising).
- Once you’ve cut out all of the biscuits you can, place them on the baking sheet and combine remaining dough and make another round of biscuits. Repeat until dough is gone.
- Bake biscuits for 13-15 minutes.
- Place on rack to cool completely before using.
- 1lb ripe strawberries
- 1 heaping tbsp organic sugar
- Slice strawberries
- In a mixing bowl, combine strawberries and sugar tossing to coat the berries.
- Store mixture in refrigerator for 2 hours to allow juices to collect.
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tsps powdered sugar
- Chill mixing bowl in fridge for 1 hour prior to making the whipped cream.
- In chilled bowl, combine sugar and cream and whip on high until soft peaks form.
*Do not over whip or mixture will begin to turn into butter.
Assemble components and enjoy!
So there you go – simple, special, and perfect for summer.
In honor of the impending weekend holiday, I decided that recipe #10 of my 12 should be inspired by one of the most traditional Valentine’s Day day desserts. So I give you Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes by The Cake Blog!
For the Chocolate Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with cupcake liners.
- In large bowl combine all dry ingredients: flour , sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk until well combined.
- Add oil and sour cream and mix together with whisk.
- Gradually add water and continue to whisk.
- Add vanilla and eggs and whisk until combined.
- Fill cupcake lines 2/3 full with batter.
- Bake for 16 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Let cupcakes cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to finish cooling.
- Once cupcakes are completely cool frost with Strawberry Cream Cheese and Chocolate Ganache.
For the Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
12 oz cream cheese, softened
5 Tbsp strawberry puree (from 3/4 cup frozen strawberries)
1/2 tsp vanilla
6 cups confectioner’s sugar
- In bowl of stand mixer combine butter and cream cheese and beat on medium speed until creamy.
- Add strawberry puree and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Gradually add confectioner’s sugar 2 cups at a time and mix until well combined.
- Place frosting in piping bag fitted with Wilton tip 2D. Hold piping bag straight above cupcake and squeeze and wiggle piping bag slightly and pull straight up to create the ruffled look.
- Place cupcakes in refrigerator for about 15 minutes to let the frosting set up.
For the Chocolate Ganache:
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp corn syrup
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Place heavy cream and corn syrup in saucepan and heat over medium-high heat just until simmering.
- Put chocolate chips in bowl.
- Pour cream over top of chocolate chips and let sit 5 minutes, do not stir.
- Once chocolate begins to melt, stir mixture until chocolate is completely smooth.
- Allow chocolate to cool and firm up a little bit before drizzling over top of cupcakes.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries:
12 oz Ghirardelli Dark Melting Wafers
- Line baking sheet with wax paper.
- Wash and completely dry strawberries.
- Place Ghirardelli Dark Melting Wafers in bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals stirring after each, for about 1 and a half minutes, until chocolate is smooth.
- Dip strawberries in melted chocolate so they are about 3/4 the way covered. Place strawberries on prepared baking sheet.
- Once all strawberries are dipped place in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to allow chocolate to set.
- Add Chocolate Covered Strawberries on top of cupcakes.
*Keep cupcakes stored in air tight container in refrigerator until ready to enjoy.
- My favorite cupcake to date, they were seriously….WOW.
- Everyone who tried it completely flipped, even people who didn’t normally like chocolate or didn’t like cream cheese based frostings.
- The buttercream recipe was a little off. I had to add an additional two cups of powdered sugar to get the frosting to the right consistency. With the 6, it poured out the end of my piping bag (ziploc bag with the corner cut off).
- Building it was a little labor intensive and tricky. Even after fixing the frosting consistency issue, I had a little trouble keeping everything together. Trying to layer frosting, ganache and then balancing the dipped berry? Yeah, there might have been a little bit of swearing. I think next time, and there will be a next time, I’ll frost…wait a bit…and then add the rest.
I think I have found the cure for the my-job-sucks blues. It’s having an epic baking party with a good friend. Yesterday, after I made my escape from the office, my friend Rachel came over for what we jokingly refer to as our “baking date”. Between learning how to handle my new mixer and the potential disasters of trying new techniques the afternoon could have ended horribly, but it didn’t. Cake from scratch? No problem. Strawberry butter cream frosting? No big deal. White chocolate strawberry ganache? We got this. We totally rocked this cake recipe and I am so going to pull it out when my mother-in-law comes to visit next month.
Whew, I am getting a rush just typing about it. Unfortunately I can’t share the pictures of the cake since my new computer doesn’t have the software for my camera loaded yet. Where is the software you might ask? Well, it’s in a box, marked office, in my office closet, with about twenty other boxes marked office. But this picture is pretty accurate, except I used two round cake pans.
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 4 eggs
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup milk
- 1 bag of white chocolate baking morsels
- 1/2 jar of strawberry jam
- 2 sticks of butter at room temperature
- 1/2 jar of strawberry jam
- 6 – 8 cups of powdered sugar
- 2 drops red food coloring (optional)
- 1-2 small baskets of strawberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour the cake pans.
- In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch. The two layers cool to room temperature.
- In a pot on the stove, break of the white chocolate bars in to pieces and melt on medium/high temperature until they chocolate is melted to a thick liquid. Add in the jar of strawberry jam and mix thoroughly.
- Take your first layer of cake and shave off the rounded top with a long knife so the surface is flat. Then slice it again horizontally so you have two thing layers. Take the first layer and pour the warm ganache as thick or thin as you like (the more in better I think!). Place the second layer of cake on top of the ganache. Repeat with all four layers. Cut and trim the edges so the layers are flush (or you can skip this step like I did and cover your mistakes with butter cream)
- Once they are soft, blend the sticks of butter together the the rest of the strawberry jam. Add in powder sugar one cup at a time until the icing is fluffy. Ice the top and sides of the cake to your liking.
- Wash and dry the strawberries. Cut off the tops and then slice into halves and then arrange on top of the cake.
- Slice and enjoy!!!
Original recipe and images from here.