Picture this: plump, juicy strawberries sandwiched between decadent swirls of softly whipped cream and a heavenly sponge cake that’s lighter than a pillowy cloud on a crisp blue sky. Ok, enough with my visuals, but this strawberry shortcake really does celebrate the sweetness of summer. It’s the perfect ode to those endless sunny days when it’s hotter than the sun, and all you crave is something simple, light, and delicious.
I’ve used my St-Germain elderflower sponge cake as a the base for the cake. If you prefer to make this alcohol free, substitute elderflower cordial or orange juice for the liqueur. If you happen to have edible flowers in your garden, now is the time to use them – they really do add an added touch of pretty to this already beautiful cake!
*Makes one 8 or 9 inch cake – you can bake the cake in three separate pans, or in one pan and split the layers with a serrated knife once cooled. Feel free to double the recipe to make a larger cake.
Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
For the Sponge Cake:
- 4 eggs
- 1 & 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- zest of half a lemon
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 250 ml St-Germain elderflower liqueur OR non-alcoholic elderflower Cordial OR orange juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Butter and flour your baking tin. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 180 celsius (350 degrees Farenheit). Position the oven rack in the center of the oven.
In a standing or handheld mixer, beat the eggs slightly. Slowly add the sugar. Beat until creamy and light in color. You want the eggs and sugar to develop volume. This should take about five minutes.
Mix together four, baking soda, lemon zest and salt. Whisking by hand, gently sprinkle flour into the batter with a large wire whisk in three separate additions. If you are using a Kitchen Aid or standing mixer, use the whisk that comes with the machine. *It’s important that you get the sides and bottom of the bowl while you are whisking (how many times did I say the word “whisk” in this paragraph!).
Mix your canola oil with the St-Germain, cordial, or orange juice. Slowly add the liquids into your batter, whisking by hand continuously as the you pour (a lot of arm work here). Keep on whisking until all the liquid has been incorporated and you are left with a lovely, lemon-colored batter.
Pour immediately into your prepared baking tin (or tins). You do not want this batter to sit. If it does, the liquids and flour will fall to the bottom of the batter and your cake could develop a rubbery film.
Bake for 45 minutes to one hour or until the top of the cake is golden brown and springs back to the touch. Remember that baking times can vary depending on the size of the tins you are using. Start checking for doneness after thirty minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before turning out.
For the Sugar Syrup:
- 3/4 cup of water
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
In a saucepan, mis together water and sugar. Heat over medium heat. Let simmer gently for five minutes or until slightly reduced and the sugar has dissolved. Let cool.
For the Berries and Cream:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream 35%, chilled
- 6 tablespoons caster sugar (you can add a bit more or less depending on how sweet you want your cream)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- approximately 1 kg fresh strawberries, washed, stems removed, and sliced (save a few whole strawberries to garnish)
- edible flowers (optional)
Start whipping your cream at low speed. Gradually add your sugar and vanilla, and increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until soft peaks form and it holds it shape. DO NOT over-whip, or else you’ll be left with sweet butter (not a bad thing necessarily, but it’s not what we want for this cake).
Arrange one cake layer on a plate or turntable. Drizzle the entire surface with a tablespoon of your sugar syrup.
Pile on 1/3 of the whipped cream, then 1/3 of the strawberries.
Repeat with the remaining layers.
Garnish the cake with whole strawberries and edible flowers. Refrigerate until set and serve.
This cake will keep for about two days in the fridge. Remove and let sit at room temp for thirty minutes before digging in to the leftovers.