Saturday, July 18, 2009

it's still strawberry season

I love strawberries and I especially love strawberry shortcake. A few weeks ago I brought home my first quart of fresh local berries and immediately grabbed my Baking with Julia tomb (the companion book to a most excellent PBS series with Julia Child and guest chefs) from the cookbook bookcase in my kitchen and turned easily to the dog eared and well worn Baking Powder Biscuit recipe page - the only biscuit recipe I'll ever need.

This year, although I did enjoy my strawberry shortcake with biscuits fresh from the oven with gently sweetened whipped cream to which a smidge of vanilla extract had been added ... I kept thinking of cake. Of real cake. Of something softer, a pillow for my berries and cream. Somehow the biscuits just made this dessert feel heavy to me. I began dreaming of something lighter to pile my strawberries and cream on top of (and later in the summer blueberries and then fresh peaches - sigh). Angel food cake could be a delicious option, and the thoughts of concocting a real British sponge cake were bandying around in my brain and then very recently Smitten Kitchen (another daily blog haunt of mine) posted this recipe for Perfect & Best Golden Cake - Ah Hah ! I thought to myself. I halved the recipe (and have great plans to try halving it again - creating a small 1 egg golden cake for two - or for one as it may be 'cause sometimes a girl's just gotta have a bit of cake). It's a very easy cake recipe and delicious. I baked my cake in a 9 inch square glass pan at 350 for nearly an hour.

It was the perfect pillow ... still a tiny bit warm from the oven with a big scoop of berries and a generous dollop of whipped cream. I may still try a sponge cake recipe as well, as I continue on my quest for the perfect small cake recipe.

We had a furious thunder and lightening storm in the middle of the night last night and rain poured down heavily in sheets. 1000, 20 - CRACK !!! like a great explosion. (The counting 1000, 2000, 3000 gives you an indication of how far away a storm is - each count of a thousand, or a second passing is equal to 1 mile and an equation I've spoken out loud, since childhood, at the first sounds of thunder) I would say this storm was practically overhead which rarely ever happens. I loved it (Miss D would beg to differ). We all stayed tucked in our respective nests and marveled at the power (and the glory) of nature.

Happy Saturday.

strawberry shortcake with Julia Child's foolproof baking powder biscuits


  1. Another example of how different our words are in meaning, UK/North America-wise. Looks delicious, but also looks like a sweet scone to me!

    For a small cake (English meaning here!) a Victoria sponge mix is very versatile, can be scaled up or down, mixed in a moment, and never fails. Great warm, with sauce or custard, brilliant with fruit, or traditionally layered with strawberry jam. Hmmm, I might make one later!

  2. Rachel it could be the shape - because rather than overwork my biscuit dough I find patting the barely handled dough into a circle and cutting into wedges (very scone like in appearance) ensures mile high - and tres short biscuits.

    Although this recipe could very easily be adapted for scones.

  3. Now Susan, I'm curious. You didn't try the Julia Child biscuit recipe, did you? I thought you went directly to the sponge cake option. I'm with you there, the biscuits are too heavy-at least the way I make them!...and the idea of a tiny cake for two is excellent...a way to have fun but not regret it.

    What am I talking about? Last night after having seconds of rice and beans, I had ice cream with bananas. Sometimes I just fall off the moderation wagon.

    Please come over and look at my post today. It has a bit of art that you might enjoy...and local San Juan scenery. <3

  4. Oh, Susan, have you seen "Calendar Girls"? There is a funny scene about a classic British sponge have to see it. <3

  5. You sure know your way around the kitchen Susan! Looks devine!

  6. I hope you are happy...I am now craving my own personal cake with fresh strawberries and cream. SIGH. I like strawberries with GOOD vanilla ice cream...but you are so right, sometimes a girl has to have a piece of cake. :)

  7. Yummy. Strawberries are really my favourite food. My desert island choice. Down here, I would make a pound cake to go with them!

    Oh, I wish for a storm such as that one. We had some serious wind and rain for about 30 minutes yesterday, and remarkably, it blew out all the humidity and today is as gorgeous as autumn! Edward, Apple and I are totally thrilled and planning an afternoon walk that will last hours!!!

  8. That looks absolutely delightful! I just now bought strawberries at the grocery for my cereal.

  9. Susan - I am off to find your recipe, I have a serious craving for CAKE!! Thank you (and for telling me I could make half!). xo Pam

  10. Yummy!!! That looks absolutely delicious. My tummy is to go eat something sweet :)

  11. I like your blog.I'm waiting for your new posts.

  12. My mother loves to make those biscutes. Awww they remind me of her :)

  13. I adore strawberry shortcake, and these biscuits look nothing short than divine.

    Thanks so much for the kindness; it was a lovely surprise to be blog of the week!

  14. "It was the perfect pillow" love that...
    We have yet to have a cracking good thunderstorm here. They have skirted us. Love a really good storm to clear out the air.

  15. Wow, that looks incredible!! I so love sponge cake with strawberries too and any sort of cream is good with me!


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