Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

It’s strawberry season! These little cakes are so cute and absolutely scrumptious.

Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

There are two kinds of strawberry shortcakes, one with a sponge or cake layer and another made with biscuits. Being a cake lover, I prefer the first, but both are delicious.

I started with a basic sponge cake recipe. Here’s the thing, sponge cakes can be very tricky to make. I’ve even seen professional bakers fail from time to time. When I tried Anna Olson’s recipe, the cake fell flat as it cooled, and was doughy in the middle. I experimented with several other recipes that didn’t come out either, and almost gave up. They were either too dry, overly sweet or had a course crumb.

I searched for trouble-shooting steps and came up with dozens of possibilities. I even tried my favorite vanilla cake recipe, but it was too rich for strawberry shortcake. I thought to myself, this will be the last time before I run out of eggs, butter and patience!  Then I stumbled upon a recipe from woodlandbakery.com and watched the video (twice).  The recipe is similar to the one on cakeboss.com.

The first time I made this cake it was way too sweet, and the amount of vanilla extract completely overwhelmed the flavor of the cake.  The second time, I reduced the sugar and the vanilla extract.  The cake turned out perfect; so moist and flavorful.  Success!  I’m happy to share the results with you!

** You can easily split this recipe in half to make just one cake, 12 cupcakes, or a small sheet pan to cut out mini cakes.

**  I would highly suggest you use a scale to measure the flour (in grams).  Click here for conversions (flour, sugar, etc.)

You will definitely crave another piece!

Vanilla Sponge Cake

Recipe adapted from cakeboss.com

Makes 2 – 8” round cakes or 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 ½ cups superfine (caster) sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (doesn’t have to be at room temperature)
  • 256 grams (2 cups) unbleached flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In the bowl of your KitchenAid mixer, whip the eggs on high speed with the whip attachment until foamy. Gradually add sugar (very slowly)
  3. The eggs will take about 5 minutes to reach the ribbon stage
    The ribbon stage is where the egg/sugar mixture is very light in color and very thick. When you lift your whip attachment, the batter runs back into the bowl and makes a ribbon effect before disappearing back into the mixture. You can also do a “figure 8″ pattern with the mixture, and if it stays visible for a few seconds before disappearing, you have reached the ribbon stage
  4. In the meantime you can heat the milk and butter together in the microwave or on the stovetop, remove from heat and then add the vanilla extract (watch carefully, I overheated the mixture the first time around)
  5. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and set aside
  6. When you have reached the ribbon stage, turn your mixer to low and add in all of the dry ingredients at once
  7. Mix only until combined on low speed or you will deflate the batter
  8. Next, prepare a liaison with the milk/butter mixture. A liaison is a technique in which rather than pouring the liquids straight into the main batter, which will deflate, you will take out about 2 cups of the cake batter into a separate mixing bowl, and with a hand whisk, add the liquids to that batter. Whisk it all together and then proceed to add this liaison to the original cake batter in the KitchenAid bowl
  9. Fold gently to combine
  10. Pour into prepared pans (parchment paper for cakes, or cupcake liners)
  11. Bake for approximately 20 minutes (rotate pans halfway through) at 350°F then lower the temperature to 325°F to continue baking until done.  Closer to the end of baking time, check cake (s) with the toothpick test.  If you are making cupcakes, bake for approximately 15-18 minutes, and then start checking every minute or so with a toothpick.  Baking times will always differ with various ovens.  Do not overbake (even by a few minutes), or your cake will be dry.

Kitchen notes:

  • To assemble the shortcakes, cut out rounds with a biscuit cutter to your desired size. I used a 3” round
  • Add icing sugar (to taste) to whipped cream at the soft peak stage, and then whip until firm. I added approximately 1 teaspoon for each 1 cup of heavy cream
  • Layer the cakes with whipped cream and fresh strawberries
  • The whipped cream is best eaten right away, as it will deflate after 1 day
  • The sponge cake freezes well if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and then in freezer bags or lock and lock containers
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