It’s strawberry season! These little cakes are so cute and absolutely scrumptious.
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
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- In the bowl of your KitchenAid mixer, whip the eggs on high speed with the whip attachment until foamy. Gradually add sugar (very slowly)
- 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
- 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)
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and set aside
- When you have reached the ribbon stage, turn your mixer to low and add in all of the dry ingredients at once
- Mix only until combined on low speed or you will deflate the batter
- 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
- Fold gently to combine
- Pour into prepared pans (parchment paper for cakes, or cupcake liners)
- 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.
- 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