My little brother graduated college this weekend in Santa Cruz! It was an exciting, family-filled weekend. Before the ceremony we checked out a farmer’s market in Santa Cruz, where we got yummy pizza from a mobile pizza oven (crazy!) and flavor packed gorditas sopes, and agua frescas from a Mexican stand. After the ceremony we proceeded up gorgeous Highway 1 to Half Moon Bay, where we dined on fresh seafood and prime rib. As we drove up the coast we saw numerous stands selling strawberries. I didn’t have a chance to purchase any of these berries, but it did remind me that strawberries are still in season!
I was back in San Francisco Sunday, and was thinking about those strawberry stands off Highway 1. I decided to go to the farmer’s market and pick some up. I bought a generous amount along with some blackberries. They taste like candy!
Now that I had the sweet, juicy berries, I thought of things to make. No way I was going to bake them, they had to be eaten in their raw form. I decided to make some strawberry shortcake! As I often do (why can’t I just follow a recipe?), I made my own spin on strawberry shortcake.
Strawberry shortcake already has so many variations, but when when I think of a traditional version I think of a sweet biscuit, piled high with strawberries and whipped cream. My shortcake was a cross between a soft cookie and traditional shortcake. The texture was a soft interior with crisp edges. They reminded me more of a cookie since they baked up pretty flat. The texture was much more delicate, and much lighter, than a typical biscuit-like shortcake. I’ve had many bland shortcakes in the past, so I pumped mine up by using buttermilk, orange zest, and vanilla extract to give it extra flavor.
I sliced the strawberries and let them macerate in a sprinkling of sugar and their own juices. I left the blackberries as they were.
When it was time to assemble the dessert I split the cakes, and piled them high with the macerated strawberries and fresh blackberries.
I topped with some light french vanilla ice cream before capping the dessert with the cake top. What a refreshing summer dessert!
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry cutter (or in food processor) cut in cold butter, until butter is in pea-sized pieces. In a separate bowl mix buttermilk with orange zest and vanilla extract. Add to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Using a #30 ice cream scoop, scoop onto a baking pan. Cook at 375 F for 12 minutes.
Slice desired amount of strawberries and sprinkle with sugar as needed (depends on sweetness of berries). Let sit for 30 minutes or so.
To assemble, slice the cakes (or use one whole cake as your base depending on the thickness you want for your cake, I like a thin layer of cake so I sliced mine). Top with strawberries, blackberries (if you have them), and any other berries you’d like to use. Put a scoop of ice cream on top of the berries. Place the top of the sliced cake on top. Enjoy!