What's Baking: Strawberry Shortcake

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It's time again for another addition of What's Baking.  This month was hosted by Leanne from The Martin Family blog.  Leanne chose Spring for this month's theme.  I can't wait to see what everyone came up with this month! 

When I think of Spring, my mind wanders to my garden.  Most of my garden consists of annuals, but I have a few perennials.  The first edible perennials I planted were strawberries, and they are well established now and produce abundantly from late spring to late summer.

I've made this Strawberry Shortcake by Emeril Lagasse a few times now and it's always well received.  The first time I served this was on a day my sister's bridal party was at my house planning her shower, so whenever I make this is brings back fond memories.

With Easter coming, I knew this would make a great addition to our family's buffet.  Since this would be consumed by children, I omitted the Grand Marnier and used a sugar-free syrup and juice from an orange instead.  I completely cut out the sugar for the strawberries; 2 cups seemed completely unnecessary, actually ridiculous, to me.  I had every intention of adding orange zest to the cake itself, however, I completely forgot until the batter was in the pan and ready to go in the oven.  Next time!
The changes I made are included here:

For the Cake:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus 2 tsp, softened
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp milk, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt  
  • 4 Tbsp sugar-free raspberry syrup
  • Juice of 1/2 an orange
For the Strawberries:
  • 3 lbs strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp sugar-free raspberry flavored syrup
  • 1 Tbsp agave
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1/4 an orange 
For the Whipped Cream:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 9x13 glass baking dish with 2 tsp softened butter.

Melt 2 sticks of butter and set aside to cool.

In a stand mixer, beat eggs and milk until they begin to foam.  Add sugar, and beat on high for 7-10 minutes until the mix is thickened and pale yellow.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.  Carefully fold flour mixture into egg mixture until well combined.  Carefully fold melted butter into batter.

Pour batter into preparing baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Once cooled, cut into 1 inch cubes and poke holes over top of cake.  Drizzle with 4 Tbsp syrup and  juice from 1/4 of an orange.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the strawberries, 2 Tbsp syrup, agave, orange zest and juice of 1/2 an orange.  Allow to set 30 minutes or until ready to assemble.

Just before assembling, use a chilled stand mixer bowl and whip to beat heavy cream and confectioner's sugar on high until stiff peaks form.  Add vanilla and beat until combined.

In a large serving bowl or trifle bowl, layer 1/2 cake, followed by 1/2 of strawberries.  Repeat with remaining cake and strawberries.  Top with whipped cream and serve immediately.

Serves 12.  This filled my trifle bowl, plus made the 2 individual bowls you see above.

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