Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ridiculously delicious berry shortcake

Mr Leaven invited a friend over for dinner last night, so I decided to macerate the dewberries I'd picked the day before with strawberry slices. And then decided to whip up some whipped cream with creme de cassis liqueur. And while the steaks were grilling, I thought a little shortcake would go nicely with the berries and cream.

I've never actually made shortcake, so I had to look up a recipe, and what better place to look than Rose Levy Berenbaum's The Cake Bible?? Because it is, well, a bible and I am a literalist (stop laughing, dear), I followed the recipe down to the letter. And it was amazing. This cake is soft, fluffy, buttery and crumbly the way a shortcake should be. Dessert was heavenly, as was my breakfast the next morning (none left for the mister...).

In characteristic Leaven style, I forgot to take pictures. Next time.

Golden butter cream cake
from The Cake Bible


3 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
10.5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

*can use a substitute - 2 Tbsp corn starch + just under 1 cup of all-purpose flour is roughly 1 cup of cake flour (and 3 Tbsp corn starch + just under 1 1/2 cups flour is roughly 1 1/2 cups cake flour)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Prepare one 9" by 2" cake pan or 9" springform pan: Grease, line bottom with parchment paper, and grease again and flour.

In a medium bowl lightly combine the yolks, 2 Tbsp cream, and vanilla.

In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and remaining 6 Tbsp cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake 25-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should be just starting to shrink from the sides of the pan. It will shrink quite a bit while cooling.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto a greased wire rack.

What you do with your shortcake at this point I leave to your discretion, although if it doesn't involve nibbling on the crumbly edges I'm afraid you're not quite human. I do suggest that you slice off a chunk, top with berries, and add a fair-sized dollop of whipped cream and then devour until the bowl is crystal clean. :)

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