Showing off pretty bowls and plates must wait because I made a treat last night that would be most appropriate for the upcoming Memorial Day long weekend. May long weekend is the unofficial kick off for summer. For us Canadians, that would be Victoria Day the previous week. We clamour for sunny days, relaxing alfresco meals in the backyard, and a cold drink in one hand. This is also the perfect time to enjoy strawberry shortcakes.
This time last year, I weighed in on two different styles of strawberry shortcakes. As much as I love the biscuit-style, it may not be the easiest to prepare for a big crowd because the biscuits must be served fresh out of the oven. I quite enjoyed the buttermilk cake version with whipped crème fraîche in individual portions so I made it again this year. Only this time, I wanted a showstopper. A tall and proud layer cake piled high with berries to mark Little Brother’s belated birthday celebration. I got what I asked for.
I never shy away from birthday celebration despite protests from family and friends. Birthday is a time to reflect on what you accomplished in the last year and get pumped up about all the adventures you’ll experience in the next 365 days. Okay, so this is not necessarily a philosophy shared by all but why get all moody about turning a year older? Age is nothing but a number and you’re becoming wiser. All the trials and triumphs in the past make you a better person.
That’s enough fist-pumping optimism for a day. We have cake.
This gorgeous dessert is made of two layers of tender buttermilk cake with juicy sweet strawberries, raspberries, tangy whipped crème fraîche, and homemade balsamic raspberry jam. For me, it is about from-scratch goodness but it can just as easily be adapted for semi-homemade. If you use store-bought plain cake and jam, this cake is a simple matter of assembly. As is my habit, I made two 6-inch cakes instead of one large 9-inch version. One for me, one to give away (Dad is the lucky recipient this time). If you’re still on the hunt for a Memorial Day barbeque dessert, give it a try!
Strawberry Raspberry Shortcake
yields two 6-inch cakes
- one recipe of Flo Braker’s Favourite Buttermilk Cake, baked in two 6x2-inch round cake pans, cool completely
- 4 tablespoons of good quality raspberry jam
- 1 pound of strawberries, hulled
- 1 pint of raspberries
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream, well chilled
- 1 cup of crème fraîche, well chilled
- 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Slice each cake in half horizontally, keeping the layers lined up.
- Place each of the bottom layers onto a cake round or serving plate. Evenly spread 2 tablespoons of jam over the bottom layer until 1/4 inch shy of the edge.
- Cut half of the strawberries into wedges and the remainders into halves. Set aside.
- To make the whipped crème fraîche topping, whisk heavy cream, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and vanilla extract until soft peak stage. Empty the whipped cream into a large bowl. Combine crème fraîche with 2 tablespoons of sugar and whisk until soft peak too. Empty into the bowl containing whipped cream and gently fold with large rubber spatula until combine.
- Put a quarter of the whipped crème fraîche on top of the jam bottom cake layer. Using an offset spatula, coax the cream into a thick even layer about 1/4 inch shy of the edge.
- Stud the cream layer evenly with a mix of strawberry wedges and whole raspberries. Top with a small dollop of cream topping.
- Center the unfrosted cake layers on top and press lightly to adhere.
- Divide the remaining cream topping between the two cakes. Spread into a thick even layer using an offset spatula.
- Top each cake with the strawberry halves, whole raspberries, and any remaining strawberry wedges. Pile them high and attractive!
- Chill the cake for at least an hour for the components to meld. When you’re ready to serve, set the cake at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes to take the chill off. Assembled cake can be made ahead for up to a day.