How fun does baking a cake on a Saturday night while all of your friends are out having a gay old time sound? Fun, right? And did I look like some what of a loner as a roamed the aisles of Sobeys' at eleven o'clock at night in search of a pastry blender? Perhaps. But have you ever tried to make a two layer strawberry shortcake? I never really thought that the idea of baking my own cake, from scratch, would enthrall me enough to stay in, specifically to bake this cake, and miss a night of unnecessary drunkenness. Well, it did. And the results weren't satisfying, but I learned some key pointers that every new chef should experience on their own.
3 pints fresh strawberries
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk
2 cups whipped heavy cream
Step 1: Slice strawberries and toss them with 1/2 cup of white sugar.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 425F and grease one 8 inch round cake pan.
Step 3: Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and 2 tablespoons of white sugar in a bowl. With the pastry blender, cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles course crumbs
Step 4: Make a well in the centre of the mixture for beaten egg and milk. Stir until just combined.Step 5: Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Let the cake cool in pan.Step 6: Slice the cake into two layers. Top one layer with whipped cream and prepared strawberries. Place second layer on top and cover with remaining whipped cream and strawberries.In theory, this cake should have been delicious. Just thinking about the combination of caramelized strawberries, swirls of whipped cream, and a sweet, crumbly cake was enough to make my mouth water. In the end, however, the only worthy mouth of this cake was the garbage. First, I must stress how important it is for a new cook to follow the given directions. I started to read the comment section underneath the recipe and almost all of them said that they reduced the amount of baking powder from 4 teaspoons to 2 teaspoons. Since the general consensus was that the cake turned out better will less baking powder, I decided to follow the crowd. Well, my cake never baked. I sat in front of the oven for nearly an hour and after deciding that four times the recommended baking time was enough, I took out my still raw cake. This left me with two choices: I could abort the cake baking mission or I could try again, following the instructions to the T. This time around, I did everything the recipe told me to and the cake came out fine. Now that I had convinced myself to follow directions exactly as they were written, I came to my next problem, which was in the form of whipped cream. All the recipe said about whipped cream was that I needed 2 cups of it. So I bought a container of whipping cream and used a beater to turn the liquid cream into a solid form. My mom told me that I should probably add sugar to the whipped cream or else it wouldn't be sweet, but the recipe never said anything about sugar in the whipped cream, so I didn't do it.
The end product of this cake was less than desirable. In total, I had two bites of cake. The first bite, including cake, whipped cream, and a strawberry, was not terrible but it wasn't anything to die for either. The second bite, on the other hand, lacked a strawberry and left a rather regrettable taste in my mouth. Unfortunately, the cake sat in the fridge for about two days before it made its rightful way to the garbage!