A Sweet Start to Spring

On February 2nd, the famed Punxsutawney Phil made his annual prediction about the coming of spring. Unlike most years, this year Phil decided that spring would come early. He couldn’t have been more wrong. Case in point: it snowed on the first day of spring. Since then, it’s been cold, cold, and colder. I honestly can’t remember the last time the mercury even rose to 45 F.

Still, this hasn’t stopped me from pretending that spring has arrived in full force. Besides spending part of my spring break in the snowy slopes of Colorado, I’ve been resisting the cold. I have calmed down with the inappropriate clothing choices (dresses and skirts in temperatures skimming freezing), but my food choices have been anything but the heavy winter fare.

Even the super healthy, marathon-running, yoga-devoting Joy approves of this dessert!*

What better way to welcome spring than with a strawberry shortcake recipe? Well, more like a twist on the traditional strawberry shortcake. Airy and mildly sweet, this dessert will go perfectly with light spring dinners and mild weather. Plus, it’s almost strawberry season and what better way to celebrate that!

*Disclaimer: Joy approves of the taste of this dessert, not necessarily its nutritional value.

Ingredients:
Strawberry filling
2 pints of fresh strawberries
1/2 cup of white sugar

Shortcakes
4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
8 tsp of baking powder
4 tbs of white sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
2/3 cups of shortening
2 eggs
750 mL container of Kahlua

Whipped cream filling
2 cups heavy cream
2 oz bar of semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 tbs of coconut extract (found in the baking aisle with almond and vanilla extract)
1/4 cup of powdered sugar

Cooking Directions:

  1. Thinly slice strawberries and mix with 1/2 cup of sugar. Set aside until it’s time to assemble the whole thing.

    Fresh strawberry filling, yum!

  2. Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C). Grease and flour 2 8-in round cake pans.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in shortening using a pastry cutter (or your hand) until the mixture is crumbly.
  4. Beat the eggs and add to the crumble mixture. Stir the combination until everything comes together. Split the dough into two hunks.
  5. Spread (more like, pound) the pastry in the pans and let bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Don’t expect fluffy cakes that rise during the baking process. The shortcakes more closely resemble large biscuits.

    Shortcake baking

  6. Let the cakes rest until they are barely warm to the touch. Trim off the tops to make even surfaces.
  7. Spoon half of the Kahlua onto the cake to evenly coat the top. An alternative method to infusing the cakes with Kahlua would be to pour the Kahlua into a shallow pan and letting the cake soak it up. Repeat this process with the other cake.

    Cake soaking up the Kahlua

  8. Whip heavy cream until stiff. Stir in powdered sugar and continue whipping. Add extract and finely grate chocolate into the whipped cream. Whip until everything is incorporated.

    "She whips that cream back and forth, she whips that..." Somehow those lyrics just don't sound right.

  9. Starting with the bottom cake, add whipped cream and strawberries. Layer 2nd cake on the strawberries. Top with whipped cream and strawberries.

    Clearly, the cake is the star of this picture.

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