Berries n’ Cream on a Shortcake
Looking for a way to take advantage of the bushels of rhubarb and fresh strawberries at the farmer’s market? This cake is perfect: delicious and refreshing and great for summer. I’ve always had trouble with baking up aesthetically pleasing treats, but this cake is actually pretty easy, albeit a little time consuming as it does have three parts. However, you can make the cake and the filling ahead of time, but be sure to assemble it no more than four hours before serving. Otherwise, the filling and the whipped cream will make the cake soggy. Also, be sure to allow the cake to cool completely, lest the whipped cream melt.
I suggest springing for organic cream – it really makes a difference here. I also doubled the whipped cream just for this post: my shortcake was definitely in need of extra whipped cream!
Click here for tips on slicing strawberries.
Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake
For the cake:
- 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease
- 2 C flour, preferably cake flour, plus extra for the pan
- 2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 C sugar
- 3 lg eggs
- 1/4 heavy cream
- 1 t cinnamon
- 2 t finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 t vanilla extract
For the filling:
- 1 lb rhubarb (approx. 4 stalks), wash, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
- 1/2 C sugar
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/4 water, scant
- 2 t lemon juice
- 16 oz container strawberries, trimmed and sliced (approx. 3 C)
- 3 C heavy whipping cream
- 1 T sugar
- 2 t vanilla extract
- For the cake: preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease the cake pan with butter and dust with flour, tapping out any excess. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Using a standing mixer or some elbow grease, beat the butter in a large bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to beat until very fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg and cream until combined. Add half of the flour mixture and half the egg mixture to the butter mixture and beat until combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and egg. Add the cinnamon, vanilla and lemon zest and beat for an additional 1 – 2 minutes.
- Transfer the batter to the cake pan and spread the top evenly. Bake until your apartment is filled with a buttery lemon aroma, 40-44 minutes. To ensure the cake is ready, lightly poke the top of the cake, it should spring back. Stick a toothpick or a butter knife into the center of the cake and slowly pull it back out: if it comes out clean save a few crumblies, your cake is baked. Allow to cool for five minutes before removing the cake from the pan. Remove the cake from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. While it cools, make the filling
- For the filling: combine the rhubarb with the sugar and water in a medium sauce pan.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue to cook until the rhubarb resembles a thick and stringy puree, stirring occasionally. This should take about 20 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and the salt and allow to cool completely. Fold in half the strawberries.
- For the topping: whip the cream with the vanilla and sugar until stiff peaks form.
- To assemble: using a serrated knife, slice the cake in half horizontally and place the bottom half on a serving plate or cake stand. Be sure to be very careful when cutting the cake, you want to make both halves even.
- Spread 1 1/2 C whipped cream on the bottom half of the cake, stopping about 1/2″ away from the cake’s edge. Spread the filling on top of the whipped cream.
- Using your hands (or a nifty German cake tool), place the top half of the cake atop the bottom half.
- Spread 1 C whipped cream on top, going all the way to the edge of the cake. Top with the sliced strawberries just before serving. Garnish with lemon zest, if desired.