makes 8 cakes
- 1 lb fresh strawberries.
- 2c sifted cake flour (if using all-purpose flour, which is not recommended, reduce to 1.75c sifted)
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp sugar (1 tbsp for the shortcake, 2 for the strawberry topping)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp cold butter
- 3/4 c light or heavy cream, half and half, or fat-free half and half
- Whipped cream, whipped topping, or cream-in-a-can
- Rinse the berries, reserving 8-10 small to medium ones with pointy tips. These will be your hearts. Heat the oven to 450.
- Slice remaining strawberries into quarters and toss with 2 tbsp sugar to coat. Set aside.
- Sift flour on a flexible cutting board or parchment paper. Gently pour into measuring cup, then level off with a knife. I’ll repeat it again just in case you missed it the first time: do not level off by shaking or tapping the measuring cup. You’ll get dry nasty muffins, and nobody wants that.
- Sift the sifted flour AGAIN, this time with baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut up the butter, which should have been in your fridge all this time, a little bit to get the blending going. Dump into the flour, then use a pastry blender or two knives to blend together. You’re done when there are no remaining chunks of butter in there. Add in the cream or half and half all at once, then mix until all ingredients are moistened.
- Let that sit a bit while you create your strawberry hearts. Pull off stems, carve out the pit with a paring knife, then slice in half. Shape each half into a heart by carving a V at the notch (where the stem used to be). Since the berries will be pushed into the dough, the edges don’t need to make a perfect heart, but the V at the top is pivotal.
- Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool a minute or two in the pan, then transfer to wire rack to cool. Serve to your dearest love with the sugared strawberries and whipped cream.