Sunday, September 7, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake Parfaits

I look forward to baking for Shabbat. Aside from the usual cooking, I always bake challah and one or two desserts depending on how many we are. This weekend it was quiet, with just my parents, my younger sister and me. (I'm one of six children, so this really was quiet!) For dessert, I decided to indulge my father's sweet tooth and make strawberry shortcake. But since we are so few, I opted to make cute little parfaits with some parfait glasses hiding in my mother's cabinet and just begging to be put to use. Since everyone was too full after lunch, I served them (made to order!) after afternoon nap. They were a hit! I didn't have one, but it was clear by the requests for that it was a successful dessert. The components were traditional, yellow cake, strawberries macerated in a bit of sugar and balsamic-- an element which greatly, but subtley, enhances the flavor profile of the berries, and cream. I tried out a new recipe for yellow cake from Marcy Goldman's A Passion for Baking. The recipe calls itself Supermarket Yellow Cake for Strawberry Shortcake. With a title like that, how could I pass up the opportunity to try it? The good news is that it tastes nothing like the supermarket's! Thankfully, this cake lacks that dry, spongey texture that so many supermarket shortcakes are guilty of. It also had alot more flavor, although I would next time decrease the vanilla by about 1/4 teaspoon or so as the vanilla was too overwhelming. Leftovers were wrapped and frozen. It's also the start of my brand new cake bag for collecting leftovers that could be put to use for any number of things, at the top of my list: trifles!
Supermarket Yellow Cake for Strawberry Shortcake
Slightly adapted from Marcy Goldman's A Passion for Baking

1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk (I used soymilk to keep it parve)

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a nine inch pan with a round of parchment and grease the parchment.

In the bowl of your mixer, place the margarine and sugar.

Cream until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla,

and beat to combine.

Toss in the dry ingredients,

and stir them in by hand.

Add the milk, and stir in slowly and gently until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake about 35-40 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 15 minutes.

Turn out onto a rack to finish cooling. Proceed with the recipe of your choice. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to complete a layer cake.

The whipping cream in the mixer bowl.


The parfaits assembled...
...and lookin' mighty fine!

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