This week, the heavenly cake bakers catch-up group is making the red fruit shortcake. I can kind of see where Mendy’s coming from when he says this isn’t much of a challenge, since it’s a genoise from another recipe, topped with fruit, and maybe some meringues crisps or whipped dairy of some sort. That being said, I made it anyway, since I have lots of strawberries in my garden, just looking for an excuse to be used. Plus, my shed’s finally finished, so I don’t have that as an excuse not to bake any more.
I always find baking to be magical. I suppose “food science” or “chemistry” or “physics” is probably a better term, but it just always seems like pure wizardry to me, that you can take the simple ingredients in the bowls in this picture, and turn them into the light and airy cakes sitting on the rack. That’s really all the ingredients that are in these cakes!
My favourite baking magic is turning this:
After you’ve performed that trick, you whisk some of the magic foam into the butter/vanilla, then fold in the flour, then fold the butter mixture back in, then bake.
You can see that I made these cakes in 2 batches. That’s because I only have 1 six cavity mary-anne pan, and I had enough strawberries to satisfy a good number of shortcakes. I did end up picking up some raspberries at the grocery store, which came from California, which made me sad, but it’s just not quite raspberry season here yet, and it’s definitely not red currant season, either. I think the only time I could have made this cake with entirely fresh local produce would be late July, and that’s definitely pushing it for strawberries. To be honest, I’m sure our household would have been just as happy with pure strawberries.
Anyway, after rounding up your produce, macerate the berries with some sugar, then drain off the resulting juice. Turn the juice into syrup by adding a bit more sugar, then douse the cakes with syrup, cover them in berries, and top with some sweetened whipped creme fraiche.
While Jay and I were working on putting a scratch coat of mortar on the pillars on our front porch (long story, I’ll maybe tell it when we’re finished with the project), our neighbour from across the road stopped by to chat (and to see if he could help, without getting too involved!). We were burning out the motor on our poor little drill trying to mix the mortar, so the neighbour offered to run home and grab a more powerful one he had. We took him up on the offer, and the next batch went a whole lot better. As we were cleaning up after finishing the job, his wife came over to visit too. I offered them some strawberries, as I was picking a few off the bushes while we were standing around chatting. The wife said she’d just finished cleaning a batch of berries, so instead I offered her the shortcakes. “Oh, now that sounds perfect!” I sent them home with 4 of the cakes, so they figure we’re even on the drill loan.
While they were over, I also showed off my new shed. Wanna see pictures? Too bad, you’re getting them anyway. 🙂
I built the potting bench myself, on Sunday. I’m really happy with how it turned out, though I still need to figure out what to use for a suitable workbench top.
The window came out of the back room (former summer kitchen) that we tore down last spring in order to make room for the new window over the sink in the kitchen.
I love having these shelves to organize all the fertilizers, slug killers, and other sprays and powders.
And this is what it’s all for:
Look! First one of the season!
My plants make me so happy some days. 🙂