Baked-In Strawberry Shortcake

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Do you like strawberry shortcake enough to make it from scratch?  If you’ve ever hesitated, please do me a favor and try this recipe.  It’s absolutely the best shortcake I’ve ever tasted in my life!  It is not your typical dry shortcake that needs a ton of juicy strawberry syrup and a glass of milk to swallow.  No more angel food cakes or mini shortcakes from the grocery store.  No more dry Bisquick shortcakes.  This recipe is moist, airy, sweet, buttery, delicious and downright decadent!  You could eat it without strawberries and whipped cream, it’s that good!

When my girls were young, they had a youth leader at church named Gaylene Jolley, who taught them all about Jesus Christ, life, manners, charity, service and even cooking! For one of their weekly activities, Gaylene held a recipe exchange in her lovely home.  Each girl made and shared their favorite family fare.  Gaylene handed out a nicely typed recipe for “Baked-In Shortcake” with a story as to how it came to be.  After tasting it that night, I knew I had found a recipe to treasure and share with my family.

It is called ‘Baked-In Shortcake’ because, if desired, you can slice strawberries over the batter before adding the topper and then bake it.  The recipe was given to Gaylene when she worked in Building Operations and Maintenance for The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power back in 1964.  The Assistant Chief Security Officer was James Henry and he shared this favorite family recipe with her.

A true Family Food Roots story is at the root of this recipe.  James Henry made it for his family, Gaylene Jolley made it for her family, I’ve made it for my family and now we’re passing it along to all of you to enjoy!  Whether baking the strawberries in or serving them fresh on top (or both), you will love this tasty treat!

 Just look at how thick this shortcake is. The secret? 4 teaspoons of fresh baking powder!


Baked-In Shortcake

CAKE
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
4 Tbsp. melted butter

TOPPER
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter (cut into flour/sugar mixture)
¼ cup walnuts/pecans (optional)

GARNISH
1 pound strawberries
2-3 T white sugar
1 carton whipping cream
3 T powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat the first set of ingredients 2 minutes and put into a greased 9×13” pan.  Sprinkle with the TOPPER.  Bake at 375° for 35 minutes.  DO NOT OVER BAKE.  Start checking the cake 10 minutes before your timer goes off and remove when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Optional: If you desire baked-in strawberries, slice enough to spread evenly on top of batter then add the topper.

Strawberry prep:  Hull and slice the strawberries. Place in a bowl, add sugar, mix gently and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This will ensure lots of nice juice.

Whipped cream prep:  Pour cold whipping cream into a bowl; add powdered sugar and vanilla.  Beat with electric mixer or in a Kitchen Aid for 3-5 minutes or until it’s slightly stiff.

Serving:  Cut cake into squares; top with strawberries and whipped cream.  Then, sit back and savor every bite!

Root Notes
–  Go ahead and use canned whipping cream, if you must!  But I advise against Cool Whip as it’s made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, which is really unhealthy.
–  Baking in Utah (4,700 feet where we live), I found that my cake was finished in 25-27 minutes.  Make sure not to over-bake to avoid dry or burnt cake.
–  Trader Joes has this new product called ‘Shelf-Stable Whipping Cream’.  Just put it in the refrigerator at least 6 hours before whipping.  Tastes great, so convenient and reasonably priced at $1.39 each.
–  Keep frozen strawberries on hand along with the whipping cream and you’ve got dessert options if (when) cravings hit and the stores are all closed.

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