'A shortcake should be like a biscuit' said a formidable lady from Terrace to my MIL during their strawberry socials (I love that idea, anyone up for a strawberry social in Edmonton?).
Who am I to disagree? This wonderful shortcake recipe was passed on to me by my MIL, who told me that its an old recipe, that has been handed down quite a bit. Having gobbled up her shortcakes, I can see why this is a trusted recipe. Its Delicious, with that capital D fully justified.
When Choclette over at Chocolate Log Blog announced that this months ingredient for We Should Cocoa is strawberries, my heart did a funny happy leap. Because if there is one fruit I love, its strawberries. I love them warm from my friend's garden, and cold from the freezer. I was lucky enough to find some lovely strawberries earlier this summer, and foresseing such an eventuality, froze a few bags of them. But the stores are again flooded with strawberries, so I decided to save my frozen delights for another recipe, and use the fresh ones I got instead for this recipe.
I have been meaning to play around with MIL's shortcake recipe for a while now (I know, bad me!). I absolutely adored it when I made it straight up in my Mango Shortcake, but wanted to see how it would work with a bit of cocoa added to it to make it chocolatey.
Back in England, I always used Green and Black's Cocoa for all my desserts. I was so chuffed when I found a tin of it in The Bay a few months ago, and have been jealously saving it for very special ocasions.
I was a bit apprehensive about modifying the recipe. After all one of the few unwritten rules of baking is that you don't play around with ingredients unless you are an accomplished baker. Now I am a good cook, but still a novice baker, so it was a challenge in more ways than one. In the end I didn't actually do very much different from the original recipe, other than add the cocoa, increase the sugar a wee bit and decrease the flour.
To mine (and Aditi's) delight, the recipe worked perfectly. The cake was just gorgeous, with a light biscuity crust, but with the moistest of crumbs. I served it up with lots of whipped cream and fresh strawberries, and the whole dessert was just a taste triumph. MIL will be proud of me, I think :-) I've also found my dessert for our annual Canada Day party, so smiles all round!
PS - Do you like the cake stand? I made it myself!
1¼ cups sifted plain flour
¼ cup dark cocoa powder + 2 - 3 extra tbsp
½ cup caster sugar + 3 tbsp
¼ tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup butter or margarine (butter tastes better, but margarine is probably healthier)
1 large egg
2/3 cup milk
A few fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
100 ml whipping cream, chilled + 2 tbsp sugar
Sift dry ingredients together 3 times. Rub butter into dry mixture, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Beat egg, add milk to egg and mix well.
Gently fold in the egg and milk mixture into first mixture using just a few strokes.
Put in lightly greased 8 inch square pan* and bake 15 minutes at 350 F (175 C). Let cool.
Whip the chilled cream with the sugar, until it holds soft peaks.
Slice the shortcake, and then slice in half horizontally. Pour over a little bit of whipped cream and place the sliced strawberries on top of it. Replace the top of the shortcake, then top with more whipped cream.
*Note: For the picture in this post, I made one small portion of shortcake in a 4 inch round cake tin. The remaining mix went into the square tin.
This recipe is for the June edition of We Should Cocoa. The special ingredient for this month was strawberries.