June is better with strawberry shortcake

posted June 20, 2017 12:00 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Janelle Thomas

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Just when I thought June couldn’t get any better, I saw that National Strawberry Shortcake Day was June 14. That means this month we get to eat all the dairy products we can muster in celebration of June Dairy Month, and we get to wash it all down with strawberry shortcake topped with dairy-fresh whipped cream.

With strawberry season now upon us in the Upper Midwest, it is not too early to start planning for harvest. Strawberry shortcake will be on my short list of recipes to make.

I must admit I wasn’t a big fan of strawberry shortcake when I was young. I’ve always loved strawberries, but the traditional shortcake my mother made just wasn’t sweet enough for my sweet tooth. My tastes have evolved, and now I am first in line for this delicious dessert.

While searching through strawberry shortcake recipes, I realized many people use shortcake, pound cake and sponge cake interchangeably. Though most recipes will turn out just fine if these cakes are substituted, the three are quite different.

Shortcake is typically made with flour, sugar, baking powder or soda, salt, butter, milk or cream, and sometimes eggs. The dry ingredients are blended and mixed in, just until moistened, resulting in a shortened dough. The dough is then dropped in spoonfuls onto a baking sheet, rolled out and cut like baking powder biscuits, or poured into a cake pan. It is then baked at a high temperature until set.

Sponge cake is much lighter and sweeter. It is based on flour and is leavened with baking powder.

Pound cake is generally heavier and made with considerable amounts of butter and eggs, and it has no leaveners.

No matter which one you pick, topping it with fresh, ripe berries and a dollop of whipped cream will result in smiles and requests for seconds.

Thomas can be reached at janellethomas@charter.net.