The classic American strawberry shortcake is closer to what we would call a scone than a cake. In Japan it’s made with a soft and pillowy sponge that is quite unrecognisable from the rustic country kitchen American version. Whichever your preference, it’s not a bad idea to start with the original. For one, it’s a much easier cake to make.
- 600 ml thickened cream
- 2 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra, for dusting
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways, seeds scraped
- 400 g strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 300 g (2 cups) self-raising flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 60 g (¼ cup) caster sugar
- 150 g cold unsalted butter, chopped
- 1 egg
- 100 ml milk
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time: 1 hr
- Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Grease and line a 20 cm round cake tin with baking paper.
- For the shortcake, place the flour, salt, sugar and butter in a food processor and pulse to form large crumbs. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and milk, then, using the pulse action, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients just until a lumpy batter forms. Don’t be tempted to process until smooth as you don’t want to develop the gluten in the flour. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake is golden and a skewer withdraws clean. Allow to cool.
- While the cake is cooling, using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream, icing sugar and vanilla bean seeds until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To serve, cut the cake in half and fill with half the cream and strawberries. Spoon the remaining cream and strawberries over the top and dust with icing sugar.
Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.
Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.