August 16, 2009

Shortcake: biscuit or cake?

Growing up, my memories of summer revolve around my dad picking bucketfuls of strawberries from our garden and my mom hulling, chopping, freezing and making them into jam. Throughout the year we would defrost bags of strawberries for strawberry shortcake. My mom would bake a soft sponge cake, and after (not so patiently) waiting for the strawberries to defrost, we would pour them on, and top with a mountain of whipped cream. The strawberry juice would soak into the cake and make a delicious mess.
When I heard of strawberry shortcake with a biscuit, I was confused. Who would want a dense, floury biscuit with sweet strawberries? And after all, it is called strawberry short
cake. I shunned it.
After much debate between my biscuit-loving friend and I, we decided to settle it with a bake-off!

So. Three girls rooting for strawberry shortbisquit, and me for strawberry shortcake. I was convinced I could get them to switch teams with my obviously superior recipe, and they were convinced that mine was the obvious loser. Three against one, right?
We baked, we ate. I admit I was pleasantly surprised with the shortbisquit; I was expecting a dinner biscuit and not the lighter, sweeter thing that it was.
The verdict: Both are delicious and too different to compare. However, we stood by our original favorites.
At least I broadened my strawberry shortcake horizons and had fun in the process, right?

And now I share with you my recipe, taken from McCall's Cookbook, given to my mom in 1964 by her mother.

Hot-Milk Spongecake
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 teas. baking powder
1/4 teas. salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teas. vanilla extract

Heat milk in a saucepan until bubbles form around the edge of pan. Remove from heat. Preheat oven to 325F .
Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored (this will take a few minutes). Gradually add sugar, beating until smooth and well-blended, about 5 minutes. Mix in flour until just combined and smooth. Add warm milk and vanilla, beating just until combined.
Pour into a 9 x 9 inch pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Top with strawberries and whipped cream!


jessica said...

i would like to request some of the recipes from that OTHER cookbook...teehee. :]

Beth said...

Laura's? Yes, I would have posted the recipe if I had it.

lala said...

yes, you did shun it.
but ive now shared my delightful strawberry shortbiscuit

i can give you the recipe if you can still edit your post?

Beth said...

Yes, that would be good.