Strawberry Shortcake Forever

By on April 27, 2010

For the past week, I’ve had one thing on my mind. Okay, well that’s not entirely accurate, I’ve had way more on my mind than just one thing, but this one thing just hasn’t gone away. What is it you ask? Last week I wrote about foods I now love that I never had a chance to eat as a kid because my parents never ate or prepared said items. So that got me thinking about the recipes that come with your family. Or more to the point, “family recipes”. Family recipes have so much to do with what kind of environment your family grew up in. And above all else, what part of the world they came from. My mother grew up in Wisconsin and Illinois. The culinary geography in that part of the country is largely made up of Polish, Swedish, and Norwegian influence. My childhood memories include Swedish pancakes, pickled herring, sharp cheddar and beef stroganoff. Oh how I love Swedish pancakes, so so good. I want one now. Or two. Or three. But it’s one recipe in particular has been on my mind this week, my mother’s version of strawberry shortcake. When first made for guests in Oklahoma, the suspicious “southerners” raised their eyebrows in question, knowing that this was not anything like the spongy, yellow strawberry shortcake available at the local grocery store, complete with the bowl-like crater to hold strawberries in place. Stay classy, Oklahoma. Those shortcake bowls are nothing more than a Twinkie without the filling. Add yourself some Cool Whip and you have the Okie version of strawberry shortcake. Yee Haw!

In the weekly New York Times Magazine (available in the Sunday edition), there is a regular section called “Eat, Memory“. Some people like the Book Review, some like to read about weddings and engagements. Me? I just want my food stories. So every now and then I have my own “eat memory“. And this week it is that delicious shortcake. It‘s funny how one bite of the admittedly-bland cake can transport me back to my younger days. It’s been a good eight years or so since the last time I ate this dessert, yet so many memories come with each bite. My family (parents, brother, me) ate dinner at the table every night for almost sixteen years. I can’t tell you how many times I can recall that aluminum pan filled with shortbread. I remember the way it never stuck the pan, NEVER, and the way the strawberry juice seeped in, making the cake soggy and sweet. I can remember eating this dessert in the summer and running to the backyard to go swimming after dinner. And no, I didn’t wait 30 minutes.

Most of all I can remember my mother making this family recipe, and me knowing no other shortcake than this one. Mother’s Day is just about two weeks away and while it’s a bit early to be writing about it, this article is an homage to that special strawberry shortcake-making lady I call “Mom“. Thanks for making dinner every night (a rarity now for sure) and also for never feeding me anything from a box. I love you. The strawberry shortcake already knows how I feel.

Strawberry Shortcake, the northern way…

1 Cup AP Flour

¼ Cup Sugar

3 Tsp. Baking Powder

¼ Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Vanilla


1 heaping Tsp. Shortening

Mix all dry ingredients together, stir in enough milk to make runny. Vague, I know but it has to be runny and not thick. Stir in shortening. Pour in an 8inch cake pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with strawberries and cream

About Molly &

Molly is co-owner of Antoinette Baking Co. a locally-based company specializing in macarons, delectable cakes, madeleines and many other tasty treats. She is currently at work on a project which consists of creating and perfecting 52 macarons, one per week over the course of a year. The progress of this “52 Macarons” project is chronicled on her blog,”The Velvet Macaron”. Her goal, if not yet attained, is to become the “Macaron Queen” of Tulsa (if not the world). When not baking or blogging, Molly designs and sells aprons at Dwelling Space and Sage Culinary Studio. Some have suggested that Molly may have an unhealthy cake stand addiction.

About Molly Martin