I have a confession: before starting Chew Town two years ago I never used to bake.
Given how often sweet recipes appear on Chew Town these days, the above confession may be a little surprising. Before starting the blog I was afraid of being creative with baking given how precise the recipes need to be to work. I have come to realise that with a great idea, a little confidence and a bit of baking research, developing baking recipes becomes easier and easier every time.
I am really enjoying creating my own versions of great classic cakes like carrot and pecan cake and banana and walnut bread, and even trying gluten free versions thanks to a colleague’s allergy to wheat.
I made these cute as a button strawberry and cream shortcakes to take to my sister’s place last weekend for afternoon tea. Baking the cake in a slice pan means it can be cut into shapes with large cookie cutters and layered with cream and strawberries for perfect individual treats.
These strawberry shortcakes went down brilliantly with my sister and her family. My sister’s will power with food is much stronger than mine but even she couldn’t stop at just one of these light, fragrant and creamy cakes!
Preheat oven to 180° Celsius.
Beat butter, caster sugar and vanilla paste in the bowl of an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add the eggs individually, beating well after each addition.Add the flour and milk alternately a third at a time, starting and ending with flour. Stir in lightly to combine.
Grease a non-stick slice pan. Add the mixture to the pan, transfer to the oven and bake for 12 minutes (until top is golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Once cool, using a square (or round) cookie cutter, cut as many shapes from the cake as possible (I managed to cut 14 squares from my pan).
Whisk the cream until stiff firm peaks form. From here you can either transfer the cream to a piping bag with a large open star nozzle or opt for a more rustic look by spooning the cream onto the cakes.
Take a square of cake and pipe (or spoon) cream on top. Slice a strawberry and place it on top of the cream then add another cake square on top with more cream and another strawberry.
Repeat with remaining cake, cream and strawberries.