Simple Strawberry Shortcake

It’s summer! I love summer and more importantly I love summer fruit! Strawberries are my absolute favorite fruit of all time hand’s down, no question about it. They are one of the most universal dessert fruits really. There isn’t much you can’t do with a strawberry. They’re good on their own, with any kind of cake, topping or dipping sauce. God, how can one fruit be so bloody amazing?

I really love strawberry shortcake by the way. There is something perfect about the combination of strawberries, vanilla cake and whipped cream that is just so perfect. I usually order it for dessert at a restaurant unless I’m craving chocolate cake. I just impulsively decided that I really wanted a strawberry shortcake. I looked through my recipes and discovered I had saved a bunch of recipes but I really just decided I wanted to create my own cake. Really, its that I was lazy and didn’t want to bake an entire cake from scratch and boxed cake was the way to go.

When I got to the grocery store I was faced with a few decisions to make, namely what kind of cake mix to buy. I knew yellow cake wasn’t going to work with the recipe because it had too distinct of a flavor. So that left me with either French vanilla or white cake. I couldn’t make a decision so I bought both and figured I’d decide when I got home. French vanilla won mainly because white cake requires egg whites and again, I was lazy. I also like the subtle taste of vanilla in my cake so I think that also influenced my decision.

Box cake mix is really where the simple part of where this cake comes from. I also had one other shortcut, whipped topping. I find its a better binder in the center of the cake than homemade whipped cream. But the homemade whipped cream is perfect for frosting the outside of the cake. As far as the strawberries are concerned, you could just slice them and fill the cake but they are so much better if you macerate them. Macerate means to soften or break up. It just really enhances the strawberry flavor and if you use strawberries that are close to but not entirely ripe, macerating them will really bring out the strawberry flavor.

The cake was truly a success! The boyfriend ate two large slices of the first night and actually devoured most of the cake. Usually I don’t bake cakes because he never eats them but now I know he’ll be all over this one!

strawberry shortcake1

Here is step one in cake construction. One layer of cake, whipped topping and the macerated strawberries.

strawberry shortcake2Here is step two! Second cake on top!

Simple Strawberry Shortcake
1 box french vanilla cake mix
1 pint strawberries
1 8oz. container whipped topping
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar

Bake cake in two 9 inch round cake pans according to box directions. Let cool completely

Cut one pint strawberries into slices. If you have larger berries, cut the slices into halves. Mix with 1 tbsp. sugar. Place container into refrigerator to macerate. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, up to 30.

Remove cakes from pans. Place thicker cake on plate, slice off a thin top layer with a serrated knife to create an even surface for whipped topping. Spread half of whipped topping over cake. Cover with macerated berries. Cover with whipped topping. Its okay if you have some left over. Place other cake on top and refrigerate.

Mix cold cream and 1/4 cup sugar in a metal bowl. Whip until stiff peaks are formed. Cover entire cake using offset spatula.

Place strawberry on top of the center of the cake to decorate. Refrigerate before serving or serve immediately.

strawberry shortcake full

Finished product!

strawberry shortcake slice

First slice!

Apple Crisp

Contrary to the recipes I have been posting on here as of recent, dessert is actually my favorite part of a meal. I absolutely love it and if I go out to dinner I’ve been known to not eat part of my entree to make sure that I have room for dessert. Its sooooo good!! I love anything sweet; hot, cold, lukewarm, I don’t care as long as its delicious. I have been more into making my own desserts at home lately due to the monotony of your average grocery store snacks like ice cream, tasty cakes or cookies. There is something satisfying about eating a dessert you’ve made yourself. I think its because of the fact that baking is so scientific. If you screw one little thing up you can totally throw off your whole recipe. (I did that once this week with a botched but still delicious chocolate pudding pie. I’ll tell you the whole story once I fix the bugs and post the recipe)

As I scoured the dozens of dessert recipes I have bookmarked on my computer, there were so many that piqued my interest. I’d click on the link and examine the recipe. Today when I decided I wanted to bake something, I wanted to do it with as many ingredients in my possession currently as possible. The boy, the pup and I are heading out on a three week long sojourn to see our families at the end of the month and I don’t want to buy a ton of groceries or have a bunch of leftovers to try and eat before we leave. Some I ruled out due to the lack of ingredients in my person, some just seemed more tedious than I really wanted and then some were just too delicious to waste on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I also decided that for some reason recipes with fruit just seemed more appealing to me right now. I think I just eat more fruit in the summer. That being said I need some more summer fruit dessert recipes.

As we enter month three of my “funemployment” I have found that being at home all day has caused me to pack on some extra pounds in my tummy area. Anything with an elastic waistband has become my best friend. I really wish this weight went to my boobs or something but alas. So I also wanted to find something that wasn’t going to be overly rich. I think fruit desserts are good for that. I always love desserts with apples in them, even though I know apple desserts are often considered a fall thing. I don’t really think about things like that. If a fruit is available at any given time of the year I will eat it! That being said, I love Granny Smith apples. I just love tart stuff. When I’m baking with apples though I do like to mix the kinds I use just to vary the taste. So I settled on an apple crisp (the other options were either some sort of apple cake which would never get finished in this house or a crumb cake but again, cakes just don’t work in a house with two people). I know when you think of apple crisp you think of chilly weather and multicolored leaves but I’m a rebel 😉

So, I found the recipe here and I was happy I had mostly all of the ingredients in my cupboards. All I really needed to buy was flour (I ran out the last time I made cookies) and of course the apples. No one in this house eats oatmeal (yuck) but I had a couple packets of instant oatmeal from the last attempt I made at eating it because my dad told me it was better for you than cereal. FYI: two packets of instant oatmeal is exactly 3/4 cup! What’s better was that it was apple cinnamon flavored. This crisp was meant to happen, let me tell ya! Since the recipe is non specific on things like brown sugar and butter type I used what was already open. That being said, I used light brown sugar and unsalted butter. I left the butter cold and cut it into cubes because it mixes better with the topping that way. I learned that from the hours I’ve spent watching my favorite tv chef Ina Garten make crisps. For the apples I used Granny Smith, Fuji and Red Delicious. When I went to the grocery store they had mostly what they call “lunchbox size” apples so I got the Fuji and Red Delicious in that size. I got regular size Granny Smith because that’s all they had. If you have to do the same thing, I got 2 Fuji, 2 Red Delicious and 2 Granny Smith just to be safe. I ended up using the 2 Fuji but only 1 each of the Red Delicious and Granny Smith.

The recipe also says that you can either slice or dice the apples. I thinly sliced them one because I like big pieces of apple in my dessert and also because I was preparing the crisp while I was making my dinner so it was actually just faster. You need to core the apples but don’t worry about peeling them. No need to make more work for yourself. Also, the crisp topping in the original recipe is very basic which is fine but I like to spice things up a little which in this case meant adding some spices to make the flavors more in depth. This time I added them as an afterthought so I just mixed them in with the topping but for all intensive purposes, I’m telling you to mix the cinnamon with the white sugar and flour that you toss the apples in and add the cloves in with the crisp topping. Also, I want to start incorporating more photos in my posts so I took pictures of the crisp in its various stages of final product. I would never post pictures of the cooking process because I don’t want you all seeing pictures of my dirty kitchen! And here’s your recipe!

Apple Crisp

4 cups sliced or diced apples
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter diced
3/4 cup oatmeal
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss apples with flour, regular sugar and cinnamon. Place well coated apple mixture in a well greased 8×8 baking pan.

In another medium bowl combine additional ingredients and sprinkle over apple mixture.

Bake 30 minutes. Serve warm. Place leftover crisp in the fridge.

apple crisp full
full apple crisp

apple crisp plate

plain on a plate

apple crisp ic

topped with some vanilla ice cream

apple crisp caramel

all done up with some caramel drizzle!