With summer coming quicker than we’re probably all ready for (especially here in Phoenix), its about time to think about a fresher, cooler dessert to share. When it’s over 100 degrees outside, serving something heavy and hot is just not ideal. I love the idea of strawberry shortcake, but I wanted to add my own little twist to it.
Being a newbie to the #SFsmarties, I headed out to Smart & Final with the intent of trying out their new line of First Street brand products and getting to know the store. When I spotted the cake mix, I was impressed with the packaging. It’s a 5lb. resealable bag of cake mix, so you can choose to make as little as 12 cupcakes or as much as an entire sheet cake. I love the versatility. I chose the white option, but I also could’ve chose chocolate or yellow as well. I also picked up some whipped cream that we’ll use later while I was there.
I started making my Mini Strawberry Shortcakes by following the directions on the back of the cake mix. Because I chose the white mix, the recipe called for egg whites instead of whole eggs. I used egg whites from a carton because I had them on hand, but you could easily use regular egg whites instead. In fact, that’s what I’ll do next time. I like to start by adding all of my wet ingredients together first when using a mix; I just think it helps everything mix together better. I could be wrong, but it’s just my opinion. Once everything was mixed well, I separated the batter into two 9 inch round pans.
Now bake according to the directions. I always bake any recipe for the lowest required amount of time. I find that things always end up more moist this way. Another hint: try not to tip your pans as you put them in the oven. It can cause your cakes to rise unevenly.
As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, run a butter knife around the edges of the pans to release the cake. Let your cakes cool between 20-25 minutes until you can touch them without pot holders or getting burned.
Now comes the fun part: trying to get your cake cleanly out of the pans. I’ve attempted this many times so I’d like to think that I’ve gotten it nailed down to a pretty good science by now. I’m sure someone out there has a much easier solution, but this is just what works for me. I start by placing a solid, flat plate on top of the pan (avoid flimsy or paper plates).
Now carefully flip the plate/pan combo over and give the duo a slight shake until you feel the cake release completely from the pan.
Slowly lift the pan and voila! Nice, clean round cake still in one piece. Once I’ve got the cake out, I wrap the plate tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until I’m ready to decorate it.
And now comes the fun part: the stacking and the decorating! Because my cakes were baked in 9 inch rounds, I was able to use a 3 inch round cookie cutter to cut my mini cakes out. If you use the same sizes, you should be able to fit four circles on a single cake.
Take one of the 3 inch circles and smooth a thin layer of whipped cream on it. Now spread thin slices of strawberries on the whipped cream and then add another thin layer of whipped cream. Top off the filling of the cake with white chocolate chips. I know that the typical strawberry shortcake doesn’t call for any kind of chocolate, but I have a really hard time not adding some form of chocolate to a dessert. Chocolate never hurt anyone.
Finish the stacking of the cake by adding another 3 inch cake to the top.
Now comes the really fun part: heap lots and lots of whipped cream onto the top of your stacked cakes. Like, enough so that it starts to fall off the sides. Using a butter knife, start spreading the whipped cream off the top and down the sides of your cake. Spread the whipped cream around the outside edges of the cake, rotating your plate as you go. Wipe off excess whipped cream as you go. I just found its easier to have too much to start with rather than not enough.
Now you get to repeat the process three more times to finish your four cakes. Embellish the top of each cake with a few extra slices of strawberry.
Now enjoy! If you aren’t going to be serving these beauties right away, make sure to refrigerate them. It is a must! There is something that is just super unappealing about warm whipped cream and strawberries.
Look at all of that yummy goodness inside there. Yum!