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Farm Fresh: Shortcake makes most of fresh berries

Thursday, July 10, 2003

By Marlene Parrish, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Looks like a very berry-filled summer ahead. We've already printed recipes for biscuit-style shortcake and cake-mix cake. Both of them, while mighty good, tie for a low second place at our house.

We prefer to ladle our fresh berries onto a simple one-layer, homemade butter cake. We especially love the way this tender cake sops up the berry juices and milk or cream. The recipe is forgiving, and if the ingredients are at room temperature, the cake goes together as fast as a mix. Best of all, it's the perfect size for a two-person household. When it's just the two of us, I don't bother to turn the cake out of the pan.

Berry Butter Shortcake

  • 1/3 cup sugar, preferably superfine
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Sugared berries or peaches
  • Ice cream, milk or cream

Spritz an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick baking spray; set aside. Toss the berries or peaches with a little sugar and let stand for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With a hand-held electric mixer at medium-high speed, cream the sugar with the butter until light, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and continue to mix for about 2 minutes.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the vanilla to the milk.

Lower the mixer speed and add dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Do not overmix. With a spatula, gently spread the batter in the pan.

Bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Invert onto a cake plate. When ready to serve, top with berries and their juices and ice cream, milk or cream.

Makes about 6 wedges.

Marlene Parrish can be reached at mparrish@post-gazette.com or 412-481-1620.

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