Spring has decided to be fashionably late this year in Vancouver. It’s May and it’s still very cool and wet. I could go on and on about it, but really, we are not facing radical weather like some parts of the world have lately, so really, I should be glad that all we have are soggy feet.
<Incidentally as I am writing this we are having a hail storm unlike any I have ever seen! I’m so glad we held off planting our tomato plants last night — they would have been crushed!>
Strawberries are just starting to arrive closer to our doorsteps here. (Less from Mexico, more from California or hot house ones from BC) and before we know it the local ones will be all you can find in the market. We have plans on having a huge strawberry patch this summer so, fingers crossed, we will only have to go down the back steps to savour their sweet crimson sweetness. Until then, store bought will have to do, because strawberry shortcake, like pea shoots or asparagus just tastes like spring.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ll tell you right now: I’m completely nuts for lemon. Sweet or savoury, I think lemon is my favourite flavour. I particularly like it with fruit and berries – strawberries included. For this shortcake, I made little lemon cupcakes and topped them with cream and strawberries macerated in just a bit of sugar and lemon juice. Despite the richness of the cream, they were almost refreshing, and almost springlike enough to make us believe that warmer weather was on the way.
For the cake —
preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2- 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 Cup of butter, room temperature
1 cup of sugar
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 of a cup of milk
3/4 cup sour cream
Combine the dry ingredients, stirring well to combine. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together with electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each one before adding the next one. Add the zest and lemon juice. Beat until pale in colour and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the milk and sour cream slowly to the butter mixture with the mixer running
Add the dry ingredients, one half at a time. Mix until fully combined.
Scoop the batter into greased regular sized muffin tins, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before releasing the cakes and cooling them on a wire rack. Makes 18 cupcakes.
(remaining cupcakes, when cool, can be frozen in zip top bags
For the Strawberries — enough for 6 desserts )
Hull and slice 1 lb of berries and toss them with the juice of a lemon and 2 tablespoons of icing sugar. Allow to sit, stirring occasionally for 30 mins. before spooning over cooled cakes.
For the cream —
Beat 1 cup of whipping cream until soft peaks form. Quickly incorporate a dash of vanilla.