This was a tradition was I was growing up – a non-traditional style strawberry shortcake! My mother and her mother made it using the cake recipe they used for my father’s favorite Passover sponge cake (he could eat a whole one in a day or two). The cake would ‘hang’ on a glass, Del Monte ketchup bottle to stretch out (remember since it was Passover, no leavening except air could be used).
When it was completely cold, Mother would carefully cut it out from the sides of the tube pan, cut it away from the bottom (Dad grabbing and eating the crumbs as they fell), and cutting 3 or 4 slices horizontally into layers.
Meanwhile, while the cake cooled, we sliced strawberries, mashed and macerated more strawberries, and chilled a large, glass mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer and had whipping cream chilling in the refrigerator.
Finally, the big moment came! Mother and Grandma carefully set the first layer, cut side up on the pretty cake plate and spread some of the macerated strawberries on it. Out came the bowl and beater….out came the whipping cream, a bit of sugar and vanilla and before long, gobs of sweetened whipped cream was being spread around the on top of the first layer of strawberries; then came the next layer of cake and so on until the final layer of cake was on top.The last layer of the cake went on top, flat side up and the final layer of whipped cream frosted the top.
Sliced strawberries went on top of the cream and there stood the Masterpiece – the Annual Mother’s Day Strawberry Shortcake!
The best part for me was eating the left over whipped cream on the beaters …. I can still taste it now…..
Sponge Cake (for Mother’s Day Strawberry Shortcake)
- 9 eggs, separated
- 1/4 c cold water
- 1-3/4 c sugar
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 c potato starch or potato flour
- 1/4 c matzo cake meal (NOT matzo meal)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350
Beat yolks until thick and lemon colored; add water, then sugar, then lemon juice and blend. Fold in potato starch and cake meal.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form adding salt when egg whites begin to foam. Gently fold egg whites into egg mixture until no white appears.
Pour batter into tube pan and smooth top. You can also use a spring form or large flat pan (if you don’t want a high cake). Do not grease or spray the pan or the cake won’t rise as it should. (Sponge, chiffon and angel food cakes use beaten egg white as their leavening agents.)
If using a tube pan, immediately after removing from the oven, turn cake over and let it “hang” from the neck of a long neck bottle (beer, soda, etc.) until cake is completely cold. Remove from bottle. Then, using a long, thin, serrated knife, slide knife down edge of the pan to the bottom and using a sawing motion, cut cake away from side of the pan. Repeat at the center tube. Lift the cake out by the center tube. Then slip the knife under the cake and carefully cut around the cake along the base to the center tube. Place your serving plate serving side down on the center tube and with your hand on the bottom plate, invert the cake onto the plate, so the cake is flat side up.
For Strawberry shortcake, cut the cake into 3 or 4 layers; use macerated strawberries or fresh, sliced strawberries and a thin layer of whipped cream between each layer, and cover top layer with lightly sweetened whipped cream and more strawberries. Cover and chill.
Decorate and serve.