In the middle

I’ve already written twice about strawberry shortcake—there’s the fancy scone kind that deserves a cap of whipped cream, and there’s the barely sweet down-home drop biscuits that, when smothered in berries and drowned in milk, can stand for a meal’s main course.

The shortcake that I’m sharing today is somewhere in the middle. It has extra sweetness and fat, but gets baked up in a pan like cornbread or simple sheet cake.

When we eat this shortcake, I usually dub it “Course Two” because I serve it after a simple one-dish first course of something vegetable-y like say, a giant chef salad. It’s too sweet to stand by itself as dinner (except in special circumstances), but because I let the kids eat all they want, I don’t qualify it as a dessert either.

Sheet Shortcake
Adapted from my Aunt Valerie’s recipe

Feel free to sub in some whole grains, use yogurt or buttermilk in place of the milk, or dial back the sugar—whatever floats your boat.

5 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
lots of sugared strawberries, for serving
milk, for serving

Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients and then add the milk, mixing just until combined. Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 9 pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

For serving: place a square or two of cake in a bowl, add several spoonfuls of strawberries, and douse the whole mess with milk.

This same time, years previous: fresh tomatillo salsa, white chocolate and dried cherry scones, stirring the pot (thoughts on homeschooling), preserving cilantro


  • Margo

    this looks like Cottage Pudding from Mennonite Community, which is what I grew up eating for strawberry shortcake. Another good cake like this is Carla's Hot Milk Sponge in More with Less.

    I can buy creamline milk in glass jugs at my local market – it's not homogenized. I'm positive milk tastes better and milkier in glass instead of plastic.

  • Marie M.

    Your strawberries look divine. Do you grow or buy them? Heavy whipping cream. Strawberries (and don't forget blackberries) deserve heavy — not whipped — cream. Do you have some on your milk? Back in the 1950s when we got unhomogenized milk in glass bottles cream would rise to the top. In the summer we'd use it over blackberries we picked from a prolific bush by the side of the road. One of my happiest food memories. Ah, the good ol' days. "Sigh."

  • Kate

    We just choked down Bisquick pancakes for breakfast because there was nothing else in the house to eat. The box must have been at least two years old. They were terrible. This looks much better.

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