Not His Mama's Shortcake

Not His Mama's Shortcake | sarahesh.com
He is going to be so excited, I thought to myself, as I lifted the shortcake biscuits from the cookie sheets, placing them onto a serving platter. Local strawberries were finally available, and it seemed as though shortcake was all Herm ever talked about. And while baking certainly wasn't how I preferred to spend my precious day off from work, I knew the look of pure delight on the face of my beloved as he took his first bite of shortcake, topped with crushed berries and whipped cream, would make the sacrifice of my time completely worth it in the end.
I dutifully served supper, although I no longer remember what I had made, then brought the tasty surprise out to the deck. What is this? He asked me, unsure. Babe, don't be silly, I retorted, it's only what you talk about every waking minute. He still looked quite confused, leaving me confused as well. It's shortcake Babe. You know, you eat it with strawberries and whipped cream. I love shortcake, and this isn't shortcake, he replied, this looks like biscuits. 
I quickly grew defensive, yanking the box of Bisquick from the trashcan - giving away the secret, these were not made from scratch, leaving me as a failure of a Mennonite woman - as I hastily found the recipe on the back titled "Old-fashion Shortcake".  See, I pointed, see, right here, it's SHORTCAKE!
Maybe so, but it's not my mom's shortcake.  
Another summer came and went, and I did not attempt shortcake again, his mom's or mine.  But last week we were invited to my parents for a dinner of salmon and roasted asparagus, and I was providing dessert. I had several boxes of fresh strawberries from Pennsylvania and all of the ingredients on hand for shortcake, so I thought it was probably time to brave the waters again, and attempt his mom's shortcake.
However, instead of calling Herm's mom for the recipe, I consulted my ever faithful cookbook, Pinterest. I began typing Amish Shortcake Recipe, thinking that help narrow down the results. The first recipe to appear looked promising, it was baked in a square baking dish, certainly not the biscuits I had made two summers ago. This is it, I thought.
After I had made the cake, I took a picture of it and sent it to Herm. He never replied to the text, but when he arrived home he said no, it didn't look like his mom's, but he would still give it a try.
We enjoyed the meal thoroughly, as we always do when my mom is cooking. And on the ride home that night the words Herm said to me were worth recording, never to be forgotten. He said, Babe, I think maybe that should be your shortcake recipe. My mom can have hers, and you can have yours, they're both so good.
(Don't tell anyone, but I've made this recipe three times in one week. First for my family, then to serve when two friends came over for coffee and dessert out on our deck, and finally to go with a meal I made for our weekend guests. And I'm pretty certain it'll be made almost weekly throughout strawberry season.)
This, my friends, it the recipe:

Sarah's Strawberry Shortcake


For the Shortcake:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
For the Streusel:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened


1. Make crumbs with the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and butter. Add the milk and egg to the crumbs, mixing well until just combined. Spread the mixture into a buttered 8x8 cake pan. Set aside.
2. Make the topping by mixing the sugar, flour and butter. This mixture will be crumbly. Spread over batter in cake pan. Bake the cake at 350 for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
3. Serve warm with fresh strawberries and whipped cream or milk.


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