Strawberry shortcake is a classic dessert perfect for a warm summer night. The fresh fruit pairs perfectly with the sweet whipped cream and crumbly shortcake. The combination of flavors is sure to bring back memories. This recipe is a simple and easy treat that can be made in just a few minutes.
Science of the Ingredients (Cakes) –
Flour: The proteins of the flour interact with the liquid in the recipe to create gluten. The gluten bonds together to create the structure of the cakes.
Baking Powder: Upon contact with moisture, the baking powder reacts and creates carbon dioxide bubbles which allow to cakes to rise.
Baking Soda: Similar to the baking power, upon activation, the baking soda also aides in the rising of the cakes. Although baking soda is commonly activated with an acidic ingredient, we do not have that here. Instead, in this recipe it is activated when the cakes are baked, allowing for a delayed rise.
Sugar: The sugar provides sweetness in the cakes. It also allows for the tan color because the process of the Maillard Browning Process.
Salt: Salt adds another dimension of flavor in the shortcake.
Heavy Cream: The heavy cream has many functions. It is used in conjunction with the flour to create the gluten structures that give the shortcake form. It is also the liquid that activated the baking powder. Aside from that, it also provides a richness and denseness which are usually a trademark of shortcakes.
Science of the Ingredients (Filling) –
Heavy Cream: In the second part of the recipe, pertaining to the whipped filling, the heavy cream serves as a base. When whipped, the cream becomes a fluffy substance that can hold it’s shape.
Sugar: Once again, the sugar is used here for sweetness. It is also used in a process called maceration, which is where it is used to draw moisture out of the strawberries. As the water is drawn out, the sugar dissolves into it, creating a sweet coating.
Vanilla Extract: This is used in moderation for flavor and sweetness.
Lemon Zest: The fresh zest adds a bright flavor to the filling.
An important part of the process is the mixing of the ingredients. Overmixing can cause the dough and final product to become tough. This happens because the gluten has been over worked and overdeveloped. You must stop when the ingredients are just combined.
The baking process is similar to the baking process of many other baked goods. As stated above, the baking powder and baking soda both work as leavening agents, allowing for the shortcakes to rise. The release bubbles of carbon dioxide that get trapped in the gluten structures created by the flour.
The modifications I will be making will pertain to the type of flour used. As someone with celiac, I am always looking for ways to make classic dishes like this gluten-free. I will be making a version of the dish with gluten free flour, and one with regular, and then comparing to two.