Stacked Berry Lemon Shortcake

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strawberry shortcake

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pring is a weird season in the state of Colorado. In fact, a few times I have even been convinced that this state is confused and doesn’t quite understand what spring is supposed to mean. For most places it means sunshine and warmth as snow melts with an occasional shower here or there as flowers begin to bloom. As I write this, that would be the picture perfect day to enjoy in Colorado: sunny and clear with a high of 65, a gorgeous and perfect day where everyone is spending it outside.

This was not the case the Friday before Easter however, and I have been warned that the weather will continue on with its sporadic nature. Twice now, since the official start of spring, the temperatures have dropped to a high of 40 degrees and snowfall. Like I said, I don’t quite understand it, but all the locals say this is nothing; in fact they say-this is spring!

Who wants snow in springtime though?! I know I sure don’t! I want sunshine and warmth, and luckily that is exactly what came about on Easter Sunday after a blizzard snow fell on Good Friday. It truly was a divine and heavenly sight.

IMG_4090To celebrate Easter this year, my roommates and I hosted a brunch and had about 30 guests over. It was quite a feast. We began prepping food on Saturday and spent most of Sunday morning after church finishing and getting the house ready. It made for the perfect day spent with friends and making good memories.

While I contributed a couple of dishes to the brunch, the true highlight would have to be the Stacked Berry Lemon Shortcake that I made. It was the perfect treat to top off an epic meal. I wanted something that wouldn’t be too sweet and that would incorporate the beautiful colors and flavors of the fresh berries I had picked up at the store. The recipe for the shortcake I used was perfect! It wasn’t too dense while also not being too light (like an angle food cake) but the just the right balance in between.

Below is the recipe I used for my Stacked Berry Lemon Shortcake.

Ingredients for the berries:

-2 cups blueberries

-4lbs fresh strawberries

½ cup granulated sugar

 

Ingredients for Cake:

½ Cup unsalted butter

1 cup whole milk (I used 2 %)

2 tsp vanilla extract (or you could try using a vanilla bean)

Grated zest of 2 lemons

4 large eggs

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

2 cups cake flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

 

Ingredients for Whipped Cream:

1 pint (or 2 cups) heavy cream

½ cup confectioner’s sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Directions for the berries:

1). At least 6 hours before serving the cake, prepare the berries. Determine the 8 best looking strawberries and place them aside. Hull and thinly slice the rest, placing them in a bowl with the blueberries. Mix with the sugar, cover and refrigerate up to overnight, stirring occasionally.

 

Directions for the Cake:

!)Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare two 8 inch aluminum cake pans. Cut out parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan, butter the sides of the pan. Place to the side.

 

2.) Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the milk and heat until it begins to bubble around the edges. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla (or contents of vanilla bean) and the lemon zest. Set aside.

 

3). Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together. Crack the eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl of eggs in a larger bowl of hot tap water; stirring occasionally with your finger until the eggs feel warm, about 1 minute.

 

4). Using the whisk attachment on high speed, beat the eggs and add sugar a few tablespoons at a time. Continue beating until the mixture is pale yellow and tripled in volume, about 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, gradually pour in the hot milk mixture alternately with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Using a spatula, fold the batter a few times; scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure the batter is thoroughly incorporated. This will be a thin batter, so don’t be surprised.

 

5). Pour batter evenly between the two pans and bake until the cakes are golden brown and spring back when gently pressed in the center. Should bake for about 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan for about 20 minutes, using a knife run it around the edge of the cake pan to help loosen the cake, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

 

To Make the Whipped Cream:

1). Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla together in the mixer on high until stiff peaks begin to form.

 

To Assemble Cake:

1). Cut each cake in half lengthwise.

2). Place a quarter of the whipped cream on top of the first cake layer and top with a hearty serving of the berries. When putting the berries on the cake, make sure to drain off as much juice as possible. Top with another cake layer and repeat with the rest of the cake.

3) For the top, smooth on the rest of the whipped cream and then place the 8 strawberries you put on hold in a decorative fashion.

4). Dig in and enjoy!!

 

This cake truly is beautiful and a masterpiece. The lemon zest in the cake adds just a hint of tart to compliment the sweetness of the berries!

 

It might look a little daunting to make by the multiple layers but I promise you it really is pretty simple to make and assemble. Whether or not you are hosting a springtime brunch, I hope you take the opportunity to make this cake and taste how delicious it is!

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