Thirty, Gratitude, and Strawberry Shortcakefeatured

fort mason park

Hi friends, today I turned the big 3-0 :)

Birthdays usually inspire a bit of self reflection, and I’ve found that especially so on this milestone one.

I’ve learned a few things in these past 29 years. I’ve learned about food and the joys it can bring to people. I’ve learned a simple smile can go a long way. I’ve learned that there is no place in my life for non-fat cheese and crappy chocolate. More than anything though, I have learned how lucky I am.

I am so grateful for the incredible people in my life. I’m grateful for a supportive family and parents who gave me every opportunity to succeed.

I’m grateful for loyal friends who would do anything for me, who have my back, and tell it like it is.

I’m grateful for my health, and all the adventures, fun, and hard work it has allowed me.

I’m grateful for you. Thank you for visiting and indulging me.

And I am especially grateful for being lucky enough to have met the love of my life. Hua, what can I say…you keep thing interesting :). You believe in me, you push me to believe in myself, and you are so good to me.

nob hill spa

Birthday Bliss: Spa Day!

Case in point, I am writing this poolside at the spa right now…Thanks to you, I am starting off this new decade of my life relaxed, beautified, and aromatherapy rose-scented. The future is looking good.

So, 20s, I bid thee farewell. We’ve shared a lot of good times, great times even, but it’s time to look ahead. 30s, watch out. I’m coming for ya.

And with that, I leave you with some other things I’m grateful for: butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and cream.

This is a loose recipe for Strawberry Shortcake. Loose in the sense that you can easily tweak it to your tastes. I made this with four layers of pound cake, whipped cream, strawberry jam, and fresh strawberries, but you could also make it with your favorite vanilla cake, angel food cake, even meringue layers. Do what makes you happy (another good life lesson I’ve picked up along the way).

Sorry for the lack of cake porn. Sometimes, it’s just necessary to bake a cake without picking up the camera. #FoodBloggerRealTalk. I promise you though, this Strawberry Shortcake is as beautiful and impressive as it is delicious. Enjoy!

*****

Strawberry Shortcake
This impressive cake towers with layers of pound cake, whipped cream, strawberry jam, and fresh strawberries. It’s awesome. The jam really bumps up the strawberry flavor and makes this a messy, delicious treat.

Yield: a large 4-tiered cake; 10-12 servings

Ingredients
1 pound cake recipe to be divided into 4 round cake pans
1 cup strawberry jam
1 pint fresh strawberries
2 pints heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered sugar to taste

Preparation

FOR THE CAKE:

I used this pound cake recipe for the cake layers but substituted fresh lemon juice instead of lemon flavoring, and vanilla extract instead of butter flavoring.

Tips:

  • To make the cake layers, I used 4 cake pans and divided the batter. It came out to a lot…you could easily halve the recipe and end up with just 2 layers. 4 layers will give you that nice height though.
  • Use parchment paper to line the cake pans! I was lazy and didn’t, and had problems with the cake sticking to the pan (even after I sprayed it with non-stick spray).
  • The amount of butter and sugar is a little daunting…You could probably cut down the sugar if you wanted to. It’s pretty sweet. Or, substitute with your favorite vanilla cake recipe, angel food cake, or even meringue layers (then it becomes a lovely pavlova).

FOR THE FILLING:

  • Strawberry Jam: I cooked down a batch of strawberries I had frozen when they were in peak season. I simmered them with sugar, vanilla bean, and a bit of lemon juice until the mixture turned jammy (or just buy strawberry preserves).
  • Fresh Strawberries: Hulled and sliced.
  • Whipped Cream: In a dry bowl, whip 2 pints of heavy cream until soft peaks form. Mix in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and powdered sugar to taste.

ASSEMBLE:

  1. Place a layer of cake on your serving plate.
  2. Spread an even layer of whipped cream on top. Add a few spoonfuls of jam and swirl it around evenly.
  3. Add second layer of cake.
  4. Spread an even layer of whipped cream on top. Add a layer of fresh strawberries.
  5. Add third layer of cake.
  6. Spread an even layer of whipped cream on top. Add a few spoonfuls of jam and swirl it around evenly.
  7. Add fourth layer of cake.
  8. Spread an even layer of whipped cream and top with jam and fresh strawberries to decorate. You could also cover the sides of the cake with whipped cream, or leave it exposed to see the layers. Up to you! (And, depend how much whipped cream you have left.) Enjoy!

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