It's April, the beginning of really sweet strawberry time in markets and CSA boxes around here. I've been waiting for the season to roll back around so we could make these. STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES! The donut pan is wonderful for strawberry shortcakes as it creates a perfect little cake-y bowl to hold the cream and strawberries. I adapted this recipe from the seriously gorgeous and delicious Smitten Kitchen, but I think you could use any biscuit-type shortcake recipe you'd like.
These are lovely to look at! They can be eaten with a fork, or lifted up and eaten from your hand if put together neatly, like a good donut should. Click on "read more" down below to get the whole scoop!
This recipe yields six shortcakes. For the cakes you will need 1 2/3 c. flour, 3 1/2 tbsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 2 hard boiled egg yolks (wow, I've never done this before!), 1/8 tsp. salt, 6 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, 2 tsp. orange zest, 2/3 c. plus 1 tbsp. heavy whipping cream, and a little extra cream and sugar for the tops of the cakes. Additionally, you will need 1/2 lb. fresh strawberries, 2 tbsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. lemon juice and 1 c. whipping cream.
You will also need one donut pan, baking spray for the pan, a pastry bag with no tip, and A LOT of muscle!
I sadly have never owned a food processor, so I miss out on some recipes unless I work really hard with a knife. If you own one, you can process the dough in your food processor. If you don't, my stand mixer worked just fine, so you could do that instead.
Start by preheating your oven to 350º. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. Crumble the two egg yolks as finely as you can into the bowl and whisk again, using a chopping motion where necessary to break down the bits of yolk as much as you can.
Cut the 6 tbsp. butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture along with the orange zest. Drape a kitchen towel over the top of your stand mixer (to prevent flour from flying everywhere) and put it on a fast setting to break the mixture down into a crumble.
Reduce your mixer speed to medium low and pour in the 2/3 c. plus 1 tbsp. heavy cream. This is a little more than the original recipe called for, but it helped to loosen the dough for piping. Mix until the dough comes together.
Spray your donut pan with baking spray. Fill a pastry bag with no attachments or tips about 1/3-1/2 way full with the dough, leaving plenty of room for your hand. You need good footing and some strength to pipe that dough! Twisting the end of the bag closed, firmly pipe the dough into the prepared pan. Go around twice for each cake. This dough bakes up too crumbly to be thin, it would just fall apart, and you want a nice hole in the middle to fill with strawberries and whipped cream!
Before you put the pans in the oven, brush the cakes lightly with heavy cream and sprinkle generously with sugar. I chose not to refrigerate these, because I wanted them to settle into the pans as much as they could while baking. Bake until the tops are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
While the shortcakes are baking, wash, hull and quarter the strawberries. Mix with the 2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tbsp. lemon juice and let macerate.
When the shortcakes are ready, they will look like this. The center will have closed in at the top. But that's okay.
Because the bottoms are perfect little bowls! Let the cakes cool almost all the way home in the pan, then carefully pick them out of the pans using a butter knife and place as shown on a cooling rack (so the side that will be exposed when served doesn't get lines imprinted on it).
Finally you're ready to start construction. Have fun with it! I started with whipped cream, then piled on strawberries (and some juice from the bowl) and more whipped cream and then more strawberries, but you can put them together however you want. I also made a big stack of it for us all to dig into after dinner.
These are best served without any refrigeration, and immediately after the whipped cream and strawberries are piled on top. They will last for a while but eventually the cake will start to break down if it gets saturated. I tried to stop eating the first one I put together BUT I COULD NOT. These are a keeper!