Strawberry shortcake is elegant, unpretentious, and simple. Yet so often it goes unbearably awry. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this thing that often lives near the strawberry display in the supermarket. It’s a little bowl-shaped golden cake, encased in plastic packaging, that bills itself as the shortcake component of the dessert, and sometimes makes the claim that it’s ready for reddi-wip, or some such other nonsense.
This is not a shortcake. This is an angel food cake — generously speaking. Or less generously — in Sarah’s words — it is a Twinky without the filling. Shortcake has a technical definition, and what it is is a biscuit. That simple. Sometimes it’s a biscuit of the same sort that you’d serve with fried chicken. Or sometimes it’s sweetened slightly — which it is in this recipe, here.
For the sake of full disclosure, you need to know that this recipe for sour cherry upside down cake is recycled with only a little modification from last year’s model: a peach cake in the same style. In the previous edition, I claimed that the point of the recipe was to rehabilitate the upside down cake genre, which has been saddled with all manner of unfortunate business like canned pineapple rings, cheapy maraschino cherries, and an aesthetic that screams at the top of its little pastry lungs: I’ve just come from the 1950s, and I’m here to help!
In that post, I said that this cake calls for two key modifications that make it a delight, rather than a chore, to eat: 1) I use real fruit and only real fruit in this recipe, eschewing the canned stuff in favor of whatever is local and in season; and 2) I’ve turned this into a yogurt-based cake, which leads to a texture that is moist but not soggy, and that adds just the tiny bit of creamy tang you need to complement the acidity of the fruit.
A Dolley Madison cake, I told my friend Linda. That’s what I want to make you for your birthday. That’s what it’s called? That’s what I call it. It’s a historical recipe — supposedly her favorite when she was First Lady. It’s a sponge. With caramel icing. No chocolate, then? Linda sounded disappointed. Then: But […]
Welcome to self-congratulation-ville, population — me. That’s right, friends. This post marks number one hundred for Twice Cooked. And it marks just about (though not quite) one year of blogging about food, politics, and whatever else it is you find on this sight. So — celebratory pigs! I’d like to thank you all (dear readers!) […]
This cake is easy. You probably don’t believe me because there’s a tiny voice in your head sputtering: False! Cakes are difficult! It’s in their nature! But if you hear that voice (dear readers!), feel free shout it down. Because I do not lie. This cake is easy. This cake is, in fact, just three […]