Recipe: Perfect Summer Strawberry Shortcake

Baking in the summer is hard for me. I don't have AC, so deciding to turn the oven on is a struggle. Add to that making frosting, which I actually really dislike doing in the first place, in a hot house and it's just never a magical experience. But we're pushing through today, because this cake is easy-peasy and comes together without much effort or cake decorating ability. And it's perfect to throw together for a summer bbq or just feed a lot of people. 

It's also perfect for eating for breakfast, which is something I always look for in desserts. This cake is totally breakfast acceptable.

What I do with this cake is make it the night before (when it's less hot in the house), let it cool on a rack, wrap it up overnight, and assemble in the morning in time for festivities. Need to make something red, white, and blue for a summer gathering? Throw some blueberries in this and DONE. This cake is a crowd pleaser.

Strawberry Shortcake

Yields 8-12 slices

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 9-inch round cake pans by coating in butter and a thin layer of flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to remove any lumps and combine ingredients. Mix in half of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, then mix in the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the other half of the dry ingredients, mixing just enough to combined. Scrape down the bowl.

Split the batter evenly between the two 9-inch cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then finish cooling on a cooling rack.

Whipped Cream

Yields enough for two-layer cake

2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 containers of strawberries 

Place your metal mixing bowl and wire attachment in your fridge 10 minutes before you begin whisking. Add heavy cream and sugar to the bowl of the mixer. Begin whisking on low, and then gradually increase the speed until medium-high until you have siff peaks (about 5-7 minutes).

To assemble the cake, place one cake on the center of a cake stand or large plate. Using a rubber spatula, spoon half the whipped cream into the center of the cake and spread towards the outside. Cutting as many strawberries as you need, slice them vertically and place in an even layer on the whipped cream. For presentation purposes, you want to them to be all the way to the edge of the cake so you can see them once you assemble the rest of the cake. Place the other cake on top, add the rest of the whipped cream, slice more strawberries to cover and then add whole strawberries, pressing them down slightly to get them to stay in place. Because this is a "naked" cake, you'll want to eat the same day as the exposed cake will dry out faster.

To get the more naked cake look, use your finger to press some powdered sugar into the sides of the cake. This helps hide imperfections and look a little more naked.

Vacations on Instagram

Somehow I went to New Orleans and barely took any photos. And then went to the mountains and took a good amount of photos, but mostly of water and videos of us laughing. But this summer has really been fabulous. Just really lovely and liberating. I feel good. I feel good about me. I feel good about the rest of this summer.

I've been really slacking in the blog department and I just talking about how I've been slacking and not really doing too much about it. The thing with this blog is, when I have a lot going on and am as busy as I've been at work, that doesn't leave a lot of time (or effort) left for blogging. But I love this blog and the things I get to create for it, so now that I'm getting settled into this new home and have a weekend home before my next vacation (!!!), hopefully I'll have some new content up soon.

If you would like to keep up with me in real time, you can follow me on everyone's favorite app, Instagram

It's Summer, I'm Excited

The last 2 months have been a lot of ups and downs. Major life changes kind of stuff, which is sometimes good and sometimes bad. I'm a lover of change, but I also understand that not all change is easy. But I'm pushing through because that's what we do around here. One day at a time.

But all this change has me really excited for summer. I'm moving again, have a mini vacation planned to New Orleans in a couple weeks, and a week vacation to OCMD in July. Throw in some weekends down the shore and many flea market trips and I'm a happy camper. Summer makes me feel alive and motivated. Things are just better in summer. I have a feeling this is going to be a good one.

Late-Summer Strawberry Lemonade Popsicle Recipe

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We are still clinging to summer around here and these Stawberry Lemonade Popsicles are the perfect treat for late summer afternoons. I know fall is right around the corner and soon we will all be thinking about fall layers and pumpkin everything, but these little treats bring me right back to July afternoons at the beach. This is a simple recipe, and only has a few ingriedents. Perfection.

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Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles

Yields 6 popsicles

  • 1 1/2c freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2c cold water
  • 1c sugar
  • 1 pint strawberries, cut into quarters

Add all ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth. Pour liquid through a fine mesh strainer and push through with a wooden spoon. To make the next step easier, strain liquid into a container with a spout, like a large measuring cup.

Pour liquid into popsicle molds, add sticks, and freeze overnight. Enjoy on a warm weekend afternoon or after a stressful day at work.

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These can be made with any kind or combination of berries. Or even with limes for a limeade pop. Or, if you were having a particularly stressful day, sub out the water for limoncello! Possibilities are endless.

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Here's to a last hooray before pumpkin takes over the Internet!

Vacation Highlights

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I think everyone has their places that feel like a second home. For me, it's the beach. I've spent my whole life traveling to the beach for vacation. Before my parent's purchased their spot, we rented a house for a week with family. Out of everything I remember from my childhood, memories from the beach are probably some of the strongest. 

As an adult, I've loved being able to share my love for the shore with Tim (who pretty much already loved the beach anyway, so it wasn't very hard to get him loving it again). We've even begun unintentionally creating our own little beach traditions that fit what we love to do (and eat!) This past week was a complete relaxation. We slept in a bit, relaxed on the beach, rode bikes, walked the boards, grilled, and had two campfires complete with s'mores. Safe to say we are looking forward to the next weekend we get to spend down there!

Photos: Lake in our campground / Car ride to Ocean City boardwalk / OC Boardwalk / Beating Tim in $4 mini-golf / Batting cages / Our hammock / Local herbs from West Cape May Farmer's Market / Tim with our watermelon drink / local eggplants and squash / I've been into tie-front tops lately / His & Hers from our second tasting at Cape May Brewery (This place is phenominal) / So many varieties on tap! / Honey Porter eyes / Kohr Brothers in Wildwood.