the shortcut, shortcake

This weekend was one of my dear friend’s big 30th birthday and anyone who knows me knows how much I love to bake and make. Anything crafty, homemade, or unusual is typically right up my alley. I love to cook and am alright at throwing things together. Of course baking is more of a science and I love to decorate although I’m not always the best at it. So admittedly, these gifts or gestures, while always with the best of intentions, don’t always work out to be the best. Typically either they taste pretty good or look kind of decent but it’s a rare occasion that I am successful at achieving both; but even knowing this I still stick to homemade baked goods for many reasons. First anything made  (boxed, semi-or, homemade) takes some level of forethought and is usually made with love; second by making it myself I know exactly what goes into the recipe and eliminate many of those hard to pronounce mystery ingredients; and last but not least it almost always is more affordable to make something with the ingredients I already have rather than waste money on a box or pay someone else to do something I a. can do and b. enjoy doing.

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So for Jess’ big 3-0 bday BBQ I had the festive idea of following suit with a strawberry shortcake but did not want to buy all of those extra ingredients…def NOT on my grocery list. So with a little help from my favorite cookbook I made hotmilk sponge cake with homemade whipped cream and fresh strawberries. The only ingredients I didn’t have on hand were the fresh strawberries (which I usually keep in the house so it was a matter of restocking and using only some of them) and the ladyfingers that for $1.69 I thought was worth the decorative touch. Overall this beauty cost me $3.69 and even better only took 45 minutes from start to finish, saving me time and money. #priceless

Hotmilk Sponge Cake (I doubled everything)
-1 cup all- purpose flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 2 eggs
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup milk
– 2 Tbs butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 300F. Combine flour & baking powder. In a bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer on high speed about 4 minutes, or until thick. Gradually add sugar; beat at medium speed for 4-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture; beat at low to medium speed just until combined. In a saucepan heat & stir milk & margarine until it melts, add to batter, beating till combined. Pour into (2) greased and sugared pans. (I use sugar not flour) then cook 20-25 mins.

Homemade Whipped Cream
-2 cups whipping cream
-2 tbsp sugar
-2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix with electric mixer on medium until stiff peaks form (3-5 mins) Set in refrigerator until ready to use

Cut strawberries and sprinkle with sugar; once cakes have cooled assemble by starting with one cake, *lots of whipped cream in the center, strawberries, then top layer of cake. Cover fully with remaining whipped cream and decorate as you’d like. The pkg of ladyfingers fit perfectly around the outside perimeter and I secured with ribbon.

Honestly, the hardest and longest part was the tedious drive to the party hoping that it didn’t collapse, melt, shift, etc. lol

*Note for next time; this is the only improvement I would have like to have made and will for next time.

Happy Birthday, Jess! ox

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