My favourite cartoon when I was a kid was Strawberry Shortcake. I loved her giant hat and how everyone was named after food. I would spend countless hours inventing stories with the dolls, which I still have, boxed up in the basement of my parents’ house.
Now that I think about it, Strawberry Shortcake just might have been that pivotal childhood obsession that spilled over into my adult life. Most of Strawberry Shortcake’s waking hours are spent thinking about what sweet treat she’s going to create; I too think constantly about what I’m going to eat. Strawberry Shortcake was such a big influence on my life when I was a child that even my mom was involved making Strawberry Shortcake-influenced dresses and of course, strawberry shortcake dessert.
There are lots of variations of strawberry shortcake, but the version I grew up with was store bought sponge cakes (the neon yellow ones with the convenient depression in the middle), vanilla ice cream and sliced strawberries. This might not sound like strawberry shortcake to many people, but to my seven-year-old self, it was heavenly. The softness of the cake, the cold creaminess of the ice cream and the sweetness of the berries drove home the idea that strawberry shortcake was the ideal dessert and TV show.
Momofuku shortcakes are made with actual shortcakes and not sponge cake. The shortcakes are crackly, pouffy domes that kind of look like scones. They’re made like scones too with the butter and shortening cut into the flour and the wet ingredients barely mixed in. It was a little difficult shaping the cakes due to the extremely loose batter, but once they were chilled, then baked, the shortcakes turned impressively fluffy.
The best part of strawberry shortcake is the strawberries and Momofuku shortcakes are adorned by deliciously juicy macerated strawberries. Generally, I don’t eat my strawberries with sugar, but gently tossing sliced strawberries with sugar draws out the juices and really improves the strawberriness of your berries.
The shortcakes were too salty the first time we ate them, but the next day, while having them with a friend, they seemed the perfect balance between sweet and salty. The freshly whipped cream with the juicy, sweet strawberries and fluffy shortcake were are tantalizing hint of all the summery things to come.