Strawberry Chiffon Shortcake

Happy belated Father's Day! Last weekend was special because it was both Father's Day and my father-in-law's birthday. We celebrated with a socially distanced steak dinner outside, and this showstopper of a cake. Strawberry shortcake is my father-in-law's favorite dessert, and while this doesn't taste like your traditional biscuit-based shortcake, it was delicious all the same.

Assembling it together with my husband was a lot of fun. As was seeing the reaction on my father-in-law's face.

If you're going to make this to bring somewhere else like we did, I would recommend bringing the cakes, strawberries, and whipped cream separately and assembling it wherever you're going to serve it. With its four layers of cream and fruit, it would not travel well. I do see it making a nice trifle though if you don't want the extra fuss of a dessert you have to assemble later.

Strawberry Chiffon Shortcake
(Recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

For the cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine or regular granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 large egg yolks at room temperature
  • 8 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

For the filling: 
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tbsp confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 quarts strawberries, hulled and sliced thinly

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line the bottoms of two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Leave the cake pans ungreased otherwise. 
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, 1 1/4 cups of the sugar, baking powder, and salt together twice in a large bowl. 
  3. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks, water, oil, zest, and vanilla on high speed until smooth. Stir into the flour mixture until smooth. 
  4. In another large bowl, or in the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks are formed. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and beat on high speed until the peaks are stiff but not dry. 
  5. Use a rubber spatula to fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites just until the egg whites are no longer visible. Don't overdo it. You don't want to knock out too much air and end up with a dense cake. 
  6. Scrape the batter into the two prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. 
  7. Let cakes cool on a cooling rack for at least an hour. (Honestly, we only let them cool on a rack for half an hour before we put them in a car and drove 2 hours). When cake is completely cool and you are ready to assemble the cake, run a knife around the sides to release, then flip the cake out onto a plate and then another plate. 
  8. Make the whipped cream by beating the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a clean mixing bowl until it forms stiff peaks. 
  9. To assemble the cake, carefully cut each 9-inch round cake in half to form two layers. You should have 4 cake layers in total. Place one layer on your serving dish, top with 1/4 of the whipped cream, and spread evenly to the edges. Arrange one quarter of the strawberries over the whipped cream. Place another cake layer over the strawberries and repeat the layers, ending with strawberries on top. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. 

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