Dear February the Fourteenth,
It’s nice to see you again; I’ve missed you.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’ve truthfully been missing you, for your candy . . . but will you still be my Valentine? I’ll most definitely make you dinner. Is there still a giant red, heart-shaped box full of mystery chocolates in my future (certain to induce untimely nut-allergy anaphylaxis)? I’m sincerely looking forward to it. Hope you like the cake I made you . . . I’ve already had two pieces. Yes, I know it’s only 11 A.M. Well, enjoy the lamb . . . and what’s left of dessert.
Ahhh, love is in the air! Actually, it might just be the maple bacon I’m frying, but who can tell the difference? Though I’m no cupid, on this day of Saint Valentine I know one thing to be true—dessert.
I would say this Hallmark holiday—nauseatingly pink & drunk on overpriced cards—usually thrives on Champagne and chocolate. Well, Champagne I hope to have later and with it I prefer a less common confection. Recently, I’ve been looking to make a pound cake, and decided now’s the time to parlay this pound-of-cake into a heart-shaped version of Strawberry Shortcake. (“and these are a few of my favorite things!” Forget kittens & strudels, I mean really?)
This dessert is pretty easy to create and assemble. The cake portion takes awhile to bake since it is dense, but this is surprisingly light & delicate on flavor. I could eat the whole thing, but luckily my better judgement kicked-in, so I’m just frying the bacon. Pound cakes are traditionally heavier, and if you’re unfamiliar with making them from scratch—brace yourself—we use NO baking soda or powder?! We do use half a dozen eggs, and by sifting the fine cake flour we achieve a moist & light texture. Growing-up, my Mom would often make strawberry shortcakes, and her untraditional foundation of choice was a Sara Lee pound cake. There is something pleasantly indulgent about the buttery cake, fresh whipped cream and ripe strawberries that I love. So on a holiday all about L-O-V-E, I thought this would be a pretty good match.
Bring out the butter and eggs, and let’s get started:
- 1.5 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter (completely softened to room temp)
- 3 cups baker's sugar (fine)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 eggs
- 1 small, ripe banana (very ripe)
- 3 cups sifted cake flour (ultra fine flour, measure after sifting)
- ½ pint heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pound cake slices (above recipe)
- 1 carton ripe strawberries, cleaned & sliced (or frozen berries, thawed if no fresh)
- ½ - 1 pint heavy whipping cream (to make homemade whipped cream)
- ⅛ tsp almond extract (for whipping cream)
- 2 tsp powdered sugar (for whipping cream)
- Powdered sugar (topping, optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and grease & flour loaf pan.
- Mash the overly-ripe banana thoroughly in small bowl, with wooden spook or fork, until smooth and almost liquid, no chunks.
- Sift cake flour, and measure-out 3 cups, add salt, set aside.
- In large bowl of an electric mixer cream butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time, then add in pureed banana, until mix is smooth.
- To mix, alternating, add ½ cup of flour mix and heavy cream, until all is incorporated, adding vanilla and blending on medium for another minute.
- Fill prepared loaf pan ¾ of the way (I filled mine more), and bake any extra remaining batter in a muffin tin, or small pan.
- Bake for ~1:15 - 1:35 mins depending on oven, where toothpick inserted in center of cake, comes out clean (remaining batter in smaller pan will take only ~40 mins).
- Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for ~30 min, then transferring loaf upside down onto platter or plate carefully (loosed edges first with a knife).
- Slice cake into about 1 inch slices, and using a heart-shaped cookie cutter (if desired), cut out two heart shaped pieces.
- Make whipped cream in bowl of electric mixer on high speed, whisking until it thickens and peaks begin to form (about 5 mins), then add sugar and extract whipping to blend (store in refrigerator until ready to serve/assemble).
- Slice several strawberries, sprinkle with granulated sugar as desire to sweeten.
- Assemble shortcakes by placing one piece of pound cake (heart-shaped) on small plate, layer of sliced strawberries on top, then spreading thick layer of whipped cream, 2nd layer of strawberries, 2nd whipped cream layer, finishing with top piece of cake. Sprinkle powdered sugar or more whipped cream on top as desired!
This cake is the perfect sweet treat for your sweet heart. (Or random co-worker, Grandma, old lady in the alley who screams in Latin—trust me, it happens—or even just for you, and you deserve it!) Wherever this Valentine’s Day finds you, I hope it’s enjoying a sweet slice (or two).Pin It