Riffs on Strawberry shortcake 

Strawberry shortcake trifle is so much fun to make with kids. They love tearing the cake and squishing the berries by hand.
Son-in-law holds the trifle. He grabbed it from Ollie who proudly took it into the living room. As we all hovered around doing that putting-your-hands-out-in-case-you-need-to-catch-something thing we do around kids.
Color’s off because it was too late for natural light. This version is made with angel food cake. And Rob had the idea of making one layer chocolate. Really really tasty as Joy would say.

I’ve been on a strawberry shortcake kick lately. Something about seeing all of those luscious berries calling my name. (Yes. I know strawberries aren’t technically “berries” according to botanists. But that’s just stupid. I don’t care where the seeds are. Berry is in the danged name. So it’s a berry in my book.)

I thought it would be fun to make an easy strawberry shortcake trifle with Ollie, age 6 (until July 15). The recipe calls for tearing the cake in large pieces and smushing (it’s a word–ask anyone) the berries by hand. All the things a boy enjoys. I thought Joy would enjoy it too, but she was busy. I’m not sure what she was doing, but it was definitely important.

This was a lot of fun to make and eat. And it’s so easy.

Strawberry shortcake trifle

3 quarts strawberries (Set aside about 5 of the prettiest berries)

1 pre-made pound cake

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1 tsp. (or to taste) vanilla extract (don’t use imitation vanilla–it has an awful, bitter aftertaste, I’ve found) 

1/2 tsp. (or to taste) almond extract

About 1 cup of sugar

Hull the strawberries by cutting off the tops. I’ve seen strawberry hullers and various methods online, but cutting off the top is easiest and fastest.

Take one quart of the strawberries and cut in half or quarters. Place in a bowl and mash, suing a potato masher. Add sugar to taste. (This will totally depend on the sweetness of the berries and your personal preference.) You are finished when you have a lumpy puree.

Whip heavy heavy cream with about 1/2 cup of sugar. When it’s almost whipped, with soft peaks, add extracts. Finish whipping until firm, but before it separates.

By hand break up the pieces of cake and place them in the bottom of a trifle dish. Pour 1/2 of the strawberry puree on top. Smoosh 1 quart of berries, one at a time, by hand and place on the cake. Spread 1/2 of the whipped cream on top. Repeat. Break up pieces of cake, top with remaining puree, smooshed berries and finally, whipped cream.

Decorate with the pretty berries by cutting them in half and arranging them. I suggested a circle, but Ollie decided we needed to make them into a line with one strawberry off to the side, who was leading the rest of the berries in battle. That’s what happens when you cook with a 6-year-old.

Variation: The hubster (he really loves cute pet names NOT) suggested chocolate for the concoction. So I assembled everything again, although I used an angel food cake loaf this time instead of pound cake, which was really good.

The chocolate whipped cream layer was spread out first and the regular whipped cream layer was on top. I was also able to arrange my berries in a circle on top because Ollie didn’t help with this one.

To make chocolate whipped cream: In a small bowl mix 3 tablespoons of good cocoa and 1/2 cup unwhipped, heavy whipping cream. The mixture will become very thick–like mousse. Whip the remaining cream and divide in half. Mix one half of the whipped cream with the chocolate mixture. Taste. Add sugar if it needs it.

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