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Homemade Strawberry Shortcake is a summer classic

It’s time for Homemade Strawberry Shortcake.

By BLAISE DOUBMAN - For The Courier-Times

Indiana strawberry season seems to be short and fickle. I cannot tell you how many times my dad, Jamie, has missed the season by just a day or two. Bell’s Strawberry Farm is where my family and I visit every strawberry season. Located at 16447 U.S. Highway 38, Hagerstown, it is a must-see stop for anyone who loves strawberries.

They have a couple of options available. You can pick your own or simply buy what has already been picked. For those who know me, you can guess my favorite option! Ha! I buy what is picked. They also offer other delicious things such as local honey, Amish baked goods and homemade strawberry freezer jam.

Let me talk about their jam. It is fabulous! I have made strawberry jam for years and even shared a recipe here with all of you for my version a couple of years ago. Their strawberry jam beats mine – yes I said it! Delicious on toast, bagels, waffles, ice cream or even just a simple spoon. Their strawberries and strawberry freezer jam got me thinking about homemade strawberry shortcake.

I usually buy an angel food cake to go with strawberries during that time of the year and always insist on buying one instead of making one from scratch! Why? There is literally very slim difference in taste, texture and even ingredients between the homemade and store-bought variety. Making an angel food cake from scratch is a very touchy thing because you cannot deflate the egg whites and you must keep things at a certain temperature.

Plus, have you ever tried to cool one? Once removed from the oven, it must be turned upside down for several hours before removing and serving. Maybe it is just me but that just seems like so much work for something that tastes identical to something you can buy for less than $5! I have had taste test after taste test, and nobody could tell the difference between homemade and store-bought angel food cake.

For this recipe though, I was inspired by the old-fashioned flavors of an actual shortcake. I wanted the taste and texture from what I remembered when I was younger. This recipe is so easy to whip up and will keep at room temperature for several days. Warm a slice up or serve it cold and top with strawberries and whipped cream. I love this summertime dessert and is even delicious topped with frozen strawberries and ice cream!

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

This can be made ahead and wrapped in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months. If chilled or frozen, remove and allow to thaw at room temperature before cutting and serving.

2 sticks unsalted butter, soft

1 cup white granulated sugar

4 large eggs

2 cups white all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup whole milk

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon pure almond extract

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a regular sized loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl beat the soft unsalted butter for at least 15 minutes until extra light.

Gently pour and beat in the white granulated sugar.

Beat in the large eggs, adding in only one egg at a time.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the white all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.

In a glass measuring cup combine the milk, pure vanilla extract and pure almond extract.

Alternately add the wet and dry ingredients to the batter, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Stir the mixture well to combine after each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 65 minutes.

After baking, remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Carefully run a knife outside of the shortcake, loosening the edges. Turn out onto a piece of parchment paper to cool.

When cooled and ready to serve, cut thick slices with a serrated knife. Store leftover pieces tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting a lot of messages about how to properly melt chocolate. There are many ways to melt, or temper chocolate, and I find the easiest way is in the microwave. Start by adding the chocolate to a microwave safe bowl and add in a tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening or coconut oil. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is smooth, combined and melted. Use as desired.

Kennard resident Blaise Doubman is an Indiana University graduate. He invites readers to follow his blog at: TRAIL BLAISE (trailblaise.com). Ordering information for both of his cookbooks can be found on his blog and contact page. He writes this column exclusively for The Courier-Times on the first and third Saturdays each month.