Strawberry Tall Cake is amazingly delicious and completely gorgeous. Wait, what? Strawberry “tall” cake? Yup! You see, a true strawberry “shortcake” is more like a biscuit than a cake. What many folks call “Strawberry Shortcake” is a vanilla sponge cake layered with fresh strawberries and cream. The spongy cake absorbs lots of strawberry juice and it bakes up nice and “tall”.
So, want to know the secret ingredient that makes this cake extra delicious? Well, if you’ve read this blog before you might suspect that it involves a little alcohol.
Most strawberry shortcake recipes instruct you to toss the berries with a little sugar before assembling the cake. That’s a great idea.
Sugar not only draws out the juices from the berries, making a delicious syrup, the berries take in some of the sugar. What you end up with is a lovely mixture of softened and slightly sweetened berries with strawberry syrup that soaks into the cake.
I add a wee drop of Grand Marnier to the strawberries and sugar. The Grand Marnier adds a little more sugar and another layer of flavor that enhances, but doesn’t overpower, the strawberry flavor.
Once again I’m going to remind you that alcohol enhances other flavors in a dish in a very particular way. You can read more about the science behind why this is true in this post.
If you don’t do alcohol, use a splash of orange juice. It won’t be exactly the same, but the juice will spark the flavor of the berries.
Now, lets talk about the cake component of this lovely dessert.
The base for my Strawberry Tall Cake is a chiffon cake. I think “chiffon” is a great word. Not only is it a pretty sounding word, it also conjures up images of softness, airiness and luxury, like the namesake fabric.
Those are all lovely traits for a cake, no? Who doesn’t want a cake that is soft, airy and luxurious?
What makes chiffon cake unique is the fact that it’s sort-of a cross between a rich buttery cake and an airy sponge cake. It’s got the best of both worlds.
The cake is made with oil and water in the batter, which help create the soft crumb in the cake. The lightness comes from first whipping up the yolks with the other ingredients and then folding in whipped egg whites.
You could eat this cake as soon as it’s assembled, but at least an hour in the fridge will give the juice some time to soak into the cake.
I like to let the cake stay at least 5-6 hours in the refrigerator before serving. If you’re serving this cake after dinner it can be assembled either early in the day or even the night before. Just keep the sides of the cake well-wrapped to prevent it from drying out.
Watch the recipe video to see how to make Strawberry Tall Cake.
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