Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake

I am 99 percent sure this recipe has changed my life. I withhold the final one percent at the risk of being dramatic. I am, however, completely sure that I will be making this recipe, and flavor variations, very often for a very long time.

Found in A Treasury of New Zealand Baking by Lauraine Jacobs, this Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake is nothing like the biscuit shortcake we are used to. Instead, it is a large sugar cookie tart that is wrapped around a sweet and tangy middle. I look forward to making this with about every filling I can think of.

I also would be remiss to say that this cookbook, a gift from my cousin, has been sitting on my bookshelf for ten years. In that decade I never baked a single recipe from it, honestly intimidated by the fact that every recipe was in grams. This means I missed ten years of eating this bake. I have regrets!

So before I dive into this stunner let me pass on some wisdom that this little journey has bestowed on me:

  1. Go buy a scale for your kitchen and let the world’s recipes fill your kitchen. Do not wait ten years to do this.
  2. Give, receive and cherish cookbooks. The internet is a wonderful world. But your favorite recipes might be tucked away in beautifully bound book, sitting on your kitchen counter, waiting to be made and devoured.

Okay, back to this beauty.

An extra-large linzer cookie, that is what I first thought when I was devouring this shortcake. But it is honestly much more than that and much simpler to make.

After the rhubarb cooks down slightly on the stove, just sweetened enough with sugar, it is mixed with the strawberries. Lucious and red, this mixture cools while you make the shortcake. Buttery, crumbly and delicate, this dough is all but sugar cookie dough that pressed into the cake pan.

Layer the filling on top and then drop more of the shortcake on top. Bake it and then eat it. Go do it now! Don’t wait ten years like me.

Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake

Makes one 9-inch round cake

Filling

3 -4 stalks rhubarb, trimmed and sliced in 1-inch pieces

3 tablespoons sugar

1 cup strawberries, hulled and roughly sliced

Shortcake

8 1/2 tablespoons (125 grams) softened unsalted butter

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (125 grams) granulated sugar

1 egg

1 3/4 cup +1 tablespoon (225 grams) all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons (25 grams) cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

For Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, mix rhubarb and sugar together. Cook on low heat until rhubarb is almost tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add strawberries to skillet and gently mix. Remove from heat and set aside.

For Shortcake

  1. Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
  2. Sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add to butter mixture and mix until just thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Scoop two-thirds of the dough into the cake pan and press it over the bottom and up the sides, making sure to press evenly. Dough will be very soft so work quickly.
  5. Spread the lukewarm filling over the shortcake base.
  6. With the remaining one third of dough, drop spoonfuls over fruit filling. Do not completely cover filling or spread dough on top. Allow filling to peep through.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the shortcake is lightly golden grown.
  8. Allow to cool 20 minutes before inverting.
  9. Serve (warm or cool) with confectioners’ sugar, whipped cream or simply on its own.

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