2000s Recipes + Menus

Strawberry Shortcakes with Vanilla-Orange Syrup

  • Active time:1 hr
  • Start to finish:2 1/2 hr
Strawberries marinated in a vanilla-orange syrup add a new twist to these sponge-cake shortcakes.
June 2001

For Cake

  • 4 large egg yolks and 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For strawberries in syrup

  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh orange zest (from 2 oranges)
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 pint strawberries (3/4 lb), trimmed and quartered

For cream

  • 1/4 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • Special Equipment:

    a 3- to 3 1/4-inch round cookie cutter

Make cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350F and butter an 8- by 2-inch square metal baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment or wax paper, then butter paper. Dust with flour, knocking out excess.
  • Whisk together yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl until combined well. Whisk in flour and salt (batter will be thick).
  • Beat whites with an electric mixer until they hold soft peaks. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks.
  • Stir about one third of whites into batter to lighten, then fold in remaining whites in 2 more batches, gently but thoroughly.
  • Transfer batter to baking pan, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until pale golden and a tester comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan on a rack (cake will shrink from sides of pan). When cool, run a sharp knife around side of cake if necessary and invert onto rack, then remove paper.

Make strawberries in syrup:

  • Scrape seeds from vanilla bean with tip of sharp knife into a small saucepan, then add pod. Add sugar, water, zest, and juice. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and boil 1 minute.
  • Transfer to a bowl and chill 30 minutes. Pour syrup through a fine sieve into another bowl and discard solids. Gently stir in strawberries and let stand 15 minutes.

Make cream:

  • Beat together cream, sugar, and sour cream until mixture just holds stiff peaks.

Assemble shortcakes:

  • Cut 4 rounds from cake with cookie cutter.
  • Generously brush both sides of each round with syrup from strawberry mixture and arrange, darker sides up, on plates. Spoon strawberries onto rounds and let stand 5 minutes to allow more syrup to soak into cake. Top rounds with dollops of cream and drizzle with remaining syrup.
Cooks’ note: Cake may be baked 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
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