Emergency Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake

adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe

for sweet biscuits

3 cups all purpose flour

½ cup packed dark brown sugar

4 tsp baking powder

¾ tsp salt

9 Tbls refrigerator cold butter (1 stick plus 1 Tbls)

1 cup buttermilk

¼ cup heavy cream

2 Tbls turbinado or demerara sugar

1 egg yolk plus 1 Tbls water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper that has been greased with butter.

2. Whisk or sift the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.

3. Cut the butter into 1/4" cubes and sprinkle them into the bowl. Using your fingers smush the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is flattened and incorporated into the flour (it should have a sandy texture to it).

4. Sprinkle the buttermilk and cream over the flour mixture and mix with a fork until it gather into a ball. 

5. Gently knead the dough (it'll be moist) two or three times until the dough is uniform in consistency. 

6. Roll out the dough to about 9" round and use a 3" biscuit cutter to cut out 9 biscuits. Or (if you don't have a biscuit cutter which I didn't have), just separate and form 9 individual biscuit disks. 

7. Using a fork mix the egg yolk and water in a small bowl until frothy.

8. Brush each biscuit with the egg wash and sprinkle with the tubinado sugar.

9. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the biscuits sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes to cool and firm up, and then remove them and let them cool completely on a wire rack

10. While the biscuits are baking make the whipped cream and strawberry filling.

for sweet strawberry filling

2 pints of strawberries (1 lb)

2 tablespoons of white granulated sugar

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

Zest from 2 medium meyer lemons.

Juice from 2 medium meyer lemons

for whipped cream

2 ½ cups of heavy whipping cream (try not to get ultra pasteurized)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon white sugar

½ tsp of vanilla extract

1. Stir the whipping cream and the sugars together in a bowl and then set it aside to let the sugar dissolve.

2. Husk the strawberries and slice them into 1/4" slices

3. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and let them sit to macerate while you whip the cream.

4. Whip the cream until you get soft peaks.

for assembly

1. Take the cooled biscuits and sliced them horizontally carefully.

2. Spoon some whipped cream on to the bottom of the biscuit

3. Spoon some strawberry filling onto the whipped cream. Be sure to get some of the juices that are at the bottom.

4. Spoon some more whipped cream on top of the strawberries.

5. Place the top of the biscuit on top. Serve with a single candle on top if it is someone's birthday.

Note 1. These biscuits are spread out really flat because they are made with so much liquid. I personally like it this way because it gets more strawberry & cream to biscuit ratio. But if you like more biscuit, use 1/4 cup less buttermilk. You'll get a firmer biscuit and it won't spread as much, which means it'll have less surface area and you'll end up with less strawberries and less whipped cream.

Note 2. As always, if you don't have buttermilk, use 1 cup of regular milk and add 1 Tbls of vinegar (preferably apple cider) or lemon juice. Stir and let it curdle for 10 minutes before using.

Note 3. Turbinado or demerara sugar are sometimes is called by their brand name "Sugar in the Raw".  If you can't find, just sprinkle some regular granulated or some brown sugar on top.

Note 4. If you are true Southerner, you probably would wince at this recipe, as it's TOTALLY far from what a true biscuit recipe is like. But I don't care, as I'm originally from Missouri which is really only the ersatz South. But I apologize if you are offended by my bastardization of a biscuit.