Strawberry Shortcake

For the Shortcake:

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
4 oz. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
4 Tbs. sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter, and crumble it with the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. Gradually stir in the buttermilk with a fork, and mix until a dough forms.

Pat the dough into a 9-inch cake pan that has been buttered and floured. Sprinkle the 4 Tbs. sugar over the top of the dough.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the cake is cooked through and golden brown. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a rack.

For the Strawberries:

2 lbs. strawberries, hulled and sliced, plus 8 large strawberries, whole
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped

Mix strawberries with the sugar, and allow the berries to stand for about 30 minutes to release their juices.

To assemble cake:

Turn out the cake from the pan. Using a serrated knife, slice the cake in half horizontally. Place the bottom half of the cake on a platter, and spoon the sliced strawberries and their juice over it.

Spoon all but 1/2 cup of the whipped cream on top of the strawberries. Place the top half of the cake on top of the cream. Spread the remaining whipped cream over the top. Garnish with the 8 large, whole strawberries.

Cut into wedges and serve.
(Rebecca Ets-Hokin)