Strawberry Shortcake: My Personal Mother’s Day Tradition
Updated: May 13, 2020
Did anyone else grow up absolutely obsessed with the Strawberry Shortcake Cinematic Universe, or the SSCU? I spent my childhood watching the DVD movies on repeat. Even as an 18 year old, I remember the plot of each movie. As obsessed as I was with the SSCU, I had never actually tried strawberry shortcake. I don’t know how, but I went years without getting a taste of this dessert.
And then, Mother’s Day 2016 rolled around. My mum wanted to go to Cheesecake Factory for dinner, and so the two of us sat in the bar section for two hours until our table was ready. My mum sipped on a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and I a non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri (I clearly have a thing for strawberries). We perused the menu casually as we chatted and picked at an appetizer. Then, something caught my eye in the dessert section.
And there it was: strawberry shortcake.
Apparently, it hadn’t occurred to me that Cheesecake Factory served other desserts besides cheesecake, so seeing this was a surprise. I immediately brought it up to my mum, and later after we were stuffed with food, a strawberry shortcake was ordered and brought out to the table.
Flaky, buttery biscuits. Sweet strawberries. Mountains of vanilla ice cream. And swirls of whipped cream.
It was delicious.
Now, not only was I obsessed with the SSCU, but also the actual dessert. From that year on, we made going to Cheesecake Factory on Mother’s Day a tradition. Unfortunately, my family and I are stuck at home this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But luckily, Cheesecake Factory has been ordered. And in order to keep up with the tradition, I decided to make a strawberry shortcake.
I followed the Bon Appétit recipe as I had never made strawberry shortcake before. I particularly like this recipe because the use of lemon juice and lemon zest cut through the sweetness of the strawberries to add some needed brightness to the dessert.
I started off by combining my dry ingredients, then incorporating cold butter into the mixture. It is crucial the butter is as cold as possible when you add it to the dry ingredients. The cold butter-dry ingredient mixture allows for a flaky, buttery biscuit to bake in the oven.
Next, I combined the wet ingredients together and added them to the dry by creating a well in the middle and then gently kneading the mixtures together to form a shaggy dough.
On a lightly floured surface, I finished forming the dough and created layers by stacking pieces of the dough on top of each other then pressing the dough back into a single mass. After, I cut out the biscuits, which according to the recipe were rectangles, but some of mine turned out more rounded. I wasn’t too worried about it. A biscuit is a biscuit.
Then I let the biscuits chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to ensure that they wouldn’t spread in the oven. If the butter isn’t cold, the biscuits will spread instead of rise so this chilling time is essential!
I put the shortcakes in the oven for 20-25 minutes, checking for over-browning at the 20 minute mark. I ended up deciding to take the biscuits out at 20 minutes as they had achieved the desired golden brown top. I transferred them to a wire rack and let them rest until it was time to eat!
This is where things started to go awry… The Cheesecake Factory order was taking longer than expected. My mum had put in the order around 4:30, by the time the shortcakes came out of the oven, it was almost 7pm. My mum got on the phone with customer service being told the food was on it’s way over, but no one was actually on the way.
We all started to get hangry at this point. We had been saving our appetites for our usual Mother’s Day meal, and being told to wait for food while hungry is not pleasing in the slightest. Stomachs grumbled, sighs heaved, and toes tapped in anticipation for the food.
Once it was around 8pm, my mum called it, and sent my brother and stepdad to In-N-Out for our dinner. Thus, we had broken the Cheesecake Factory tradition.
An hour later, they came back with burgers and french fries for us all. We scrambled around the kitchen grabbing our food only to find out mine and my mum’s orders had been messed up. My mum was upset and went off to her room to eat alone, only to be dragged back down by my stepdad. My two usually rambunctious brothers ate in silence. And a depressing HBO show played on the T.V. in the background. This was not the Mother’s Day we had wanted, nor expected.
But, I remembered, we still had the strawberry shortcake.
I began to assemble the dessert. I cut the shortcakes in half, and placed layers of vanilla ice cream, strawberries, and whipped cream on top. And as we stuffed our faces with strawberry shortcake, I’m grateful it felt a little bit like a normal Mother’s Day.