Strawberry Shortcakes

adapted from williams-sonoma.com

1 pint strawberries, washed and sliced

1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk

Whipped cream

To make the shortcakes, position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease and flour a 6-well shortcake pan (I used individual mini tart pans, but you could also use mini loaf pans and cut to size).

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 30 to 45 seconds. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sugar, beating until blended. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the zest. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating each addition until well blended before adding more, until the mixture is thick and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Stop the mixer occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and fold in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour, until just blended and no lumps of flour remain.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully turn the cakes out onto the rack and cool completely, bottom side up, at least 1 hour. If not serving the cakes immediately, store them in an airtight container at room temperature.

To serve, slice each shortcake in half horizontally. Place the wide shortcake halves, sliced side up, on individual plates. Top each with strawberries and whipped cream, then top with the other half of the cakes, cut side down. Garnish with additional strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream.

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