Wednesday’s are reserved for baking in my kitchen and I’d like to welcome you to the #DessertDiaries. DISCLAIMER: There is NOTHING wrong with dessert. but that's all it is, is dessert. The danger comes when you’re trying to get fed off of dessert alone. You’ll end up with the illusion that you're full but in all actuality you’ll never be satisfied because your body requires certain nutrients. This leaves you no choice but to give up all that shortcake, leaving your appetite unsatisfied, revealing an emptiness in you that was there all along.
I took my last bite of strawberry shortcake, this past weekend. There’s something immensely tasteful about the very last bite of something. We tend to savor that last bite, and taste every single ingredient because we know that once we swallow it up its all gone. Let me tell y’all a little something about the love affair between me and this summer delight. I’ve known this cake since I was younger, not to mention I have always had an obsession with strawberries dipped or covered in whipped cream, and then add some kind of cake to it and I’m in heaven. Strawberry shortcake would always be around during my childhood years and then one day it just disappeared. I had fallen in love with many other cakes and desserts over the years from yellow cake with chocolate frosting, to Neiman Marcus cake, and especially butter cake. Then a few summers ago, strawberry shortcake came blazing back into my life like wild fire in a forrest. I mean I HAD to have it every single day after that first bite. The fresh strawberries, homemade whipped cream, and most importantly the cake itself.
The thing about strawberry shortcake is that it is sooooo deceiving! It’ll have you thinking that it’s healthy because of how light the actual cake itself is, the fresh berries, and then you don’t feel THAT guilty eating just a little bit of the whipped cream. But deep down inside you know this cake is just as bad for you to consume on an everyday basis as any other dessert. This cake is going to have you cheating on your diet, skipping workouts, not listening to your inner voice. But just as fast as I fell in love with strawberry shortcake is as fast as I had to let it go because it wasn’t adding ANYTHING to my life besides temporary pleasure. Strawberry shortcake would make me feel like I was on ecstasy when I was eating it, but then as soon as it wasn’t in my presence it made me feel guilty, angry and like a heroine addict when I tried to go cold turkey without it. But as the seasons changed, so did my taste buds for a new cake once I realized how basic strawberry shortcake is. But every time the weather would heat up, something would always pull me back to this cake.
This relationship went on for a few years all the way up until I took my last bite. The difference between then and now is that when I took the last bite this time for (the 263829283728th time), I didn’t experience withdrawals, in fact If I was sad about not eating it anymore it was because I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that this cake can offer me NOTHING still, all these years later. It can’t help me with my fitness and body goals, it’ll disrupt my mood constantly as most sweets do, and it’ll eventually have me codependent again.
As a culinary professional that is teaching themselves the pastry side of the food spectrum, there are only so many different ways I can recreate strawberry shortcake in an attempt to produce a healthier cake without it returning back to it’s original state. The ingredients are simple, flour, butter, sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, salt, baking powder add fresh berries and whipped cream. Cream together the butter with the sugar and vanilla, next add the eggs one at a time. Add the milk to the sifted dry ingredients and then add the dry ingredients to the wet and boom you've got strawberry shortcake. Chop some strawberries up and add the whipped cream. It looks extra fancy on the outside because of the way it's plated appearance arrives to your table. In reality, it’s all smoke and mirrors. Just because a dessert LOOKS fancy and flashy does NOT mean it has an elevated taste. Kind of like when you go to a fancy restaurant, order a dessert and when it gets to the table it tastes like dirt. Looks are NOT everything anymore.
If I took nothing away from this past weekend, I took away that this particular cake is seasonal and especially now that I have grown as a culinary professional I now know there are sooooo many other healthy, but tasteful, versatile, decadent, flavorful, summer cakes that I could indulge in year round and NEVER feel empty, guilty, or like I’m stuck in the kitchen. The many other summer cakes are literally WAITING for me to try them out, but I’m out here trying to be BASIC with making strawberry shortcake all the time!
These other summer cakes I’ve discovered will elevate me and inspire new cake ideas for new seasons and more seasons to come. Why would I settle for just strawberry shortcake when my tastebuds and palette have both elevated past that? Why would I go backwards? The answer is because sometimes the tastebuds want what they want. But after that last bite, I cried the hardest I’ve cried in forever because I knew that I could never take another bite out of it, or my pastry skills would never grow if I KEEP trying to make it because the cake will NEVER change. The ingredients don't change The thought of experiencing the same taste and me not growing is a risk I am no longer willing to take. Letting go hurts, but I had to say FUCK strawberry shortcake quietly in my mind and stick a fork in it because I am DONE. Until next time,
With Love & Food,