Strawberries are in season just about everywhere right now, and thanks to the collision of the California and Florida crops this year, they have been on sale everywhere!  I decided to take advantage of this unusual happenstance, and made a grain free (and consequently gluten-free) strawberry shortcake for a dinner party (well, book club, but it’s mostly about the dinner really) not long ago.  I started with a basic honey-almond cake recipe (I cut the honey for the recipe in half) and made my own whipped cream to go with it. You’ll also need 1 pound of sliced strawberries for this recipe.

To make the whipped cream, you only need the following ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream (get the best you can find, it makes a huge difference)
1/4 cup powdered sugar, or to taste (none if you like your cream unsweetened, more if you’re a humming bird)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (only the real stuff!)

**I like to use powdered sugar because it doesn’t take any time to dissolve in the cream, so you get a perfectly fluffy whipped cream. If you’d like to cut down the sugar, you could try subbing in a few sprinkles of cinnamon with the vanilla, since cinnamon registers as a sweet taste along with the vanilla. If you find it still needs a little bit of sugar, you can always add just a tablespoon or two.

1. Put your LARGE mixing bowl into the freezer, glass and metal will both work well. Get out your hand mixer while the bowl is chilling, and use a whisk attachment if you’ve got it (regular beaters will work as well, the whisk is just better in my opinion).
2. Pour your cream and vanilla into your frosty bowl.
3. Begin whipping your cream on medium, increasing to high, and adding in the sugar a tablespoon at a time.
4. Whip until the cream holds soft peaks, but not too long! This shouldn’t take more than four minutes. If you over-whip your cream it will curdle, and if you whip it even longer you’ll get sweet vanilla butter. Sounds good, but it’s not what we’re going for here.

Once you’ve got the cake ready to go, slice it in half with a long bread knife (I haven’t eaten bread in almost a year, but I’d never throw out a good knife!) and set the top half aside for a moment. Spread about half of the whipped cream on the bottom layer of the cake, then spread about 2/3 of your sliced strawberries over the cream. Carefully lay the top half back over the cream and strawberries. Spread the remaining whipped cream on top, and the remaining strawberries as well. If you’d like, you can toss some toasted almonds on top as garnish, and drizzle a little bit of honey as well to give your guests a little clue as to what’s in your cake.

This cake was a huge hit at my dinner party, and I felt pretty good about serving a beautiful dessert with much less sugar in it than a traditional shortcake. Bon appetite!

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