Hurrah! It is finally strawberry season. I was able to buy some local strawberries today at the Kitchener Market. I suspect that this is earlier than usual and most likely earlier than 1912. I decided the first strawberries should become Strawberry Short Cake using Mary Knapp’s recipe in the1906 Berlin Cook Book.
The recipe involves the expected ingredients although the directions are more unusual. I mixed the flour, baking powder and butter together. I used about a large tablespoon of butter. In another bowl I mixed a medium sized egg, sugar and 2% regular milk together. I added the wet mixture to the bowl of dried ingredients and stirred. The dough resembled very dry biscuit dough. I put it into two greased square baking pans and baked at 360 degrees F. for 15 minutes until just beginning to turn golden.
I think Miss Mary Knapp lives with her widowed mother, two older brothers and a sister. In the 1901 Berlin census she is just 15 years old. Mrs. Knapp emigrated from Germany when she was just a year old. The family are Lutherans. The boys work as cigar makers, while Mary is a seamstress in a shirt factory. By the 1911 census only Mary’s mother and sister are listed. They live at 9 King Street South.
While the short cake baked, I cut some strawberries and whisked a little cream. I cut a piece of the short cake put some strawberries on it and another piece of short cake and some more strawberries and then some thickened cream on top. The strawberries and cream were great. The short cake was disappointing. The flavour was okay but it was heavy and dry. Everyone has their preference when it comes to short cake. Some people use something more like a cake while others use some form of biscuit. This recipe will not be useful to either style of short cake lover. I’m going to enjoy the rest of the berries plain. They are small deep red berries – sweet and juicy – not the large bland imports.
STRAWBERRY SHORT CAKE
1 egg, 3/4 cup sugar, butter size of an egg, 1 cup sweet milk, pinch salt, 4 cups flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder. Mix flour, butter, baking powder, and salt well, then stir in eggs, and milk and sugar well beaten. bake in layers, serve with strawberries and cream.