This is a rich buttery cake similar in texture and flavor to a Madeleine, and a perfect bed for luscious ripe berries and fluffy whipped cream. Most shortcakes mix berries with sugar, let them macerate and develop a syrup, but I like my berries less slippery. So I add a thin layer of preserves in-between the cake and cream. But any fruit sweetened or unsweetened will do, because this is really about the cake.
And before we get started… apologies for the lack of photos. I know baked goods cry out for photos of what each step looks like, but I made this at night and nighttime and photos don’t go well together. But fear not, this is an easy recipe.
Gluten-Free Shortcake (makes 12 cakes)
These can be made the day before. Let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container otherwise the heat will make the cakes gummy on the outside.
1-1/2 sticks (12 Tbsps.) unsalted butter, room temperature/softened
1-1/2 cups (360ml) powdered sugar (aka icing sugar, confectioners sugar), sifted
4 large eggs, room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla or almond extract–or any booze or extract flavor that you think would complement your fruit choice
2-1/2 cups (480ml) almond flour*
*Almond flour is finely ground blanched, skinned almonds. It isn’t cheap. You can find almond meal for less, but it will have the skins in the mix so your cakes will be flecked with brown, which is fine.
Preheat the oven to 350F/175C degrees.
Grease a 12 cup muffin tin.
Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter on high until it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until it is completely incorporated.
At medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating until well mixed. The eggs might not completely meld with the butter and have a slightly separated look–that’s OK. Add the pinch of salt and vanilla or extract, mixing thoroughly.
Add the almond flour and beat on medium speed until the batter is completely smooth. Because this batter doesn’t contain gluten you don’t have to worry about over-beating. You don’t want any lumps of sugar or clumps of ground nuts.
Spoon the batter into the greased muffin cups. Each cup should be about 3/4 full.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cakes are golden brown and set in the middle. Check them at 15 minutes to make sure they’re not getting too dark. If they are, loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil.
Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cakes and gently lift the edges up with the knife until the bottom comes free. They might stick a little. You might have a chunk or two stuck to the bottom of the pan in spite of your best greasing efforts. Just pull the piece off the bottom and gently press it all back together. It’s all going to be slathered in fruit and cream anyway…