Patriotic Mini-Cakes

I recently saw a recipe for star-shaped shortcakes in the Summer 2011 edition of Publix FamilyStyle Magazine.  Please see my Resources page for more information on the original recipe.  The cakes were topped with homemade whipped cream and garnished with fresh strawberries and blueberries – a clever twist on the traditional American flag cake dessert for summer holiday celebrations.  I thought the recipe needed a bit more flavor for my family, so read on for my modified version of the shortcakes!

Side-note: The original recipe uses biscuit mix to make the shortcakes, but after trying it out (and seeing how crumbly the biscuits were to cut) I think it would also taste delicious to substitute angel food cake, as the magazine article suggests, yellow cake with pudding (my personal favorite), devil’s food cake, or even pound cake in place of the biscuit mix.  I plan to try one of these other cakes the next time I make these.  Plus, any of these cakes would be great for soaking up delicious fruit juices!  If you were to use a sheet cake to make the stars from, you would also get additional servings for additional guests!

Here is my adapted version of the recipe:

Patriotic Mini-Cakes
Serves 4.

1 8-ounce package, buttermilk biscuit mix
3½ tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons of sugar
½ cup, half-and-half
1 cup, heavy whipping cream
splash of vanilla
½ pint of fresh blueberries
½ pint of fresh strawberries, quartered
sprinkling of ground cinnamon, extra to garnish
cooking spray

Baking sheet
3” star cookie cutter
serrated knife

At least an hour before assembling the cakes, wash and prepare the fresh fruit.  In a medium bowl, combine the fruit with 1½ tablespoons of the sugar and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon, mix until the fruit is well coated.  Let the fruit sit uncovered at room temperature for one hour, stirring twice.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°F.  Combine the biscuit mix and 2 tablespoons of the sugar.  Add in the half-and-half, stirring to make a lumpy dough. Next, make four large biscuits using two spoons to drop the biscuits onto a baking sheet lightly greased with cooking spray.  Eyeball the biscuits with your cookie cutter handy to ensure they will be large enough to make stars (you will have unused biscuit remnants left over).

Bake the dough for 10-12 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly golden brown on top.  Let biscuits cool 15-20 minutes.

Cut each biscuit into a star using a 3” cookie cutter.  Carefully, slice the star cakes in half using a serrated knife.  They will be crumbly!

Combine the whipping cream with the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar and a splash of vanilla.  Beat with an electric or stand mixer until firm peaks form.  Set aside.

Assemble the star shortcakes by spreading a small dollop of whipped cream on each bottom portion of the star cakes, then add a spoonful or two of the berry mixture.  Finish with the star top.

Optional:  You can garnish the cakes with a little extra whipped cream and a dusting of ground cinnamon!

Other Variations:  The great thing about this recipe is that it is easy to use any shape of cookie cutter you want, (depending on the occasion) and add other fruits.  Some fruits to try might be: raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, pineapple, peaches, and nectarines.  Just garnish with a bit of fresh mint!