Fresh Berry Shortcakes

These look a bit like pancakes, but they’re soft, sweet little sponge cakes that go well with berries. They’re best fresh, so eat them right after you make them.
baking sheet, parchment paper, bowls, wooden spoon, measuring cups, measuring spoons, baking spatula, dinner knife, cooking spatula (for helper), sifter
1/3 cup (80 mL) ricotta cheese (preferably extra smooth)
¼ cup (60 mL) soft unsalted butter (see “Butter”)
2/3 cup (160 mL) white sugar
1 egg
½ tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour (spoon in, level)
¼ tsp (1 mL) baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup (250 mL) whipped cream or 4 scoops vanilla ice cream
1 cup (250 mL) raspberries or sliced strawberries
½ tsp (2 mL) icing sugar, if you like
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to stir together the ricotta and butter. Use the back of the spoon to cream in the sugar. Then mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, use a baking spatula to mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually, use the spatula to stir this dry mixture into the ricotta mixture. Mix into a stiff batter. Use a dinner knife to scrape sticky ingredients off the spatula.
  5. Use the wooden spoon to scoop the batter into eight equal-sized mounds on the parchment, using your finger to scrape the batter off the spoon. Make sure to keep the mounds about 3 inches (8 cm) apart because the shortcakes spread during baking.
  6. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 13 to 15 minutes, until the shortcakes stop spreading and they turn golden like the color of pancakes. Get help turning the shortcakes over with a cooking spatula and bake for another 12 to 13 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool on the baking sheet.
  7. Put four shortcakes into four dessert dishes. Top each cake with whipped cream or ice cream and berries. Place the other four shortcakes on top. Using a sifter, dust each one with icing sugar, if you like.
Makes 4 Fresh Berry Shortcakes.

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