In need of an easy dessert?
The initial weeks after my big wedding cake extravaganza back in April, (click here to read all about it my first wedding cake experience!), I was all baked-out. Actually, I wouldn’t even go that far. I was just exhausted. I was tired of being on my feet all day at work and then all evening post-work. I was tired of spending my precious, much-needed weekends cooped up in the kitchen causing me to be too tired to see friends or visit family. I needed one of those weekends where I had no obligations, no reason to set an alarm in the morning, and no one to answer to (Jarryd being an exception, of course).
Easter weekend was on its way and showing up at the family gathering without a dessert in-hand would just be unacceptable. (Yes, I’m the “designated dessert bringer” and I’m totally OK with that!) I needed something easy, super quick to put together, and just stress-free…
Normally something stress-free to me is something that I’ve already made before and have full confidence that it’s going to be a hit because it’s already been tested. My amazing carrot cake recipe is one that I could do with my eyes closed, BUT I’ve already gifted my family gatherings with that one–more than once too. So I needed to find something new, spring-themed, and simple…
A Great Alternative To A Layer Cake
My ideal strawberry shortcake would either be in a big glass trifle-bowl, with one being able to see layers upon layers of cake, fluffy whipped cream, and fruit. OR it would be a layer cake of whipped cream, and berries in a naked cake form. Naked and semi-naked cakes have been very trendy for the past couple of years but I’ve yet to make one!
I didn’t want to do either of those forms of strawberry shortcake because I don’t have a trifle bowl–nor did I feel like buying one. And layer cakes are just a little time consuming. You have to grease the pans and then cut out parchment rounds to place in the pans, you have to bake them, then potentially torte them, then layer/stack them, all the while hoping it doesn’t fall over because whipped cream isn’t the most stable of frostings. Also, I didn’t have a cake round to place the cake on, or a cake box to transport the cake.
The ease and beauty of 9″ x 13″ pans…
So, I thought it was best to save my ideal strawberry shortcakes for another weekend when I wasn’t feeling so worn out and desperate for rest. I then had the grand idea of somehow baking a 9″ x 13″ sheet cake version of strawberry shortcake. Like a strawberry shortcake sheet cake! (Say that 10x fast?) OR Strawberry Shortcake Bars!
You guys, anytime I see the words: 9″ x 13″ pan it’s like music to my ears. I feel like anything baked in a 9″ x 13″ pan is going to be SIMPLE. I think this is because when I was first starting out baking, I would bake everything in a rectangle or square because round cake pans were scary.
Five years later, I own practically every size of round cake pans and have been using them on the regular. Actually, that’s not totally true; I still need get my hands on 4″ rounds. I guess it’s true we fear what we don’t know, right?! And unlike slicing into a tall, unstable, naked cake, with berries and cream filling oozing out the sides, serving these flat Strawberry Shortcake Bars is a total breeze! All you have to do is slice it into squares, serve, and enjoy. It’s so mess-free it practically serves itself.
Products Used To Make This Recipe Happen:
The Recipe for Strawberry Shortcake Bars with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting and Freshly Sliced Strawberries:
Strawberry Shortcake Bars
Vanilla Butter Cake
- 1/2 cup of butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1+ pint of strawberries sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat together sugar and butter until creamy. Mix in eggs, baking powder and salt. Alternate between adding in the flour and milk, beating after each addition. Beat until all ingredients are combined. Stir in vanilla extract.
Pour batter evenly into a greased and floured 9" x 13" baking dish. Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not over-bake. Cake should be flat and light in color. Set aside to cool completely.
Slice strawberries and set aside.
In chilled metal bowl, whip whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
In separate bowl, cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Scrape the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture bowl and keep folding gently until combined.
Evenly spread cream mixture over top of cooled cake. Top with sliced strawberries.
Refrigerate for 3 hours and serve!
Let me know if y’all make the recipe for these Strawberry Shortcake Bars! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments below! Thanks, friends! Happy baking!