Hello friends! I hope you are getting a nice dose of warmer weather and starting to enjoy these early days of summer. My oldest daughter, Hannah, finished her first year away at college and is home for the next couple months. My seven year old, Carrie, wrapped up second grade a week ago. It is wonderful to have my girls together and I am soaking in all the sounds of sister giggles!
As you may remember, we moved from Cincinnati to Aurora, OH (near Cleveland) last Fall. Last summer was a whirlwind so we decided to keep this summer simple and trade in a big vacation to explore our new area. We are close to Lake Erie and the Cleveland Metroparks system is amazing. There are several farming communities just a hop, skip and a jump away. I love to visit local farms! I have a list of several to check out and hope to meet many of these amazing women and men at upcoming farmer’s markets.
Hannah is out of town this week and, after three very unsuccessful attempts at making French Macarons, I was ready to get out of the kitchen yesterday. I had a morning meeting then Casey, Carrie and I hit the road for Peninsula, OH. We didn’t have a specific plan but knew there were some local shops and farms in the area. As we were driving around, we saw a sign for Greenfield Berry Farm. We pulled in and met a young man who told us to walk toward the barn and we’d find what we need to pick our own strawberries. We raced to the barn, picked up our pint boxes and headed to the field to start picking.
Of course there’s nothing new about strawberries. I’ve bought fresh strawberries from stands many times. Some of my favorites were from an adorable berry farm off the coast of California. Hannah, Carrie and I were on our way to the airport and thought it would be neat to bring home some of the most delectable strawberries I ever met. This specific farm picked the berries and sold them along with many scrumptious baked goods. The strawberries were small, sweet and juicy and we bought a few pints. I was concerned we wouldn’t get the berries through airport security. There was no need to worry because Carrie ate most of them before we got to the airport! Love her!
Carrie has always been crazy about strawberries. When she started talking, she couldn’t pronounce the word strawberries. What came out of her mouth was the most adorable word ever. “Dobbies.” Her sweet baby voice made that word a staple in our family vocabulary. We went through hundreds of bags of Trader Joe’s freeze-dried dobbies over the course of her toddler years. Carrie consumed tons of fresh dobbies as well, and asked for a dobbie cake for her fourth birthday.
The days spent at my corporate job often had me dreaming about starting my own business; I always wanted to call it Dobbies. I changed my mind when we came up with Floured Apron, but have never stopped using the word dobbies in place of the word strawberries.
Since we’ve always had a thing for these succulent berries, it was awesome to have a chance to pick our own. Someone was very excited!
My heart filled right up when I saw the joy in Carrie’s face and her delight in filling up her pint boxes. When I thought I couldn’t have a better day, the farm owner, Daniel, told us the blueberries would be ready in July! YAY! Fresh dobbies, pure fun, and a new-found farm all made for a perfect afternoon!
I thought we’d come home and stuff ourselves full of dobbies, however, it was killing me not to make something with those fresh berries! Jam, pie or smoothies? I couldn’t let it go. Carrie has been asking me to make a cupcake named after me. She thinks it’s a big deal that we have cupcakes named after her and Hannah on our menu. (Here’s the post on Carrie’s claim to fame cupcake.) Carrie came up with Shannon’s Shortcake Cupcake a couple of months ago. I haven’t made shortcakes in years (instead, I’ve been banging my head against the counter with Macaron making attempts, but that’s another story). While she and Casey headed to the pond to fish, I decided it was the perfect time to make a Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake. I wanted this cupcake to represent all the things I love about traditional strawberry shortcake. I decided to start with my Vanilla Bean Cupcake. I thought about mixing some of the fresh berries into the batter but didn’t think that was enough of a dobbie punch. So, I ended up making a dobbie filling. I simply diced up some of the berries, cooked them in a pan, added a little sugar and cornstarch and let the mixture cook then cool.
Looks good, huh? As soon as it cooled, I ate a big spoonful and had to stop myself or I was going to have to make another batch to fill the cupcakes! Once everything was cool, I cored the cupcakes and spooned as much of the filling inside as possible.
Let’s face it, all the components of strawberry shortcake are delicious. I have always been partial to the biscuit type shortcake and the sugar soaked berries on top with all the syrup running everywhere. Then there’s the whipped cream. When I eat strawberry shortcake, I put whipped cream on top, eat it, add more, eat it…you get the idea. Whipped cream rules and I want some with every bite! I wanted these cupcakes on the lighter side so I walked away from all thoughts of buttercream frosting and topped them with generous dollops of, you guessed it, fresh whipped cream. I’m pretty sure I made the right decision!
I can’t even find words to tell you how delicious these are. Not too sweet, light and just heavenly. They were gone in a minute and I don’t regret eating a single one (neither does Carrie)!
Carrie wants me to call this Shannon’s Shortcake Cupcake and add it to our seasonal menu. I don’t care what it’s called, I just want to eat these every single day!
I feel fortunate to have several farms nearby and am thankful for the people who work hard to grow amazing food and share it with us.
If you’ve never been to a local farm, I’d highly recommend finding one this summer. It’s a great experience for the whole family and farm owners are always happy to share their stories and crops. I enjoyed picking berries, watching Carrie pick berries, making a spectacular cupcake and reminiscing about when the word dobbies first came into our lives. You just never know where an unplanned day will take you!
From the heart, Shannon