13 Jun 2011

Strawberry "Tin Can" Shortcake (for 'The Edible Woman')

"Are you going to have them serve it hot?" I asked, "Or maybe with cream?"
"Well, it's intended primarily for the time-saver market," she said, "They naturally would want to serve it cold. They can add cream if they like, later, I mean we've nothing really against it..." (p.18)

Consumerism isn't just an overarching theme in this novel, it's an all smothering one: Posters of girdle-clad young women, sly tactics used by supermarkets and advertisers to entice weary housewives, and the question of whether women become commodities when 'given away' in marriage. I wanted a dessert that reflected 60s femininity as a commodity. Something that could be packaged and sold to those same weary housewives as a worthy substitute for the real thing. And, of course, it had to be pink.

How would you interpret The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood? All cakes and comments welcome.

Strawberry "Tin Can" Shortcake
Serves 6

For the pudding:
50g (1/4c) butter
50g (1/4c) sugar
4 eggs, separated
175g (3/4c) all-purpose flour
2 tins (Net Weight aprox. 400g or 14oz) strawberries in juice, drained. Reserve liquid.

For the sauce:
50g (1/4c) sugar
Reserved strawberry juice
4 tsp arrowroot powder
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Start with the sauce.  Place reserved strawberry juice and sugar in a saucepan and reduce to 125ml (1/2c). Set to one side and allow to cool. 

Pre-heat oven to 150*C (300*F). Carefully grease & flour 6 well-scrubbed tuna tins (or ramekins).

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time blending well after each. Add flour in three parts. (I found this made a very stiff batter. You may want to loosen it with 1-2tbsp water). Add strawberries and stir with a spoon until you have a smooth batter.

In a second bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold gently into strawberry batter.

Place your prepared tins onto a roasting tray and fill each one 3/4 full with batter before topping up with what remains. Cover with tin foil and secure with string or rubber bands. Fold excess foil up out of the way so the ends don't get wet and pour boiling water into the roasting pan so it comes 1/3 of the way up the sides of the tins.

Place on middle rack of the oven for 25min or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Immediately remove foil, run a knife around the edge of the tins and tip onto plates (they should release by themselves if left 30sec or so). 

Mix arrowroot powder with a little cooled juice before tipping it into the saucepan. Gently heat - do not allow to boil - stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Take off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Pipe sweetened whipped cream around slightly cooled puddings before spooning sauce over the top.Garnish with extra strawberries if desired.

Modified from cookbook The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson
Some interesting info: History of Instant Cake Mixes foodtimeline.org

Added 16/06/11:
Just found these 60s Jello-O dessert photos on oh so loveley vintage. Loving that retro food styling!
Recipe, Dessert , Cake, Strawberry


  1. Thanks, bro! Start saving those tuna tins now, you never know when you might have guests with a hankering for strawberry pudding cake.

  2. I'm not really a big fan of Margaret Atwood, I find her books require too much thinking. I prefer books that deal less with "the human condition" and more with dragons or spaceships... or... dragons made out of spaceships! That would be awesome it would be like the SDF-1 but shaped like a dragon and would like eat other spaceships and... wait... what was I talking about again? Oh right, Atwood, not a fan. I am however a huge fan of cake. And cake with strawberries goes together like dragons and spaceships, totally awesome. If I wasn't so fat right now I would definitely try my hand at this recipe. I might have to do it if I ever have company over otherwise I'll just eat all of them myself.


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