Spreading Strawberries, Year Five {The 90th Birthday Edition!}

In 2011, I started making the shortcake for Mimi's Strawberry Shortcake Celebration.  I can hardly believe it's been five celebrations now!  This year's was quite a bit different, and for a very special occasion!
Back in January, Mimi reached a very special milestone, and because of the challenges of hosting a major birthday party in the middle of winter (even if all that crazy snow didn't come until after her actual birthday), we put it off till summer.
So this weekend, operation-surprise-90th-birthday-party was a success!  Thanks to many people keeping their mouths shut (including family coming up from Florida and extended family at a graduation party the evening before), wonderful people who went to pick her up to go to a "concert" while stopping at the park to get something, and the fact that the party was almost 6 months after her actual birthday, it was a COMPLETE surprise!  Even when they drove up to the pavillion complete with a "happy 90th birthday" banner!

This means that, in the name of surprise, we also let her plan her strawberry shortcake celebration for two weeks afterwards, only to take over and make it for her birthday instead.  Oops!

Anyway, this year was a little different, and a bit of a challenge, since we obviously couldn't make the shortcake in Mimi's kitchen!  I did miss using the same tools my great-grandmother did, but it allowed for a bit of experimentation.
First of all, I was using glass/ceramic dishes to make the cakes -- each ended up holding 3 biscuit recipes -- and they stuck a little more on the bottom than the metal pans do.  This meant that on the 4th shortcake (there were 33 people coming, and I went a bit overboard . . . we only used two), we used some non-stick aluminum foil.  This took out one whole flip from the preparation process.  That's always a good thing!
And in case you're keeping track, 4 shortcakes made with 3 Bisquick biscuit recipes amounts to 2 giant boxes of Bisquick and a half a gallon of milk.  Phew.

Also, I realized that spreading the biscuit batter with wet hands made it muuuuuch easier to spread the sticky gooey mess.

The other challenge this year was that we were baking the shortcakes in one place, PM and MS were preparing the strawberries in another place, and we were eating the shortcakes in a third place.  That meant lots of logistics.
But actually, it wasn't bad at all!  After the cakes came out of the oven and cooled a little bit, mom and I went through the flipping and splitting process (complete with the use of unflavored dental floss for cutting!), and we buttered each part of the cakes.
Dad had the (excellent) idea to move the top half of each cake onto wax paper and butter it there.  We placed each top back onto the bottom with the wax paper in the middle, making for easy assembly at the park.

At the park, we had a salad potluck for lunch -- and they were so tasty!  I brought a kale and Brussels sprouts salad that KO and DO introduced me too a couple years ago.  I had been waiting for the right event to bring it to for a long time!
Then MS and I assembled the shortcakes! At the park!  On the picnic table!  It was an adventure!

It actually wasn't bad, except I had a bad habit of dropping precious strawberries off the edge of the platter, leading them to fall in the dirt.  Oops.
The pieces were smaller, but they even came complete with the M-family "sauce": smashed strawberries and half and half.  (No whipped cream allowed!)
Surprise strawberry shortcake at the park: check!

 And a few bonus scenery pictures, just for fun!

Thanks to NES, mom, dad and PM for photography!


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