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black pepper shortcake with balsamic strawberry whipped cream.

This whole thing’s my husband’s fault.

About 10 months ago Andrew talked me into starting a food blog so that I could tell the world about how I cook well on a budget.  Have you ever been convinced by someone to do something, but then you were so glad you did it?  Me too.  I love connecting with people, including those I’ve never met, over food.

Except here’s the thing:  I sorta still don’t get what I’m doing.  Don’t tell anyone, please.

I mean, there’s Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Four Square.  Holy Smokes.  How do the blogger divas keep up with it all?  One of those divas, a  favorite blogger of mine, convinced me to give this cake a try.  It was so pretty I couldn’t resist, and the combination of flavors was at first intriguing and then surprisingly spectacular.  Her cake turned out far prettier than mine (she’s a stylist and photographer too), but the end result was phenomenal.

The best part of this cake is you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry.

Bake up your shortcakes (the original recipe called them spongecakes but mine turned out more like shortcakes so I’m going with that), and then…

…top with strawberries and balsamic whipped cream.


So now I’m the one doing the convincing…you’ve simply got to try this cake!  I don’t think it will dissapoint.

Black Pepper Shortcake with Balsamic Strawberry Whipped Cream

(Adapted from Running with Tweezers – serves 8-12*)

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

1 pint whipping cream

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 pound fresh strawberries


For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or grease two 8″ springform cake pans.

Beat butter and sugar together with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time until just incorporated. Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt, until smooth – there may be a few small lumps.  Stir in vanilla and black pepper. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.  Bake until a skewer or cake tester comes out clean from the middle of the pan, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool in baking pan for 8-10 minutes then remove and allow to cool fully on a cooling rack before assembly.

To assemble:

Rinse whole strawberries and gently pat dry. Divide into thirds. Cut tops off of two-thirds of the strawberries then slice into 1/4″-1/2″ slices. Reserve the remaining third of whole strawberries to decorate the top of the cake.

In large mixing bowl, combine heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and balsamic vinegar. With electric mixer, whip the mixture until stiff peaks appear. Place one cooled cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Place sliced strawberries across the cake.  Spread half of the balsamic whipped cream across the strawberries. Top with the second cake layer. Repeat with the whipped cream mixture and top with the whole strawberries. For an interesting styling trick, leave some of them whole and cut some halves to give some dimension to the garnish on the top.

*An updated note:  Plan on the cake serving 8 if this is the only dessert.  I served about 12 at an event where there were several other dessert options.

TOTAL:  $7.62 or $.64 per serving.

Wondering how on earth I arrived at these costs?  Take a look at my shopping guide to show see what I pay for items, per serving, etc.


434 calories per serving (based on 12 servings)

30 grams of fat

39 carbs

5 grams protein

1 gram fiber (yippee!)

Mosey on over to Facebook and let me know what you think or send me a pic if you tried it!

Join the Frugal Foodie Family Food Blog Community on Facebook

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. No kidding, drool! That is SO going to happen in my kitchen when the berries get ripe up here. How finely did you grind the pepper? Coarse enough to notice a bite? Finely so it permeates the whole cake? This is awesome.

    March 28, 2012
    • Well I did mine pretty course so that we could have little bursts of pepper, but the original recipe called for fine pepper so the entire cake would taste a little more peppery. Either way I think it would be great. Let me know what you think!!

      March 28, 2012
      • Ok, I just “pinned” it so I will remember to come back to this recipe when our strawberries are ripe. (I have all of 6 pins on Pinterest, which I haven’t quite figured out–and I see that two of them are your recipes!)

        March 28, 2012
      • yay! thanks for the pin! or 2…:)

        March 28, 2012
  2. I don’t think that would serve 12 people in my house 😉 Just sayin’…


    March 28, 2012
    • You are probably right. I just added a note that I got 12 slices when I served it at an event where there were other desserts. But yes, it does go quickly…:)

      March 28, 2012

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  1. Jersey Fresh strawberries are here! « Down-Home South Jersey

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