Cake flour is the secret ingredient in this lusciously light shortcake. Make sure that you use pure cake flour as opposed to self-rising cake flour, which is similarly packaged. This dessert is at its best within 30 minutes of assembly.
Sherry Yard, the pastry chef at Spago in Beverly Hills, California, loved strawberry shortcake as a kid, even though her mother made it with "plain old pound cake," she says. Since then, Yard has improved the recipe with a (formerly) secret trio of ingredients–high-quality white chocolate in the batter, creme fraiche and heavy cream in the icing–which make this all-American dessert especially rich and moist.
Pastry chef Michelle Polzine makes her riff on strawberry shortcake with sweet, intensely flavored Seascape strawberries and fragrant Meyer lemon cream. But Seascapes and Meyer lemons overlap seasonally for only a few weeks. Once they're gone, Polzine says, standard lemons are also terrific.