Recipe Sleuth: Oya’s Strawberry Shortcake

This twist on a classic dessert has quickly become one of the restaurant's most popular sweets.

Oya’s strawberry shortcake has been on the menu for only three months, but it’s already outselling the restaurant’s ever-popular banana bread pudding. What makes this version unique? Traditional whipped cream gets a Southeast-Asian accent of coconut milk, and the strawberries are marinated in a citrusy juice. Best of all, it’s a cinch to replicate.

Have a restaurant recipe you’d like sniffed out? E-mail recipesleuth@washingtonian.com.

Oya’s Strawberry Shortcake

Makes six individual cakes.

Bake the yellow cake:

2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting the molds
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, softened, plus more for greasing the molds
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup milk
6 3-inch circular cake molds or aluminum soufflé cups

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour the cake molds or soufflé cups. In a bowl, combine 2 cups cake flour, baking powder, and salt with a wire whisk. Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Carefully beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Add the vanilla, and mix until completely combined. Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk.

Bake the cakes for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then invert them onto a rack and cool completely before frosting.

Prepare the strawberries:

1 pint strawberries, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
¼ cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange

Place the strawberries in a mixing bowl and add the lime juice, orange juice, sugar, and orange zest. Mix with a wooden spoon, and transfer to a non-metal container. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until ready to use.

Make the coconut whipped cream:

1 cup heavy cream
1½ teaspoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour the heavy cream into a mixing bowl and whip with an electric mixer until it reaches a nearly stiff consistency. Add the powdered sugar, coconut milk, and vanilla. Beat the ingredients until the cream holds peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Put together the strawberry shortcakes:

To assemble the dessert, cut each cake in half lengthwise. Place the bottom half in a bowl, and add a layer of strawberries and whipped cream on top, then top with the other half. Add with another layer of strawberries and whipped cream. Garnish with a mint sprig (optional) and serve.

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