This Unexpected Ingredient Will Take Your Strawberry Shortcakes To The Next Level

Some of the very best desserts are simple classics, but just because something is tried and true does not mean it cannot be improved. Strawberry shortcake is one such dessert that can be made even better with a single addition. While you might think that adding vanilla or almond extract to the cake or cream to bring out more flavor could be key, or even just grating some milk or dark chocolate over the top for a bit of flair, but the real secret ingredient is a kitchen staple you probably wouldn't expect — cooked egg yolks!

Most strawberry shortcake recipes do not call for eggs at all (such as this recipe by the berry experts at Driscoll's or our boozy strawberry shortcake recipe). Instead, the recipe relies on butter and heavy cream to hold the batter together, while baking soda or baking powder help the cakes rise. So eggs are not a binding agent for the crumbly cake, but according to renowned chef James Beard, adding egg yolks gives the cakes a "perfectly tender crumb."

You need to cook the yolks first

Unlike other cakes that call for raw eggs or raw egg yolks alone, James Beard's strawberry shortcake recipe calls for the egg yolks to be cooked before being added into the cake batter. Beard recommends using the egg yolks from two hard-boiled eggs "pushed through a small mesh sieve" and adding them to the cake better right before you pour in the heavy whipping cream. This addition will make the cake all the more tender. (Just make sure you mix in the hard-boiled egg yolks well so they are evenly incorporated.)

The Kitchn tested the unique addition, saying it creates "gorgeous, flaky layers; a deeply rich flavor; and a tender, almost-creamy texture." The outlet's only note was you may want to top your shortcakes with some raw sugar for a crunchy textural element.

While adding boiled egg yolk to your baked goods might sound like an unusual tip, it's not totally unheard of. Good Housekeeping looked into the science behind the technique after baker Briony employed it on "The Great British Bake Off" to rave reviews. And after all, if it's good enough for James Beard, it's definitely good enough for everyone else. So next time you're craving strawberry shortcake, why not boil a few eggs and give this surprising addition a try?