Tender, flaky biscuits, luscious fresh strawberries, and fluffy vanilla whipped cream combine to make the perfect dessert.
More than any other delicacy, Strawberry shortcake evokes spring and summer festivities in me. Strawberry shortcake was served at practically every family barbeque and outdoor celebration when I was a kid, and it’s been one of my go-to recipes for entertaining ever since.
Strawberry shortcake is excellent all year, and the berries are available every month. But, for me, this dish shines brightest from April to June, when strawberries are most numerous, tastiest, and delicious.
While there is no wrong way to serve strawberry shortcake – it’s delicious with store-bought pound cake or boxed vanilla cupcakes — I guarantee you’ll be a believer once you try it with light, delicate, buttery handmade biscuits.
I wouldn’t be shocked if this classic strawberry shortcake dish, made with handmade sweetened biscuits, juicy strawberries, and vanilla whipped cream, became a favorite among friends and family.
What is strawberry shortcake?
Though you’ve probably seen numerous versions, basic strawberry shortcake has the following ingredients:
Shortcakes are flaky, lightly sweetened biscuits. They’re soft but strong enough to withstand copious amounts of berries and cream.
Strawberries that have been combined with sugar and allowed to sit until the juices have been released.
Sweetened with sugar and flavored with vanilla, homemade whipped cream.
To serve, cut each shortcake in half and top with a tablespoon of strawberries and juices and a dollop of whipped cream. That’s all!
How to make the best strawberry shortcake
Fortunately for all of us, making homemade strawberry shortcake isn’t difficult, and this simple recipe takes just over an hour from start to finish.
1. Begin with easy strawberry shortcakes
Classic Shortcake is fairly simple, but my version includes a shortcut. Instead of spreading out the dough, cutting rounds, and then re-rolling and cutting the scraps, I like to make one large square of dough and cut it into smaller squares.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, then chop in cold unsalted butter with a pastry blender (or two knives; alternatively, rub it with your fingertips). The mixture should be sandy, with pea-sized butter.
You can use whole milk or half-and-half for the liquid; both will add fantastic flavor without being too heavy. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and combine everything using a rubber spatula and your hands. Pour the mixture onto a work surface.
To achieve flaky layers, rather than kneading the dough, fold it over on top of itself, as you would a book. Then, flatten the dough with your hands or a rolling pin to approximately 1 inch thick, dusting with extra flour to prevent sticking and lifting the dough with a bench scraper as needed. Repeat this step twice more. This keeps the dough smooth and boosts the flakiness and height of the biscuits.
Form the dough into an 8-inch square by rolling or patting it. A rolling pin works well for spreading the dough in an even 1-inch layer, but you’ll need to shape the corners with your hands. Next, place the dough in 9 equal squares on a baking sheet coated with parchment paper.
Brush shortcakes with a simple egg wash of beaten egg and water for lovely, shining tops.
Bake at 425°F for 18-20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Move to the strawberries while the shortcakes bake and cool to room temperature.
2. Prepare the strawberries
“macerate” refers to marinating fruit in sugar to release its natural juices, making it exceptionally juicy and sweet. A dash of vanilla gives even more flavor.
Combine quartered or sliced strawberries, sugar, and one teaspoon of vanilla essence in a medium mixing basin. Set them aside while you make the heavy cream, and remove the shortcakes from the oven.
3. Make homemade whipped cream
Beat heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer (stand or hand-held) until soft peaks form. Don’t overmix; the whipped cream should still droop slightly when spooned out.
If you over-whip your whipped cream and it becomes thick and lumpy, add more heavy whipping cream, 1 tablespoon at a time to soften it.
4. Time to serve
Now comes the fun part: putting everything together. Set out the shortcakes, strawberries, and whipped cream for your guests to assemble, or serve assembled strawberry shortcakes on a tray or individual plates.
Then all that’s left is to have fun!
How to store strawberry shortcake and prep it ahead of time
If you’re wondering how long strawberry shortcake lasts, the answer is simple: The same day the shortcakes are baked, homemade strawberry shortcake is at its best. Don’t worry if you want to prepare this dessert ahead of time for a simpler serving later! You have a lot of possibilities.
First and foremost, strawberry shortcakes can be frozen. Shaped shortcake dough can be frozen for up to 3 days on a sheet pan covered in plastic wrap. Then, bake it straight from the freezer, increasing the baking time by a few minutes. Baked shortcakes can also be stored at room temperature for 1 day or in an airtight zip-top bag in the freezer for about 1 month; thaw before consuming.
The macerated (prepared) sliced strawberries and whipped cream can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Before serving, give the whipped cream a thorough toss and, if necessary, add a tablespoon of heavy cream to loosen it up.
Learn more: How to Cook Risotto Without Stirring