It's strawberry season here in Ontario and oh my goodness, do you know what that means?
Yup, it means it's time to make strawberry shortcake whenever possible! YUM!
On Dishes and Dust Bunnies, I often talk about how much the food and desserts of my childhood influence the recipes and creations I share with you. This classic strawberry shortcake recipe is definitely inspired by the tasty ones my grandmother used to make.
I remember excitedly rushing to pick fresh strawberries straight from the garden at my grandmother's house to use in her tasty shortcakes. I'd carry my little basket and get right to work. 🙂
When it was dinner time, my grandfather would return back to the house after a long day of splitting wood for fire wood or from his other duties as a farmer. I still remember how happy Papa was when Grammie would surprise him with freshly made strawberry shortcake after dinner.
It was the perfect reward for a day of hard work on the farm! 😀
I'm pleased to say the version of strawberry shortcake in this post reminds me quite a bit of what my grandmother so lovingly made for the family all those years ago.
You may or may not be able to tell from the pictures, but when I made these it was one heck of a scorcher of a hot day!
My homemade whipped cream became a little melty as I was taking the photos for this BUT I think that adds to some of the homemade charm. 🙂
Can we just take a moment to appreciate those homemade shortcake layers?
OMG – they're flaky, moist and perfectly sweet!
I'd describe strawberry shortcakes as being the delicious babies of a flaky biscuit and a shortbread cookie. Sounds good, eh?
What is strawberry shortcake made of?
Whipping up a delicious strawberry shortcake is easier than you may think! It requires just a few simple ingredients: all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cold butter (unsalted butter notably) and milk . You’ll also need some fresh strawberries (to prepare strawberries wash them, remove the stems and slice them) and fresh whipped cream or heavy cream for the topping. Most strawberry shortcake recipes will also include some decorative coarse sugar or powdered sugar to sprinkle on top of the shortcake!
What is the difference between a cake and a shortcake?
The main difference between a cake and a shortcake is the texture. Cakes are typically fluffier, airier and lighter than a shortcake whereas shortcakes are a biscuit, meaning they are crispier, crumblier and more dense than a cake. Shortcake got its name from an old English cooking term. The term “short” means something made crisp by adding fat to it and butter (which is made of fat) is a major ingredient in shortcake.
What makes a shortcake a shortcake?
A shortcake is a type of biscuit-style dessert that is popular in the United States and England.
The signature characteristic of a shortcake is its crumbly texture due to the higher ratio of fat (butter) to flour used in the recipe. This crumbliness helps the layers to hold together while soaking up any liquid or cream they’re topped with – which makes them extra flavorful. Additionally, shortcakes can be served with either sweet or savory toppings such as fruit, jams, custard or cream cheese depending on preference. The addition of coarse sugar over the top gives it an extra touch of sweetness and crunch!
What to Serve with Strawberry Shortcake:
Powdered sugar is a fitting topping to dust or sprinkle overtop.
You can serve this room temperature cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. Adding this creamy, cool element brings a nice contrast against the warm cake and sweet sliced strawberries, making for an extra special treat.
For those who like something tart, serve with a spoonful of lemon curd or sprinkle a lemon zest over the top. The tangy lemon juice flavor pairs perfectly with the sweet strawberries and cake. Lemons and strawberries go well together in general.
You can garnish the strawberry shortcake with fresh mint leaves, which will both visually garnish and enrich the flavor. Fresh mint can also help aid digestion.
The strawberry shortcake can also be served with a drizzle of warm chocolate sauce, it is a bit decadent though! Or possibly melt a few pieces of your favorite white or dark chocolate bar and drizzle it over the cake.
How to Store Strawberry Shortcake:
Store all ingredients separately and assemble them only when ready to serve. When serving it is not recommended to assemble more strawberry shortcake than you are able to eat, as refrigerating or freezing the leftover shortcake assembled with whipped cream and strawberries will make the biscuit portion soggy and unappealing, taking away the biscuit's crispiness. If you want to refrigerate or freeze your shortcake, only do so to the biscuit portion, and assemble it after taking the biscuit out of the fridge or freezer.
Store your strawberry shortcake biscuits in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help keep the moisture levels high and prevent it from drying out. It’s important to ensure that there isn't too much air inside the container – sealing it tightly helps with this. You can also put some plastic wrap on top of each piece before putting it into the storage container for an added layer of protection.
Strawberry Shortcake is best served at room temperature so eating it directly out of the refrigerator is not recommended, leave it out and let it warm up.
Can I freeze Strawberry Shortcake?
The biscuits should store in the freezer for up to three months so you can get the taste of strawberry shortcake without having to make it from scratch every time! When you are ready to eat, be sure to thaw overnight in the fridge before serving and remember that shortcake tastes best at room temperature so don't eat it straight from the fridge.
How long is Strawberry Shortcake good for? (fridge, freezer)
Keep the biscuits, the strawberries and the whipped cream stored separately and unassembled. The biscuits should last between 4-5 days in the refrigerator and approximately 3 months in a freezer.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and please let me know how they turned out for you in the comments section below the recipe – I'd love to hear from you!Print
- 16 oz fresh strawberries, washed, stems removed and sliced
- 2 cups whipped cream (My homemade whipped cream recipe is coming soon!)
- Optional: Some decorative coarse sugar to sprinkle on top
For the shortcakes:
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour PLUS extra for rolling out the dough
- 3 tsps baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut up
- 3/4 cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Combine dry shortcake ingredients in a medium mixing bowl using a whisk.
- Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or 2 forks. The butter and dry ingredients should start to combine and be about pea sized. You can use your hands to break apart the butter but try not to over mix.
- Gradually add the milk to the mixture and combine with your hands or a wooden spoon to form a dough. The dough is supposed to be crumbly so don't over mix.
- For best results, at this point, after the dough has come together I chill it in the fridge for about 10 minutes.
- Take the dough from the fridge and drop it onto a floured surface. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough.
- Roll the dough out into the shape of a rectangle about ½” thick. Sprinkle with a little flour.
- Fold the square of dough in half and roll it out to about ½” thick again.
- Fold over one last time and roll out to ½” thick. Sprinkle with a little flour.
- Using a square cookie cutter (I used a 3.5″ cutter) with ruffled edges, cut out the shortcake and place them onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Leave at least 1″ of space around each one.
- Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until tops are slightly golden.
- Optional – Brush melted butter over the tops of the biscuits once they come out of the oven.
- Allow shortcakes to cool on a wire rack before assembling the shortcakes.
To assemble the shortcakes:
- Onto a plate place one of the shortcake layers.
- On top of this, place slices of fresh strawberries and top with whipped cream.
- Place the 2nd layer of shortcake on top. Add sliced strawberries and top with whipped cream.
- Optional: Sprinkle with coarse decorative sugar for a nice sparkly presentation. 🙂
Regarding the sliced strawberries: Depending on your personal preferences, you may want to sprinkle the strawberries with some sugar before assembling the shortcakes. My family prefers to have the strawberries plain, but if you have more of a sweet tooth, you can add some sugar. If you'd like to do this, I'd recommend using 1/4-1/2 cup of sugar for the 16 oz of strawberries in the recipe – you can of course adjust this to your tastes. Combine the strawberry slices with the sugar in a mixing bowl and allow them to soak it in for a few minutes before assembling the shortcakes.
Regarding the shortcakes: The method for making the shortcakes is similar to making biscuits. If you'd like a flaky texture for your shortcakes, make sure that your butter stays as cold as possible when working with the dough. When you roll out the dough, try to work with the rolling pin quickly so the butter doesn't melt into the dough too much. The cold butter layers will make little pockets of steam in the shortcakes as they bake which is what creates flakiness. 🙂
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 18 mins
- Category: Dessert