Strawberry Shortcake is a classic all-American dessert and our recipe will become a star at all your summer parties.
Strawberry Shortcake is a quintessential late spring and summer dessert. It’s easy, beautiful, the strawberries are bursting with flavor and it’s light and summery. It’s the perfect dessert to bring to a BBQ or serve your family after a busy week day.
While we do say that making it from scratch like in this strawberry shortcake recipe is totally worth the work, if you’re pressed for time try our shortcut Bisquick Strawberry Shortcake.
Start With Fresh Strawberries
At least 30 minutes before putting the dessert together, you want to get your berries prepared. Why? Because giving the cut strawberries a little time after being mixed with sugar allows that lovely and sweet strawberry juice to release. Getting a little bit of that juice soaked into the shortcake is a definite treat.
Try adding in some blueberries as well for extra flavor and color!
Secret To Amazing Shortcake
So, I’ve got a secret that makes the shortcake amazing. Most recipes use butter as the fat source, but this is shortcake. Shouldn’t we be using shortening? I compared both fat sources and decided on shortening for a couple reasons.
- It’s no-knead. This saves 3-5 minutes, which may not seem like a significant amount of time, but when you account for getting out additional tools (ie: a cutting board and more flour), and cleaning those additional tools, it’s worth the ease.
- It tastes better with the whipped cream and berries. The shortbread made with shortening tastes delicate and simple on its own – one could say almost boring. But when you top it with fresh whipped cream and sweetened strawberries, its delicate flavor and texture pairs perfectly with the toppings.
Because it’s no knead, this is a foolproof recipe that yields a lighter and more tender shortbread. Don’t get me wrong. The butter version isn’t bad. It’s really delicious and tastes better by itself, but we’re making strawberries the highlight of this dish so we want them to play together to perfection. The distinct butter flavor and extra saltiness of the butter-based shortcake makes the whole dish feel heavier, which seems contrary to the concept of a light and summery dessert.
If you’d prefer to stick to butter though, give these amazing Buttermilk Biscuits a try as your base. Just add 1/4 cup of sugar to the recipe.
Whip Your Own Heavy Cream
I also advocate for freshly whipped cream. Even though it’s an additional step, take a few minutes to whip up your very own. It’ll hold up better, especially if you’re serving it outside. Canned whipped cream seems to melt after a few minutes and becomes a complete liquidy mess.
You’ll want to whip the heavy cream with a hand mixer or with the whisk attachment of your stand mixer. Beat until medium-stiff peaks form. Need a visual guide? See the difference between soft and stiff peaks here.
Want to get even fancier with it? Infuse the heavy cream before whipping, like we do with basil and lemon peel for this Grilled Shortcake.Print
- 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 cups flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- First, mix together sliced strawberries, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and lemon juice. Let stand for at least 30 minutes before serving. If making further in advance, cover and refrigerate.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Mix flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Grab two knives or a pastry blender to cut shortening into dry ingredients. Add shortening to dry ingredients, and cut through shortening to distribute it through the flour mixture. Once completed, shortening should be in pea-sized balls and distributed throughout flour mixture. There may be some excess flour, and that’s fine.
- In a separate bowl, add milk, egg, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Mix until combined. Add to dry ingredients. Mix together with a fork until just barely incorporated (do not overmix).
- Divide dough into 12 equal sized balls and place each on a greased cookie sheet. You can lightly pat down the top of each ball for a flat top if desired.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.
- While the cakes cool, make your whipped cream. Pour heavy cream into large mixing bowl, then add powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.
- Beat cream with a hand mixer on medium-high speed. Beat until medium-stiff peaks form. This should take a couple minutes. Serve or refrigerate immediately.
- To assemble shortcakes, slice each shortcake in half, so there’s a top and bottom. Place the bottom half on a serving plate. Top with ¼ cup berries then a dollop (about a tablespoon) of whipped cream.
- Place top of shortcake over whipped cream. Add remaining berries and cream to each plate if desired. Serve immediately.
This post originally appeared in June 2018 and was revised and republished in April 2022.