An old fashioned strawberry shortcake recipe scream spring and I pretty much don’t know anyone who doesn’t like them. And I am not talking about those plastic wrapped shortcakes they sell near the strawberries in the grocery aisle – those are basically a twinkie cake and not what real shortcake even remotely resembles. I am talking a traditional strawberry shortcake recipe with fresh cream. The real deal!
Why is it called shortcake?
Shortcake is an English cooking/baking term referencing something crisp with the addition of fat, the fat in these being butter. Real shortcakes are are similar to a sweetened buttermilk biscuit, and they are f’’ing delicious.
They are not too sweet, and kind of plain. This is a good thing because it gives your mouth all the room it needs to take in the flavor of the strawberries, which are at the height of their season right now. They are simple to make, and worth it.
To make an old fashioned strawberry shortcake from scratch you will need a few things for the sweet biscuits that you likely have on hand, and of course, strawberries:
- Flour. Regular all purpose.
- Sugar. For both the biscuit and to macerate the strawberries.
- Salt. For the biscuits.
- Baking powder. This is the leavening ingredient in the biscuits.
- Butter. The fat element of the biscuits.
- Lemon juice. Helps break down the fresh strawberries with the sugar - part of the macerating process.
- Heavy cream. Whipped to perfection.
How do you prepare the strawberries?
For strawberry shortcake I like to mix macerated strawberries with not macerated one, for the best texture. This gives just enough sweet strawberry syrup for the shortcakes to soak up too.
What are macerated strawberries?
Macerating is kind of like marinating fruit. Does fruit in peak season really need to be marinated? Probably not, but it softens the texture and release some of the juices to make a gorgeous little bit of syrup.
Simply take your fruit, sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice and let it sit for a bit. Soon you will see a little pool of syrup, exactly what you want your shortcake to soak in.
Tips for success
- Don't overwork your biscuit dough. Biscuit dough can go from light, crumbly and flaky to hard and tough sh-t in no time. Be gentle with your dough. And you can make this dough into individual shortcakes vs. one large one. Cut your cook time to 15 mins.
- Don't macerate all your sliced strawberries. You want the texture balance with some firmer fresh strawberries too.
- Don't over whip your cream. This old fashioned strawberry shortcake recipe is not something I recommend making ahead of time, or keeping leftover for long. You don't need a firm super whipped cream, soft peaks is what you really want here.
Now typically you just use whipped cream in a traditional strawberry shortcake recipe. And really, that is all this needs. But what would really be the point of giving you ANOTHER strawberry shortcake recipe if I didn’t do something a little different. Enter strawberry shortcake with lemon curd. You can make your own (sometimes I do because I enjoy it), but it is time consuming and may scare some of you away…so buy it. Bon Maman makes a great lemon curd that is natural and has all the ingredients you’d put together in a homemade curd.
Simply whip the cream, and then fold in the lemon curd. And then you have a new take on an old fashioned classic!
Other strawberry desserts you will love...
- biscuit cutter optional
For the strawberries
- 3-4 cups sliced strawberries about 1 ½ pounds
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons sugar
For the biscuits
- 3 cups flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk that is super cold like maybe put in freezer for a few minutes
- ¾ cup butter melted
- 2 tablespoon butter, melted to brush on the shortcake before baking
For the whipped cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoon powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- Add sugar and lemon juice to three cups of the sliced strawberries and let them sit while you make your biscuits. Leave a cup or so of strawberries out.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
- Place the buttermilk into the freezer. Melt the butter and allow it to cool a tiny bit. Stir the melted butter in to the buttermilk and stir so you have tiny clumps of butter in the buttermilk.
- Add the buttermilk/butter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir together into a dough. Be careful to not over mix or you’ll end up with tough biscuits (blah). So do it gently and eventually you’ll probably want to use your hands to form the dough.
- Dump the dough out onto a floured surface, and pat it out with your hands and then fold it over a few times and pat it out again – this will make it flaky (that is a good thing) and when you bake them they will rise and puff up nice and fluffy. Pat out to about one inch again.
- Shape the dough into a large biscuit, around 7-inches around. Brush the top with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
- Bake for about 25-30 mins, and try to bake in the center rack to ensure even cooking. Cool totally on a rack.
- Put the heavy cream and powdered sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and beat until thickened. Then add the vanilla and continue to beat until soft peaks.
- To assemble your dessert, cut the shortcake in half. Then spoon half of the whipped cream onto the shortcake, and top with the macerated strawberries, and add a few fresh sliced (unmacerated) berries on top of that, and then remaining whipped cream and top with other half of the shortcake.