Easy Homemade Strawberry Shortcake
These really are the simplest and tastiest strawberry shortcakes! Made with easy to make buttermilk light and tender biscuits, fresh strawberries, and vanilla whipped cream. Everything is made from scratch and is well worth the extra effort, particularly when strawberries are in season! No dessert is more loved than strawberry shortcake. It’s a classic summertime treat that you just have to try!
There are so many variations of this tasty dessert depending on where you are from. Different regions have different recipes. In the UK traditional strawberry shortcake is served this way - as biscuits with whipped cream and fruit while Stateside yellow cakes or sponge cake with strawberry syrup are used. In other areas, angel food cake or something like it is topped off with fresh fruits like berries, peaches, and cherries. I did a biscuit version here as this is the classic shortcake version I know and love. It’s simple to make and so delicious.
Strawberry Shortcake Ingredients:
- All purpose flour - is what I generally use but often switch it out with a good GF 1-1 all purpose flour if I want to make these gluten free
- Aluminum free baking powder – This will help prevent any metallic taste in your sweet biscuit recipe. This doesn’t always happen with regular baking powder but is a possibility so I would recommend an aluminum free one if possible.
- Baking soda - is a leavening agent that helps give these biscuits a good rise
- Butter - I use unsalted here and I make sure that it’s well chilled. I will either grate it or cube it and then place in the freezer while I gather the rest of my ingredients. The old biscuit-making adage of “Cold Ingredients, Hot Oven” is very true here. You’ll want to start with very cold ingredients and not handle them too much before popping the biscuits into a oven to bake. A vegan butter will work here as well for a plant based version.
- Buttermilk -Buttermilk has some acidity and generally makes dough more tender. They have a better crumb and acid to balance the amount of butter and also add some tanginess. For Homemade buttermilk: for every 1 cup of milk add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar.Allow to sit a few minutes to thicken before using. OR a good substitute is also sour cream diluted with a bit of half and half which makes it sweeter and not so thick. Feel free to substitute with whole milk if needed. Coconut milk or a plant based milk will also work here.
- Homemade Whipped Cream – Don’t shortchange yourself by using frozen whipped topping in this strawberry shortcake recipe. Use heavy whipping cream to make the “real deal” and you’ll be glad you did. Coconut whip will also work here for a plant based version.
- Fresh strawberries- Fresh is always best. I like to toss them in sugar and either a little vanilla or some freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice. An Orange liqueur or even champagne would be nice too if you want to make these a bit boozy. Frozen berries can also be used- see recipe notes below for more details.
How to make strawberry shortcake
- Macerate your Strawberries “Macerating” simply means soaking fruit in liquid to soften them and add sweetness. This is the first thing I do and allow them to sit while I get the rest of my ingredients ready and bake off the biscuits. I like to give them 20-30 min or you can even prepare the strawberries the night before to save yourself some time the next day.
- Make your Sweet Biscuits A large food processor or a pastry cutter, or your fingers are the recommended tools to prepare this dough. Simply process or toss the dry ingredients then cut in the butter. Stir in the buttermilk until dough forms then you have a few options at forming your biscuits. You can either simply scoop them out and place them onto your baking sheet or you can pat the dough flat on a lightly floured surface and cut them out with a biscuit cutter. (Be sure to dip the cutter or can rim into flour before pressing straight down into the dough. Don’t twist while cutting out the biscuits or they won’t rise appropriately.) OR you can also shape the dough into an even rectangle and cut it into squares. (*making good biscuits requires you to handle the dough as little as possible or they will be hard and tough) Then simply brush with buttermilk and sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake until golden.
- Make your whipped cream - simply beat together the heavy whipping cream, sugar if using vanilla until soft peaks. I tend to not add the sugar because I think the strawberries lend enough sweetness to this recipe but that is your call. The trick to getting the creamiest, silkiest whipped cream is to whip it on medium-high speed and not high speed. It’ll take a little longer but the whipped cream will have a more stable internal structure that’ll hold up better over time. I also slightly under-whip my whipped cream. It shouldn’t be lumpy and should be pillowy soft and slump slightly when you scoop it out for these shortcakes.
- Assemble your Strawberry Shortcakes Once the sweet biscuits are cool, assemble the shortcakes by cutting the biscuits in half and dolloping a generous scoop of homemade whipped cream to the bottom half of each biscuit. Top with some of the macerated strawberries then add the top half of the biscuit to make. Top off each shortcake with another dollop of whipped cream and some more strawberries. I like to add a small sprig of fresh mint for presentation but that is optional. Serve immediately and enjoy!!
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For the shortcakes/biscuits
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed or grated
- 1 cup buttermilk + 2 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons coarse/ turbinado sugar for sprinkling
For the berries
- 8 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (you could also use lemon juice instead)
For the whipped cream
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons sugar, powdered or granulated (optional)
For the berries
- Mix together the sliced strawberries, ¼ cup sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl.
- Allow berries to rest until juices develop, while you prepare the shortcakes/biscuits
For the shortcakes/biscuits
- Preheat oven to 425°F and Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Add the cold cubed or grated butter and cut it into the flour mixture using your fingers, a knife or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (You can also do this in the food processor as shown in the video
- Place flour mixture into food processor with the butter; pulse several times to cut butter into the flour mixture.
- Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl, and proceed.)Poor in the in buttermilk and mix with fork or spatula until the flour mixture is moistened. Do not overmix or biscuits won’t rise properly, stop mixing when all dry bits are incorporated.
- Drop ⅓-cup scoops of the dough 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with remaining 2 tablespoons of buttermilk. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. (Or you can empty out dough onto lightly floured surface, pat into a ¾ inch thick rectangle. Cut into 2.75 or 3-inch circles with a biscuit cutter. (Tip: Do not twist the biscuit cutter when pressing down into the dough, just press down and lift straight up) Re-roll/flatten any scraps and cut more circles until you have around 10-12 biscuits.)
- Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, approx 12-15 minutes. Let cool completely.
For the whipped cream
- While they are cooling, in a large bowl beat the heavy cream, 2 Tablespoons sugar if using, and vanilla on medium-high speed until soft-medium peaks form, about 3 minutes.
- Slice the biscuits in half and layer with strawberries and their juices and whipped cream. Serve immediately.
Make ahead instructions
- Strawberries can be made and stored in an airtight container in the fridge 1 day in advance.
- Whipped Cream can be prepared and stored in and airtight container in the fridge up to 1 day in advance.
- Biscuits can be baked up to 3 days in advance and stored covered tightly at room temperature– or freeze for up to 1 month in a freezer bag. Thaw completely before using. If desired, warm them in a 375°F oven for 5-10 minutes to crisp up the tops.
- If you want to freeze them BEFORE baking, scoop and drop on a parchment-lined sheet pan, double-wrap with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 week. Unwrap and bake straight from frozen, adding a few minutes to the baking time.
- Buttermilk: You can substitute whole milk for buttermilk if desired. You won’t get that tangy distinct buttermilk flavour though but they will still be delicious and rise well.
- Frozen sliced strawberries can be used in place of fresh - fresh is always ideal but frozen is still delicious. Just allow them to thaw and then use as directed in the recipe.
- Baking Powder: sometimes you get an acidic or chemical aftertaste when using regular baking powder - to avoid this possibility - try and use an aluminum free labeled baking powder.