For me, a classic strawberry shortcake represents the beginning of spring.
I don’t just go by the trees blossoming or the extra sunshine to mark the start of the season, but instead my first bite into a strawberry shortcake! Plus, a homemade strawberry shortcake is the best way to use fresh strawberries and show them off in a truly delightful dessert.
Growing up my parents had this a weird idea of making easy strawberry shortcake. It was a mix of storebought pound cake, sliced and filled with a cool whip and fresh strawberries.
I did enjoy it a bit, but once I tried the real version at my grandma’s, I was obsessed with the genuine thing! The soft and crispy shortbread filled with homemade delicious whipped cream and softened strawberries are an absolute win.
Today, I’m sharing this delicious shortbread cake topped with the classic choice of chopped strawberries, because sometimes a pairing just can’t be improved on.
This dessert is so addictive and delicious. You may not be able to go back to storebought after this!
Let’s get started.
What Is a Shortcake, Anyway?
If you’re thinking, Wait, I thought this was a shortbread cake recipe. What’s going on? then don’t worry!
The term “short” is an English word meaning “to make something crispy” with fat. This means shortbread and shortcake are really similar, though traditional shortcakes tend to be leavened with baking soda or powder and typically have eggs.
Of course, the biggest difference is in the end product. Shortbreads are more likely to resemble sweet biscuits or cookies, and shortcake tends to be, well, a cake.
This recipe is more like a shortbread, but the end result is much like a classic strawberry shortcake!
The fat used to make a traditional shortbread cake can be either lard or butter. I prefer butter and always make my shortbread cake with it.
Strawberry Shortbread Cake Tips
Now that we’re clear on shortcakes, let’s get to this delicious shortbread cake recipe in particular.
How To Make Perfect Strawberries
Strawberries are great fruit on its own, but to improve them, you can macerate them.
The maceration is a process where you soak fruits in liquid and sugar to soften them, so they can release its own juices. Maceration is similar to margination, where the fruits absorb the flavors of the liquid they are being soaked in.
I always macerate my strawberries because even those firm ones get nicely sweet and soft.
You can macerate your strawberries overnight too. The longer the strawberries sit, the better the flavor they will have. The flavors simply concentrate and intensify during this long period.
Because they tend to become soft, when removing strawberries, I suggest that you use a slotted spoon. If you use a plain spoon you will bring the juices to the shortbread and make it soggy.
If you have any strawberries left, feel free to use them over vanilla ice cream, on Belgian pancakes, or to top off your breakfast oatmeal.
Can I Bake the Shortbread Dough in a Single Pan?
I made this strawberry shortcake as individual portions. I think they are great for serving individually, because every cake has a perfect appearance. And who doesn’t like sitting down to their own personal cake?
Still, if you want to turn this into a single cake, you can do that.
Just make the dough following the recipe below, and then divide the mixture into three equal pieces. Place the dough in a prepared cake tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until it looks golden.
What Else Can I Add?
Strawberries and lemon are a match made in heaven. Strawberries and basil are, too. I find these combinations are the best when it comes to strawberries.
When adding lemon, I like to add a finely grated zest directly into the crust. This really elevates the shortcake dough and gives a nice twist to the dessert.
When it comes to the basil, I add a little to the heavy cream. This brings an amazing herbal twist to the recipe, and turn it into a genuine gourmet cake.
To infuse the heavy cream with basil, you will have to bring the cream just to a simmer, and pour it over a handful of fresh basil leaves. Chill the cream for three hours, and strain.
There are other options you can try, such as adding lavender or infusing the cream with cardamom.
The process is the same as when you add basil; you heat heavy cream and pour over the herbs or spices before chilling, and straining. Make sure the cream does not boil, otherwise you will not be able to whip it.
How To Assemble
Once you have the shortcake baked and chilled, and you have whipped the heavy cream and mercerized the strawberries, it is time to assemble the cake.
Take the shortcake and top it with heavy cream. You can spoon it or pipe from a bag. Add drained strawberries on, and close with a second piece of the shortbread cake. Repeat the heavy cream layer and finish off with the strawberries!
Note: If by any chance you end up with extra shortbread, you can break it into pieces and add it as an ice cream topping, muffin topping, or on your morning yogurt bowl.
How To Make A Shortbread Cake – Strawberry Shortcake Style
Prepare the strawberries: In a bowl, combine strawberries and sugar. Let them sit for at least an hour, or overnight (preferred).
Make the shortbread: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder.
Add butter and work it in with clean hands or a pastry cutter. For this purpose, you can also use the food processor.
Pour in the buttermilk and stir until the dough comes together. The dough should be a bit saggy.
Roll out the dough on a kitchen counter into a rectangle about a ½-inch thick.
Using a sharp cookie cutter, cut 24 circles from the dough. When cutting, just press the dough, without twisting the cutter, as the twisting will prevent biscuits from raising.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with a parchment paper.
Brush the dough with heavy cream and bake for 15-16 minutes.
Cool the biscuits, while you make the whipped cream: Beat heavy cream with vanilla and sugar until you get a whipped cream consistency.
Assemble the cakes: Spoon the whipped cream in a piping bag and pipe over the biscuits. Add a generous amount of strawberries and sandwich it with a second piece of shortbread on top. Pipe more heavy cream on top and finish off with strawberries.
Serve and enjoy.
For the strawberries:
- 6 cups quartered strawberries
- ¼ cup sugar
For the shortcake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- ¾ cup cold unsalted cubed butter
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
For the heavy cream:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Prepare the strawberries: In a bowl, combine strawberries and sugar. Let them sit for at least an hour, or overnight (preferred).
- Make the shortbread cake: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add butter and work it in with clean hands or a pastry cutter. For this purpose, you can also use the food processor.
- Pour in the buttermilk and stir until the dough comes together. The dough should be a bit saggy.
- Roll out the dough on a kitchen counter into a rectangle about a ½-inch thick. Using a sharp cookie cutter, cut 24 circles from the dough. When cutting, just press the dough, without twisting the cutter, as the twisting will prevent biscuits from raising.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with a parchment paper.
- Brush the dough with heavy cream and bake for 15-16 minutes.
- Make the whipped cream while the biscuits cool:
- Beat heavy cream with vanilla and sugar until you get a whipped cream consistency.
- Assemble the cakes: Spoon the whipped cream in a piping bag and pipe over the biscuits. Add a generous amount of strawberries and sandwich it with a second piece of shortbread on top. Pipe more heavy cream on top and finish off with strawberries.
- Serve and enjoy.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 412mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 3gSugar: 15gProtein: 5g
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