Homemade Strawberry Shortcake is the essence of summer and meant to be enjoyed throughout the entire summer season. For our family, it starts on Mother's Day It's our family tradition to have the first strawberry shortcake on that day. If you've never made it, strawberry shortcake is easy to make from scratch and way better than store-bought. It consists of only 3 ingredients: homemade sweet biscuits, fresh strawberries, and homemade whipped cream.
When we make it for Mother's Day we always hope it will be with local strawberries, but this being Oregon sometimes the berries may not show up until a little later.
But as summer progresses the berries become sweeter and sweeter and since it is such an easy dessert to make, we have it on a regular basis. Even occasionally for breakfast. Yes, I eat strawberry shortcake for breakfast. What could be better - a biscuit, fresh fruit, and whipped cream, which is kind of like butter. If you've never made strawberry shortcake before, go ahead and take the plunge and make this delicious dessert. Even make it with your favorite berries.
Fresh Strawberries for Strawberry Shortcake
The strawberries are the easiest part of this dessert. It is only 2 ingredients - strawberries and sugar. The sugar is needed to help draw out the natural juices of the berries. This juice is what sinks into the biscuits and mixes with the whipped cream. Absolutely delicious. The recipe calls for 4 cups of berries and 1/2 sugar, but I vary the amount of sugar according the natural sweetness of the berries or how sweet I want the final berries. Add the amount of sugar that appeals to you.
If you can, use local berries as they will be sweeter and juicier. Here in Portland, the season starts with Seascape, then Albions and Hoods. Hoods have the shortest season here in Oregon, only a few weeks, but while they are available I buy them often as they are often the sweetest and juiciest berries available. Albions are available late May through October. I often decide to buy berries based on the weather. Even the week has been sunny and warm, then the berries are usually sweet.
To prepare the berries, wash them off with a spray of water. Don't soak them in water or they will become waterlogged. Dry the berries off and then slice them thick or thin depending on how you like them. Place the strawberries in a large bowl and add the sugar.
How to Make the Homemade Sweet Biscuits
The biscuits are the heart of strawberry shortcake. Biscuits are one of life's great pleasures and it couldn't be easier to make these sweet biscuits. They are just like regular biscuits, but with a little sugar added for sweetness. The biscuits have 5 ingredients
- All-Purpose and Whole Wheat Flour
- Cold Butter
- Cold Half and Half
- Baking Powder
- Kosher salt
The dry ingredients are mixed together and then cold butter is added in and worked into dough. The cold liquid is mixed in. The dough will still be a little shaggy looking. Don't overmix the dough as that will lead to gluten development and tough biscuit. When all the ingredients are mixed together the dough is shaped into a square and nine biscuits are cut out with a sharp knife.
The biscuits are placed next to each other on parchment paper, brush with melted butter, and bake at 450°F until golden brown. The biscuits will rise and you will see layers develop as they rise. Remove the biscuits from the oven and let them cool slightly, but they are best when served warm. As the biscuits are baking make the whipped cream.
How to Make the Fresh Whipped Cream
The whipped cream is made with heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Whipping the cream starts with placing the beaters in the refrigerator to chill. If I am using a smaller bowl I will place that in the refrigerator too, but my stand mixer bowl is too large for the refrigerator. Chilling the beaters and the bowl does cause the cream to whip quicker.
I prefer slightly whipped cream so only use 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar for 2 cups of heavy cream. You can use more or less to your tastes. Homemade whipped cream is much better than store-bought. It is thicker, creamier, and just tastes better. And it holds up better on desserts.
Assemble the Strawberry Shortcake
We now have all 3 components to make the final dessert. To assemble the dessert cut a biscuit in half and place in a bowl or on a saucer. Layer strawberries on the biscuit, then add whipped cream, and then more berries. Top with the other half of the biscuit and then top with more berries and more whipped cream. Dessert is ready.
As the summer progresses, try this with other summer berries and fruit including blueberries, peaches, and raspberries.
Other Summer Desserts
Try these other desserts made with fresh summer berries and stone fruit.
- 6 cups fresh strawberries sliced
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (32 grams) whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons (84 grams) unsalted butter cold
- 1 cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream chilled
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place the stand mixer or handheld whisk attachment in the refrigerator for the whipped cream.
For the Strawberries
- When adding sugar to the strawberries, start with less than the recipe calls for and add more sugar based on the desired level of sweetness.
- Combine the sliced strawberries and the sugar in large bowl and stir together. Place the fruit in the refrigerator and allow the berries to macerate.
For the Sweet Biscuits
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Do not use Silpat for this recipe as most Silpat will start to burn at temperatures above 400 degrees F.
- Place the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Cut the butter into small pieces and toss with the flour. Use your fingertips to smush the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles small peas.
- Initially add 3/4 of the half and half and stir gently until the mixture starts to come together into a shaggy ball. If there is still some flour not mixed in add the remaining 1/4 cup and mix in. The dough should be lumpy, a little shaggy, and wet. Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface. Pat the dough into a thick rectangle about 1-inch thick, fold in half and use your hands to flatten into a rectangle again. Repeat this step 2 more times. Use a sharp knife to cut 1/4-inch off of each side of the square. Then cut the dough into 9 squares. Gather the dough scraps and hand form a biscuit.
- Roll the dough into an 8-inch square and use a sharp knife to cut 1/4-inch off of each side of the square. Then cut the dough into 9 squares. Gather the dough scraps and hand form a biscuit.
- Arrange the biscuits about 1/4-inch apart on the baking sheet. Brush the biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake the biscuits until they have risen and are golden brown, about 14-16 minutes. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack and allow to cool.
For the Whipped Cream
- Place the heavy cream and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed until soft to medium peaks form. Watch the cream the entire time to avoid over beating.
Assemble the Shortcakes
- To make a shortcake, cut a biscuit in half and spoon strawberries on top of the biscuit. Then top with whipped cream and more strawberries. Top with the other biscuit half and add more strawberries and whipped cream.