Light as a cloud and not too sweet, these homemade strawberry shortcakes are a cinch to make. We like using fresh local strawberries and vanilla sugar for extra flavor (my secret ingredient!). Recipe adapted from The Cook’s Atelier cookbook.
For the Shortcakes
- 3 cups (375 g) all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/3 cup (65 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks/170 g) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest, juice reserved
- 3/4– 1 cup (180– 240 ml) heavy cream, plus more as needed (*see tips below)
- 1 cup (240 ml) strawberry jam (I use Bonne Maman)
For the Strawberries
- 1 pound (455 g) ripe strawberries, hulled and halved
- 3 tbsp. granulated sugar (I use homemade vanilla sugar)
- 1 tbsp. reserved fresh lemon juice
For the Whipped Cream
- 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
- 2 tbsp. powdered sugar, plus more for dusting (optional)
* Flour is like a sponge. I found that only 200 ml of heavy cream was needed to form a soft dough with my specific brand of all purpose flour (I also weighed my ingredients). For best results, I’d suggest starting with the smaller amount of cream first, adding more as needed.
** You will need a 3-inch round pastry cutter or the rim of an appropriate size drinking glass.
*** Instead of vanilla sugar, use a vanilla bean, vanilla paste, or a tiny splash of pure vanilla extract
Make the Dough: In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With your fingertips, mix the butter into the flour until it looks like coarse meal. Add the lemon zest. Drizzle some of the the heavy cream over the dough using a fork to combine. Add more cream as needed. Finish mixing by hand to form a soft ball of dough. Note: you can also use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for mixing.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to no less than a 1-inch (2.5cm) thickness. If it’s rolled out too thin, you’ll get thin shortcakes (I use a ruler to double check). Cut the dough into rounds using a 3-inch pastry cutter or the rim of an appropriate size drinking glass. Press together the remaining dough scraps, roll out again to the same thickness, and cut into more rounds. You should end up with 12 rounds. Place onto the lined baking sheet. Wrap and chill for 1 hr.
Make the Strawberries: Combine the strawberries, vanilla sugar (if using) and lemon juice in a bowl. Mix to combine. Wrap and chill for up to 1 hour only. The longer the berries sit, the softer they will become.
Make the Whipped Cream: Combine the heavy cream and powdered sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Process until soft peaks form. Wrap and chill until ready use.
Bake the Shortcakes: Preheat your oven to 425 F (220 C). Brush the top of each shortcake with a small amount of heavy cream. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar or regular granulated sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
To Serve: Slice each shortcake in half horizontally. Spread with a layer of strawberry jam. Top with some of the strawberries, reserving the juice in the bowl for another use (see note below). Add a dollop of whipped cream. Place the lid on top and repeat with another layer of cream and a few more strawberries, or leave plain and dust with powdered sugar. Serve right away. Note: for extra thick shortcakes, use two biscuits per portion and do not slice in half (makes 6 shortcakes instead of 12).
I do not use the residual strawberry juice for this recipe; it makes the shortcakes too soggy. Save it with any extra berries for cocktails or to mix with club soda and lemonade. Delicious!
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