When I was a kid, strawberry shortcake was one of two things: it was a spongey, pre-packaged cake that had a little divot in it where fresh berries and whipped cream sat, or a Jiffy Mix drop biscuit-type situation with berries and cream piled on top.
Maybe it’s because drop biscuits slathered in butter and honey were a dinner-time staple growing up, and because I’m a carboholic, but I’ve always preferred a biscuit-based shortcake to the pre-packaged sponges. There’s something a lot more flavorful and filling to them and quite frankly, I think they look nicer… I’m into that rustic-looking food vibe.
For this recipe, I took a summer-time classic from my childhood and made it just a little fancier and a lot more flavorful.
The key to an exceptional shortcake is the biscuit. Too much sugar, and it’s way too sweet, but too little and it tastes like eating strawberries on bread… not exactly an exciting dessert. You have to lay a good foundation with just the right texture, amount of sugar, and flavor. That’s why I use lemon zest and vanilla to give my biscuits a little extra flavor, and it makes a world of difference.
I also mix my berries with a little sugar. The sugar helps to draw out the juices in the fruit so that a kind of syrup is created. pour this syrup, along with the fruit, onto the biscuits for even more flavor.
And, because I’m extra, I make my own whipped cream. I mean I’ve come this far, I might as well make the whipped cream my self too, right? I like to make my own because I can make it a little for vanilla-flavored or make my favorite variation using almond extract instead. I can also control the consistency, which I like. Overall, I just feel like homemade is better, but it’s not necessary. A can of whipped cream is just as good… plus you can spray it in your mouth… and isn’t that the real reason any of us buy whipped cream in the first place?
This recipe makes 8 servings.
Fruit Topping Ingredients
- 1 Cup Blueberries, rinsed
- 2 Cups Strawberries, rinsed and sliced
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
Fruit Topping Instructions
- Mix all ingredients together. Cover and put in the refrigerator to let sit for 20 minutes (or until shortcakes are ready to be assembled).
Shortcake Biscuit Ingredients
- 1 1/2 Cups Flour
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
- 1/3 Cup Sugar
- 1 Lemon, zested
- 6 Tablespoons Cold Unsalted Butter
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Cup Milk
Shortcake Biscuit Instructions
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- Stir flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and lemon zest together in a bowl.
- Using a pastry blender or fork, cut the butter into the dry mixture until is resembles wet sand.
- Add milk and vanilla and stir until a shaggy dough forms. It should be wet enough to bind together and come away from the side of the bowl, but not so wet that it can’t hold its shape.
- Drop blobs of dough onto the baking sheet, leaving about an inch between them. There should be 8 biscuits, roughly the same size… the beauty of this step is that it doesn’t need to be exact, and the blobs don’t need to be particularly pretty 😊
- Bake for 13-18 minutes. Tops should be golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.
Whipped Cream Ingredients
- 3/4 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream, very cold
- 3 Tablespoons Sugar
- 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Whipped Cream Instructions
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and, using a stand mixer or hand mixer, whip until peaks form (approximately 3 minutes), or until desired consistency is reached.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Berry Shortcake Assembly
I listed the components in the order I usually make them: mix the berries and sugar and refrigerate, then make the biscuits, and then make the whipped cream while the biscuits are baking or cooling.
Assembly is easy: slice a cooled biscuit in half, horizontally, spoon on some berries and juice and then some whipped cream. Put the top of the biscuit on top and add a little more berries and juice and whipped cream. Top with a mint leaf if you’re feeling fancy.
These also make a great shareable dessert! If you make the biscuits a bit larger, you can make 4-6 larger, shareable shortcakes… so romantic 🥰
I hope you enjoy these! Chris and I sure do. Please make sure you leave a comment if you have any questions or to let me know how they turned out. And as always, tag me on Instagram so I can share it!