Classic strawberry shortcake is a fresh and fruity dessert recipe that everyone will love! It features real sliced strawberries piled onto tender biscuit-like mini cakes with a dollop of sweet, fluffy homemade whipped cream.
Slice or chop the strawberries and them to a bowl.
Add castor sugar and mix very well so that the berries are coated in the sugar.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Let the strawberries macerate while you make the shortcake.
Make shortcake dough
Meanwhile, combine and mix thoroughly all-purpose flour, castor sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Cut cold butter into cubes and add to the bowl.
Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture until you get pea sized clumps of butter and flour.
Mix the cold butter into the flour with clean hands or use a stand mixer, if you do not have a pastry cutter.
Mixing with fingers may melt the butter. So refrigerate this mixture for 10 to 15 minutes before moving on to the next step.
Then add the whipping cream in two parts while mixing. Also add the vanilla extract.
Gently mix and combine everything to form a pastry dough. Do not knead the dough.
If too dry or firm you can add a splash more cream and mix again. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or cover in a bowl and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Dust flour on a clean work surface and remove the dough from the plastic wrap. Sprinkle some flour on the dough as well.
Do remember to preheat your oven at 200 degrees Celsius (395 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 minutes.
Roll the dough out into a rough rectangle.
Fold the dough over and lightly flour if needed.
Roll the dough out again in to a rough rectangle shape.
Sprinkle with flour as needed and fold again.
Roll the dough again. The dough should be ½ to ¾ inch thick.
Repeat the same process one more time, and roll again into neat rectangle that’s about ½ to ¾ inch thick.
Using a cookie cutter or a small steel bowl make round circles in the dough. Press down firmly and try not to twist too much so that the biscuits rise properly. As you cut the shortcakes, gather the scrap dough and roll again to continue cutting the shortcakes.
Place the cut pieces of shortcake dough on a tray or baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap or kitchen towel and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove from the fridge and lightly brush a bit of cream on top of each. Omit this step of brushing with cream if you prefer. Sprinkle with a bit more castor sugar, if you like.
Bake at 200 degrees celsius (395 degrees Fahrenheit) for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden.
Transfer the shortcakes to a wire rack and let them cool.
While the shortcakes cool, make the homemade whipped cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer add ½ cup of whipping cream and 2 tablespoons castor sugar.
Whip at high speed until you get soft peaks.
Make strawberry shortcake
Once the shortcakes are cool to the touch, you can pull them gently apart and you will get two halves or you can cut them in half width-wise.
Put the lower half on a plate. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the whipped cream on it. Top with a generous serving of the macerated strawberries and a drizzle of the strawberry juice.
Stack the second top half of the shortcake onto the strawberries, and layer with some more whipped cream and strawberries.
Serve immediately. You can garnish with a whole strawberries or fresh mint leaves for extra flavor.
Strawberries: Use sweet tasting strawberries. If the strawberries are a bit tart, then add more sugar while macerating the strawberries. If strawberries are not in season, make the shortcake with frozen strawberries
Cream: Both whipping cream and heavy cream can be included. You can also use light cream (low-fat cream) for a lighter version of this dessert.
Sugar: For macerating strawberries, you can use raw sugar, white sugar, powdered sugar. For shortcakes, use confectioner's sugar, icing sugar or powdered sugar. For whipping cream, use confectioner's sugar, icing sugar or powdered sugar.
Butter: Unsalted butter is the best for this recipe. If you plan to make with salted butter, then omit adding pinch of salt to the shortcake pastry dough.
Flour: Preferably use unbleached flour or organic flour. Pastry flour also works well.
Baking time: Each oven works differently and so the baking time will vary. If your oven bakes too fast, check the shortcakes after 10 minutes of baking. The tops of the shortcake should have a beautiful golden sheen and color.
Vegan options: Use vegan butter or a neutral oil to add to the pastry dough. Make the cream filling with cashew cream or coconut cream.