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Thursday, June 10, 2010 01:41 am

Strawberry shortcake


Here’s the real deal. I like to use a generous amount of strawberries in proportion to the shortcake, making this a big dessert. So keep the previous part of the meal on the small side. Then again, people eat biscuits and berries in the morning meal. Since shortcakes are part of the biscuit family, why not have strawberry shortcake for breakfast?

For the strawberries:

  • Strawberries – as many as you like, at least 1 c. per person
  • Sugar
  • Honey, optional

For the shortcakes:

  • 1 3/4 c. flour
  • 1 T. baking powder, preferably Rumford
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • Melted butter
  • Turbinado or Demerara sugar, sometimes labeled Sugar in the Raw

Optional garnishes:

  • Whipped cream
  • Ice cream
  • Whole strawberries

Wash the strawberries and gently dry them by rolling them around on a lint-free towel; then remove the stems with a paring knife.

Set aside one whole berry per person to use as a garnish, if desired. Slice the remaining berries and put half of them into a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher or a fork to a very chunky sauce, then add the remaining sliced berries. Mix and then season to taste with sugar and a little honey, if desired. Be careful: too much honey can interfere with the berries’ flavor. The amount of sugar needed will depend on the berries’ sweetness. Set aside while preparing the shortcakes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly in a medium large bowl. Stir in the cream. If the dough seems dry, add a little additional cream or milk, a tablespoon at a time. After a dough is formed, knead about 30 seconds, then turn it out onto a floured surface. Rub a bit of flour between your palms and pat it into a disc or rectangle about 3/4” thick on a floured surface. Cut it into six rounds or squares. Brush the tops and bottoms with melted butter, and place on an ungreased baking sheet. (Line the baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.)

Sprinkle the tops with the sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes. Makes 6.

To assemble the strawberry shortcakes:

Cut the shortcakes in half horizontally. Place the bottom half on a plate with a deep rim or a shallow soup bowl. Spoon about 2/3 of the sliced and mashed berry mixture evenly over the shortcakes. Let stand for at least 15 minutes and up to half an hour. Place the top halves over them, and top with the remaining strawberry mixture. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and a whole reserved strawberry if desired. Serve immediately.

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