Classic strawberry shortcakes are a stunning summer dessert made with macerated strawberries and freshly whipped cream, all tucked inside ethereally light biscuits. They truly are the best strawberry shortcakes we’ve tried.
One can toil for hours on more elaborate desserts without coming close to achieving the simple gratification and effortless indulgence of these classic strawberry shortcakes. Using cream instead of butter in the shortcake not only makes for lighter, more tender pastry, it also eliminates the step of cutting the butter into the flour. Consider doubling this shortcake recipe, as it’s great to have leftovers with morning coffee.–Editors of Edible
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Strawberry Shortcakes FAQs
How do you macerate strawberries?
Macerating fruit is similar to marinating meat: Fresh or dried fruit is splashed with flavored liquid such as liquor, vinegar, or syrup and left to sit out for a few hours or overnight, which softens the fruit.
Can you make strawberry shortcake ahead of time?
You can macerate the strawberries and bake the biscuits. Let the biscuits cool, wrap tightly and refrigerate along with the berries. We suggest waiting until you’re about to tuck in to whip the cream but if you’re really really pressed, whipped cream can hold on for a few hours before being devoured.
What is the best way to tell that a strawberry is ripe?
If the tip of the berry is completely red, it’s ripe and ready to eat. Strawberries don’t continue to ripen once picked so make a habit of always buying the package with the reddest berries, and you’re nearly guaranteed ripened goodness. Pass on the packages with yellow or barely pink berries – they were picked before their prime.
Can I make these shortcakes with a different type of fruit?
Yes. These spiced peach shortcakes are every bit as delicious as their strawberry counterparts.
Classic Strawberry Shortcakes
For the macerated strawberries
- 3 pints of the ripest, sweetest strawberries you can find (6 cups) hulled and halved if small or quartered if large
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, agave syrup, or granulated sugar plus more if needed (optional)
For the shortcakes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the work surface
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz) butter melted
For the whipped cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or powdered sugar or 1/2 tablespoon agave syrup, or to taste 1/4 cup thinly sliced crystallized ginger (optional)
Macerate the strawberries
- In a large shallow-rimmed dish, mash about 1/4 of the strawberries with a fork or potato masher. In a large bowl, toss together the mashed strawberries, unmashed berries, lemon juice, and maple syrup, if using. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed. Set aside, stirring occasionally.
Make the shortcakes
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (218° C). Line a 9-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, if using, and salt. Using a wooden spoon or stiff spatula, stir in the cream. Mix until the mixture comes together in a sticky, crumbly mass.
- Dump the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface. Using floured hands, knead the dough only a few times until the mixture forms a soft dough. (For the lightest shortcakes, do not over-knead.)
- Divide the dough in half and pat each portion into a 5-inch round. Cut each round into quarters. Place each quarter onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving a few inches between. Brush each quarter with melted butter.
- Bake until the tops of the shortcakes are golden, 12 to 16 minutes. Gently move the shortcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Whip the cream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer or by hand using a stiff whisk), beat the cream and maple syrup on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
Assemble the shortcakes
- Split each shortcake in half crosswise. Place the bottom half of each shortcake on a plate. Spoon some of the macerated berries and a large dollop of whipped cream on top, then place the remaining half of the shortcake on top. Spoon more berries and their juices on top and embellish it with even more whipped cream on top. Garnish with the crystallized ginger, if using, and serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I was so glad to have this recipe in time for Easter! Classic strawberry shortcake just screams spring, and this comes together as easily and quickly as any other recipe I’ve tried. Simple, fresh, and delicious. The cinnamon in the shortcake is a really cool twist.
This classic strawberry shortcake recipe is the perfect summer dessert. Ripe strawberries with the whipped cream and delicately sweetened shortcakes couldn’t get any more perfect. Look for super sweet, very ripe strawberries because it’s all about the strawberries. I’d definitely recommend using the cinnamon in the biscuits because it really makes the recipe.
If you are looking for an easy and impressive summer dessert, look no further than these classic strawberry shortcakes. I found the biscuits to be easy to prepare, flavorful and the strawberries to be bright and sweet. I sprinkled my biscuits with demerara sugar after brushing them with butter and everyone loved them.
Originally published April 22, 2010