Classic strawberry shortcake is an essential summertime recipe that makes great use of fresh strawberries while they're in season. The biscuit style shortcakes bake in under 20 minutes and take just a few pantry ingredients. Serve with whipped cream.
Strawberry season is my favorite time to bake because there are so many delicious ways you can use fresh strawberries.
This classic strawberry shortcake puts the spotlight on those gorgeous plump berries and lets their flavor be the hero of the dessert.
Easy biscuit-style shortcakes bake in under 20 minutes for an easy to assemble dessert you can make ahead.
Why This is the Best Recipe
I love fresh fruit desserts during summer and a classic strawberry shortcake is one of the best because:
- Quick to Bake: The whole recipe takes just 20 minutes to prepare.
- Focus on Fresh Strawberries: The entire focus of the recipe is the fresh and juicy in-season strawberries. This is their time to shine!
- Light and Simple: In the summer heat, you don't need a heavy dessert. This one is light and juicy and satisfying.
- Colorful and Pretty: It's hard to beat the simple beauty of these classic shortcakes. They'd look lovely on your party dessert table, just let guests top their own.
Look at the short list of things you need to have on hand to make this recipe!
- Heavy Cream
- Whipped Cream or Whipped Topping
- Sugar: You can use just plain sugar for the entire recipe, but I also use a cinnamon sugar or vanilla sugar in the mix. See my notes below.
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
How to Make Vanilla Sugar or Cinnamon Sugar
To give the strawberry shortcakes a little boost of sweet flavor, I love to use either vanilla or cinnamon sugar to dust the top of the shortcakes before baking.
You could also use this instead of the plain sugar over the fresh strawberries.
You can purchase a store bought vanilla or cinnamon sugar or you can make your own in under a minute.
Add ¼ teaspoon cinnamon to 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir.
Slice one vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape the seeds from the pod and stir them into 2 cups sugar. Tuck the bean pod itself into the sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for one week before using so the flavor can infuse throughout the sugar.
Prep the Fresh Strawberries
You can prep the strawberries first while the oven preheats for the shortcakes or you can wait to do this step until the shortcakes are in the oven.
Either way, you just want to be sure your strawberries have about 15 - 20 minutes to rest in the sugar.
Wash and slice the strawberries into ¼-inch pieces. Add them to a mixing bowl.
Dust them with plain sugar or your choice of cinnamon sugar or vanilla sugar. Stir to combine.
That's it! Just let them hang out in the bowl and the sugar will draw out their juices and form a very simple little strawberry sauce.
Bake the Shortcakes
Preheat the oven to 450°F and lay out a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk them together.
Measure the heavy cream into a microwave safe measuring cup and heat it on HIGH for 15 seconds.
Pour the cream into the dry ingredients and stir them together with a spatula.
Just work the dough until there are no more dry pockets of flour and the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Try not to over mix the dough or the shortcakes will be tough. Stop as soon as the flour is incorporated.
To help ensure you divide the dough evenly to make 8 shortcakes, it helps to start by dividing the dough into four equal sized pieces.
I just gently scrape my spatula through the dough and eyeball it like this:
Then take half of each of those four pieces to form a shortcake.
Spray a ⅓ cup measuring cup with cooking spray and take a portion of the dough and tap it into the cup like this:
I used my fingers to tamp the dough down just a bit and smooth out the rough edges.
Flip the dough over onto the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining 7 portions of dough.
Finally, sprinkle the vanilla sugar or cinnamon sugar or just plain sugar over the top of the shortcakes.
Bake the shortcakes for 9 - 10 minutes or until they are golden brown.
It is important to let them cool completely before serving or they will fall apart when you try to split them to assemble the strawberry shortcakes.
Assemble the Dessert
Once the shortcakes have cooled completely it is time to assemble the dessert.
How you present the strawberry shortcake depends on the type of whipped cream you plan to use:
Canister Whipped Cream:
Canned whipped cream from the grocery store is a delicate whipped cream that will not hold its shape for very long but is very delicious.
If you use this kind of whipped cream you will want to split the shortcake in half like a sandwich bun and serve the two halves cut side up on the plate.
Top with the fresh strawberries and their juices and add the whipped cream on top.
Alternatively, you could form an off-kilter strawberry shortcake "sandwich" and put the whipped cream dollop on the side like this:
Prepared Whipped Topping:
Prepared whipped topping like Cool Whip is a much more stabilized whipped cream that will hold its shape much longer than canned whipped cream.
In this case, you can split the shortcake like a sandwich bun. Place the bottom half cut side up on the plate.
Top the bottom shortcake with a spoonful of strawberries mixture. Add a dollop of whipped topping. Add another spoonful of strawberries on top of the cream. Place the top half of the shortcake on top and serve immediately.
Homemade Whipped Cream:
If you prefer to make your whipped cream from scratch, you could flavor it with a hint of vanilla for even more flavor.
To serve the dessert with homemade whipped cream, you could chose the presentation style you like best from the two options listed above.
Pretty Garnish Ideas
The strawberry shortcakes are such a pretty dessert all by themselves but if you wanted to really offer a beautiful presentation, you could garnish the dessert plates with these easy ideas:
- A whole strawberry with the pretty green leaves in tact.
- A few sprigs of fresh mint leaves on the side.
- A sprinkle of cinnamon over the top.
- A dusting of powdered sugar over the top.
More Strawberry Recipes
If your kitchen is overflowing with fresh strawberries during strawberry season, you would also love these classic strawberry recipes:
More Fruit Desserts
If you prefer fruit desserts above all others, you and I could be twinsies.
Here are some of my other all-time favorite fresh fruit desserts to serve this time of year:
Classic Strawberry Shortcake
For the Shortcakes
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar or cinnamon sugar See Notes
For the Strawberries and Cream
- 1 pound fresh strawberries sliced
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 container of whipped cream or whipped topping See Notes
Make the Shortcakes
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper on the counter.
- Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a mixing bowl and whisk them together.
- Measure the heavy cream in a microwave safe liquid measuring cup. Heat it on HIGH for 15 seconds in the microwave to remove the chill.
- Pour the cream into the dry ingredients and stir them together until the dough forms and has no more dry pockets. Try not to over mix.
- To help keep the proportions of each shortcake equal, divide the shortcake dough roughly into four equal sections. Spray a ⅓ cup measuring cup with cooking spray. Take half of each section and pat it into the measuring cup to form a nice round shortcake. Flip the shortcake onto the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining portions of dough. You will have 8 shortcake rounds on your baking pan.
- Sprinkle the vanilla or cinnamon sugar mix (or just plain sugar) over the top of the shortcakes.
- Bake the shortcakes for 9 - 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely before serving.
Prepare the Strawberry Filling
- Slice the fresh strawberries into about ¼-inch thick pieces and place them in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the sugar over the top and stir to combine. Let the berries sit while the shortcakes finish baking and cooling.
Assemble the Strawberry Shortcakes
- To serve the shortcakes, use a paring knife to split them in half like a sandwich bun.
- If you're using a canister of whipped cream, you may want to serve the strawberry shortcakes like an open face sandwich. Place the two halves of shortcake cut side up on a plate. Top with a large spoonful of the strawberries and then add the whipped cream on top.
- If you're using whipped topping like Cool Whip, you can assemble the strawberry shortcakes like a stacked cake because the whipped topping is firmer. Place the bottom half of the shortcake on a plate, add a spoonful of strawberries and their juices, add a spoonful of whipped topping on top, and another spoonful of berries over the cream. Place the top half of the shortcake on top and serve immediately.
Vanilla or Cinnamon SugarTo give the strawberry shortcakes a little boost of sweet flavor, I love to use either vanilla or cinnamon sugar to dust the top of the cakes before baking. You could also use this instead of the plain sugar over the fresh strawberries. You can purchase a store bought vanilla or cinnamon sugar or you can make your own. Cinnamon Sugar: Add ¼ teaspoon cinnamon to 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir. Vanilla Sugar: Slice one vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape the seeds from the pod and stir them into 2 cups sugar. Tuck the bean pod itself into the sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for one week before using so the flavor can infuse throughout the sugar.
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