Looking for a shortcake recipe will mainly lead you in one of two directions. Your first option, and what some consider to be more the more authentic base, is a sweetened biscuit. Possibly the earliest strawberry shortcake recipe comes from Eliza Leslie’s 1847 cookbook, The Lady’s Receipt-book: A Useful Companion for Large Or Small Families. It describes “strawberry cakes” made with a kneaded dough that bakes in circular shapes and cut in half to be filled with strawberries.
The second option still has plenty of nostalgia, but less history. It features a sponge-cake base, and can often be made with an angel food cake, or pound cake. While both are delicious, we’ve focused mainly on the traditional sweetened biscuit base, and variations on that for the following eight shortcake recipes. From classic to chocolate, and even a few sponge cakes, you’ll find at least one shortcake recipe to enjoy on a long summer night here.
1. Classic Strawberry Shortcake
Driscoll’s released a timeline about strawberry shortcake, stating that when Bisquick introduced an easier way to make biscuit-style shortcakes at home, homemakers were delighted with the simplified way to bake this dessert. Today, it is still a popular option, and the recipe, via Betty Crocker, continues to save time when anyone wants a quick way to whip up strawberry shortcakes.
- 4 cups strawberries, sliced
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2⅓ cups Original Bisquick™ mix
- ½ cup milk
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
- ½ cup whipping cream
Directions: Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In large bowl, mix strawberries and ¼ cup sugar; set aside. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, 3 tablespoons sugar, and the butter until soft dough forms. On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by six spoonfuls. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Split warm shortcakes; fill and top with strawberries and whipped cream.
2. Strawberry Shortcake
Betty Crocker and Bisquick do save time, but on certain days another classic take on this dessert is in order. With freshly baked biscuits and whipped cream, Fine Cooking‘s recipe is the entirely homemade version you will want to make again and again. It serves six.
- 1 pound ripe strawberries, hulled (about 4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar; more to taste
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
- ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup heavy cream; more for brushing
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Directions: First, put one-third of the berries in a medium bowl and, using a potato masher, crush them into a chunky purée. Slice the remaining berries 1/4 inch thick and stir them into the mashed berries along with the sugar. Taste the berries, adding more sugar if necessary. Let the berries sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Next, make the biscuits. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large heavy-duty baking sheet with parchment. Sift the flour, ⅓ cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl. Stir in the salt. Using a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
In a small bowl, beat the egg and heavy cream with a fork. Mix in the buttermilk. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the cream mixture. Mix with the fork until the dough is evenly moistened and just comes together; it will still look a little shaggy. Gather the dough and gently knead it three or four times. If the dough seems dry and doesn’t form a cohesive mass, work in more cream, 1 tsp. at a time.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll it into a ¾-inch-thick disk. With a sharp 2½-inch biscuit cutter, press straight down to cut the dough into rounds and lift straight up to remove (don’t twist the cutter or it will seal the sides of the biscuits and interfere with rising). Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet. Gather the dough scraps, gently knead them together, re-roll, and cut out more biscuits until you have a total of six.
Lightly brush the biscuit tops with cream (about 1 tablespoon) and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake, rotating the baking sheet once, until the biscuit tops are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Let the biscuits cool slightly while you whip the cream. In a large, chilled metal bowl, whip the heavy cream and sugar to soft peaks with an electric hand mixer. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
Lastly, assemble the shortcakes. Using a serrated knife, split the warm biscuits in half horizontally and transfer the bottoms to six dessert plates. Spoon about three-quarters of the macerated berries and their juice evenly over the biscuit bottoms. It’s OK if some of the berries spill out onto the plate. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and cover each with a biscuit top. Spoon more berries and cream over each shortcake and serve immediately.
3. Chocolate Chip Strawberry Shortcake
Sprinkling chocolate chips into your shortcake, like Very Best Baking did, is a slight change that will give your shortcakes a new twist, while still keeping true to the roots of the dish. It makes sixteen servings, and for an additional dose of chocolate, dip your strawberries in melted semi-sweet morsels and allow them to set before putting them in the dish.
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ sticks cold butter, cut up
- 2 cups (12-ounce package) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 1 container (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 4 cups sliced strawberries
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease baking sheets. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in morsels. Stir in buttermilk with a fork just until moistened. Knead 2 or 3 times on floured surface. Pat to ¾-inch thickness. Cut into sixteen 2½ x 2½-inch diamonds; place on prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Cut one shortcake in half horizontally. Spread bottom half with whipped topping; top with strawberries. Cover with shortcake top; layer with more whipped topping and strawberries. Repeat with remaining shortcakes. Serve immediately.
4. Chocolate Shortcakes
The sprinkling of a few chocolate chips into the batter won’t fully satisfy die-hard chocoholics, and for this group, Bon Appétit has an entirely chocolate shortcake you can make. Garnish with the strawberry topping as well, if desired, or substitute your preferred berry mix. The biscuits can be made up to 6 hours ahead of time.
- 1¼ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chilled whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 pounds small strawberries, hulled, quartered (about 3½ cups)
- 8 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
- ½ teaspoon finely grated orange peel
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup chilled whipping cream
- ½ cup chilled sour cream
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet with parchment. Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat cream and vanilla in medium bowl until firm peaks form. Stir cream into flour mixture until moist clumps form. Transfer mixture to lightly floured surface and knead gently until dough forms ball, about 10 turns. Pat dough out to 3/4-inch thickness. Using 3-inch cutter, cut out biscuits. Gather dough, pat out again, and cut out total of 6 biscuits. Place biscuits on prepared baking sheet. Bake biscuits until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool.
For the garnish and to assemble, stir strawberries, 6 tablespoons powdered sugar, and next 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours. Using electric mixer, beat chilled whipping cream, sour cream, and remaining 2 tablespoons powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Place one biscuit on each of six plates. Place large spoonful of berries with juices atop biscuits. Top with whipped cream. Pass remaining berries alongside.
5. Strawberry Shortcake
For a semi-homemade, non-biscuit based, crowd-feeding strawberry shortcake, Paula Deen has the recipe you need. A large clear bowl is the best dish for assembling the cake, because you’ll be able to show off your beautifully constructed layers to the 10 to 12 people who will be helping you devour this dessert.
- 1 large angel food cake
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons strawberry gelatin
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in ½ or ¼ depending on size
- whole fresh strawberries and mint leaves, for garnish
Directions: First, slice cake, using a serrated knife, horizontally into 3 equal layers. To make the custard, mix together cream cheese, condensed milk, and whipped topping in a bowl; set aside. For the glaze, in a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and gelatin; add water. Cook stirring over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Fold in strawberries.
To assemble, place one layer of cake in a large clear bowl. Top with a layer of glaze, followed by a layer of custard mixture. Repeat layering in this order for remaining cake, glaze and custard. Top cake with three whole fresh strawberries and fresh mint leaves.
6. Brown Sugar Shortcake with Warm Bourbon Peaches
Not all shortcake desserts need to be topped with strawberries. Mixed berries, blueberries, and peaches are all supremely summery and will complement your biscuit or cake-like bases. The New York Times decided to tackle two variations with this shortcake. First, brown sugar will sweeten the biscuits, and then you’ll fill the cakes with a boozy-peach filling for a grown-up version of the shortcake dessert. It will make six servings, and the warm peaches would be delicious with ice cream.
- 230 grams all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
- 55 grams dark brown sugar (or about ¼ cup packed), more for sprinkling
- 15 grams cornstarch (about 2 tablespoons)
- 15 grams baking powder (about 1 tablespoon)
- 5 grams fine sea salt (about 1 teaspoon)
- 7 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 egg, well beaten
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 2 tablespoons bourbon, brandy or rum
- 25 grams dark brown sugar (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1½ pounds peaches, sliced (about 4 cups)
- 1¼ cups heavy cream, whipped
Directions: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a baking sheet. In a bowl, combine flour, 55 grams of sugar, cornstarch, baking powder and salt, and whisk well. Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers. When butter is in pea-size pieces, mix in cream and egg until a soft batter forms.
Dump batter onto a floured surface and knead until it holds together. Divide batter into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Press larger piece of dough into a ½-inch-thick round, roughly 8 inches in diameter. Place on baking sheet and brush with butter. Press remaining dough into a 1/2-inch-thick round and place on top of first dough round. It should be smaller in size. Brush with butter and sprinkle with more sugar. Bake until shortcake is golden brown and firm to the touch all over, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the peaches. In a medium skillet, heat bourbon and add 1 tablespoon water and 25 grams of sugar. Cook until sugar dissolves, then add peaches. Let cook until peaches are warmed through and release their juices, about 2 minutes. Carefully cut smaller top round off shortcake. Place shortcake bottom on a serving plate and cover with warm peaches and their liquid (reheat fruit if necessary). Spoon whipped cream over peaches and place shortcake top over cream. Serve immediately.
7. Triple Fruit Shortcakes
For even more shortcake fruit filling options, turn to Cooking Light. Oranges and orange juice give a nice touch of citrusy sweetness to your usual berry fillings, and although the recipe doesn’t call for whipped cream, what would kind of shortcake would it be without a dollop or two placed on top? It serves ten.
- 4 cups sliced strawberries
- 2 cups blueberries
- ½ cup orange sections
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (9 ounces)
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
- ¾ cup fat-free buttermilk
- cooking spray
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 large egg white
- 2 teaspoons sugar
Directions: To prepare filling, combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill 2 hours. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. To prepare shortcakes, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk; stir just until moist.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 to 5 times. Pat dough into a 9-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray. Cut dough into ten wedges, cutting into but not through dough. Combine water and egg white; brush mixture over dough. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons sugar over dough.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut shortcake into ten wedges. Split each wedge in half horizontally. Fill each wedge with ½ cup filling.
8. Cake for Shortcakes
If you don’t like the biscuit-versions of shortcake, but still want an easy homemade base, make the cottage cake from AllRecipes.com. You will end up with a cake that you can cut into the desired shape, and top with the fresh fruit and whipped cream of your choosing.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
Directions: Preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch square cake pan. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl; set aside.
Beat the shortening and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.