Strawberry Shortcake

Make the best of local strawberries with this classic summer recipe

Here’s an easy recipe to take advantage of fresh local strawberries straight from the field. Using heavy cream gives the biscuit its richness, so no butter or oil is necessary. The sanding sugar inside adds a little crunch, while a touch of cardamom adds a homey spice. And, of course, a dollop of whipped cream seals the deal, especially if it’s from a local dairy. 

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Photo by Susan Laughlin

Shortcake Biscuits
Makes 7 to 9 biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cardamom (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sanding sugar (plus extra for sprinkling on top)
(Use a total of 3 tablespoons of sugar if omitting the sanding sugar.)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 425°F; move a rack to the top third of the oven.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, both sugars and cardamom, if using.

Make a well in the flour/sugar mixture, pour the vanilla, lemon zest and cream into the well, and stir until it just comes together. If there’s dry flour around the sides and bottom of the bowl, stir in a bit of additional cream or milk until all the flour is moist.

Scoop out the batter and form into a small ball with your hands. 

Place the balls on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Brush the tops of the biscuits with cream and sprinkle with more sanding sugar.

Bake the biscuits until they’re golden brown, about 12 to 16 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool them right on the pan, or on a rack. 

Split the biscuits in half horizontally using a serrated knife. Top each bottom half with berries and whipped cream. Add the top halves, and top with additional whipped cream, if desired. These are very tender biscuits, and can be difficult to slice in half if not high enough. To make it easier, just plop all the goodies on top.

Whipped cream

Whip a cup of heavy cream or whipping cream with 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until stiff. For the best results, chill the bowl, beaters and cream before hand.


3 pints of strawberries, hulled and sliced
Juice of a lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup of sugar or sweetness level of your choice.

Stir up and let macerate for 15 minutes before serving.

Strawberry Picking Tips

Picking season for strawberries starts in mid-June and can go to mid-July, but the selection can dwindle after the Fourth of July in southern regions of the state. Weather is a big factor in determining their sweetness. Too much rain can water down the flavor, and too little sun affects the taste too. Don’t go too late in the day either. Select berries that are solid red, as they will not ripen any further after picking. The cap and stem should also be attached. Enjoy them that afternoon, or store in the refrigerator for two to five days. Honeoye, Earliglow and Allstar varieties are well known for their sweetness. If you are picking for jam, sweetness is less of a concern as tart berries may have more natural pectin. The size of the berry doesn’t really matter, but the smaller ones are usually sweeter.

For berries past their prime, purée them in a blender with a little sugar. Now you have a sauce for pancakes and sundaes, or use it frozen on popsicles or a granita. Finally, you could add equal parts oil and vinegar and create a strawberry vinaigrette.

Categories: Recipes