Strawberry shortcake

Photographer: Emma
Serves 12

This recipe was given to us by Jennifer, a regular blog contributor and creator of all things deliciously sweet.  Jennifer is an amazing baker and so it happens writer; here are her beautiful words about strawberries and their transition into a shortcake.

“Strawberries are one of the first announcements that summer’s bounty has begun. Many vegetables and fruits take months to mature, but strawberries can go from blossom to mouth in weeks. I grew up in the southern part of the United States and when flats of strawberries arrived at the market, their deliciously sweet aroma would lure you in. I wanted to eat them immediately but we had to wait until getting home and they were prepared. For salivating mouths, jam can take an eternity to prepare and sorbet even longer. Pies take less time and a proper cake even quicker, but short of eating them straight out of your hand (which is perfectly acceptable and inevitable), the fastest way I know to get them from pint to plate is strawberry shortcake.

Shortcake is basically a sweet biscuit or scone, using the American and Kiwi terms respectively. With a firm and almost crunchy top encasing moist, soft dough inside, it is a perfect receptacle for sliced berries and whipped cream. And given the fact that shortcakes can bake in almost the time needed to whip up some cream, you can have it on your plate or bowl in under 20 minutes. For me, it is critical to have the strawberries swimming in a delicious juice, because that soaks into the shortcake and gives you another texture in the mouth. To achieve this, I always slice the strawberries and sugar them first, then proceed to the shortcake and whipped cream, giving them time to form a delicious juice. And any drops that may land on your shirt are little flags announcing the arrival of summer”.


For the shortcake
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar plus a bit extra
75g butter
2/3 cups milk
Extra butter and sugar for baking

To assemble
2 punnets strawberries (approx 400g total), sliced plus 1tbsp icing sugar sprinkled over
250ml cream, whipped plus 1tbsp icing sugar added


For the shortcake
1. Pre-heat the oven to 225ºC and grease a baking tray.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in the butter until it is coarse crumbs or small lumps well distributed. Add milk and mix but do not over-mix.
3. Separate dough into individual portions (two or three), each about 7-8 cm in diameter, and place on the baking tray or in pie tins. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with a bit of sugar.
Bake for 9-12 minutes until tops are a golden colour. Cool on wire racks.

To assemble
1. Place one shortcake on the bottom of a cake stand. Spread whipped cream over generously and then lay sliced strawberries (with their juice).
2. Top with another shortcake and repeat with cream and strawberries. If you have three shortcakes, repeat.
This is best eaten as soon as assembled.