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Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

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You are going to fall in love with this Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake recipe. A cross between a cake and a cookie; buttery, rich, nutty; this will become your new favorite homemade shortcake recipe.

I have never been a fan of shortcake, love me some juicy strawberries and whipped cream, but most of the shortcake recipes I have had are dry, crumbly, rather tasteless. Not this one!

Who loves using fruit in desserts, me too! Try these reader favorites: Best Banana Bread, Best Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars, Apple Crumb Cake and Blueberry Crumble Cake.

Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake in glass footed dish with strawberries and whipped cream, topped with mint.

My favorite recipe for homemade shortcake

I was at book club and my friend Misti made these strawberry shortcake bars! At first, I was like, sure, I’ll have a small slice, but one bite told me this recipe was a different kind of shortcake!

Goodbye dry, crumbly, tasteless shortcake biscuits or store bought sponge cake; hello, rich, buttery, old-fashioned shortcake! Perfect for Easter, Mother’s day, spring brunch or summer desserts!

Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake wedges on plate with diced and whole strawberries in background.

What you’ll need for Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

A few simple ingredients, that I can almost guarantee you will have in your pantry and fridge, except maybe the fresh strawberries:

Strawberry Shortcake Ingredients L-R salt, milk, flour, sugar, baking powder, egg, nutmeg, butter.
  • ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR | I always use organic, unbleached all purpose flour for my baked goods, unless otherwise specified.
  • GRANULATED SUGAR | I used organic pure cane sugar, it’s a bit more coarse, but I love the caramel notes it lends to baked goods.
  • BAKING POWDER | provides the lift needed to elevate this to shortcake cake, I bake with no aluminum baking powder.
  • KOSHER SALT | just a touch, brings out the buttery sweetness
  • BUTTER | the real deal, all cream dairy butter, if it’s soft coming out of the fridge it’s not real butter.
  • EGG | Adds richness, along with provides leveling for the strawberry shortcake cake! I use large eggs in most of my recipes.
  • MILK | I used organic whole milk, I haven’t tested with lesser fat %, let me know if you try it!
  • STRAWBERRIES | kind of a must for Strawberry shortcake!
  • WHIPPED CREAM | Optional, but lends to a delicious strawberries and cream tasting dessert.

How to make Homemade Shortcake

Since this is made in a round cake pan, I think of this as more of a strawberry shortcake cake. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and grease a 9 or 8″ baking pan, or line with parchment paper.

Process short for Old-fashioned strawberry shortcake 1) adding sugar to dry ingredients 2) cutting in butter with pastry cutter.
  1. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and fresh grated nutmeg in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Using a pastry blender, food processor (carnet not to over mix) or two knives or even your hands, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Process shots for old-fashioned shortcake 3) mixing egg with milk 4) adding wet to dry ingredients.
  1. In a measuring cup, beat egg and milk together.
  2. Using a fork, gently stir into flour mixture, just until blended.
Process shots for Old-fashioned strawberry shortcake 5) pressed dough into pan 6) baked shortcake.
  1. Spread shortcake batter, pressing with your fingers evenly into prepared baking pan. This is not a pourable cake batter, more like a cookie or scone dough.
  2. Bake in preheated oven about 15 minutes for 8″ pan, 15-18 for 9″ pan. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to wire cooling rack to cool completely.

KATHLEEN’S TIP | Baking at a higher temperature yields a crisp brown top and a gooey center. If you prefer a more typical shortcake texture, then reduce the temp to 350 degrees and bake longer, test around 20 minutes.

The original recipe is from All Recipes and has lots of comments about baking times, I’ve given you my tips below.

Shortcake sliced into wedge or triangle in pretty glass dish with strawberries and whipped cream ready to assemble.

Make a Strawberry Shortcake Cake or Slab Cake

If you do not want to fuss with making individual mini strawberry shortcake desserts, then I suggest you keep your cake in whatever sized pan you chose, cool completely (very important) and then do the following:

  • Spread a layer of macerated strawberries over the top of the shortcake, then spread a layer of whipped cream, garnishing with a few whole strawberries OR
  • Flip it around and place the whipped cream on the shortcake first, then top with strawberries garnishing with fresh mint. Slice and serve, refrigerate until ready to serve.

How do I store Homemade Shortcake

Once cooled, store the shortcake in airtight container on counter up to 5 days. Or wrap well in plastic wrap and place in ziplock baggie and freeze up to 3 months.

Tips

  • PAN OPTIONS • Our motto at TFC is “Make It Yours”! So try different pans, an 8×8 or 9×9 square, 7×11, press into a tart pan or maybe 1 ½ x the recipe and make it in a 9×13 inch pan.
  • BERRIES • Nobody said you HAVE to use strawberries, try fresh cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, heck even mango, apricots, peaches, nectarines and pineapple would be amazing! Of course you’d have to change the name. 🙂
  • SPICE SWAP • Not a fan of nutmeg? Try a teaspoon of cinnamon, vanilla extract or leave out the spice all together.
  • MAKE AHEAD • Make and cool the shortcake completely, then refrigerate (up to 7 days) or freeze (up to 3 months) in air tight container.
  • CHEWY PREFERENCE • My directions will yield one crispy outside, but chewy, gooey inside old-fashioned shortcake, see below baking if you want a different result:
    • Crisp outside, chewy, gooey inside: Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes.
    • Cakier inside: Bake at 350-375 degrees F for 20-30 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a shortcake?

The name “shortcake” is derived from an old English cooking definition of short which referred to something made crisp with the addition of fat. Traditional shortcake is made from butter, making it crisp, dense without a big rise.

What is the difference between shortcake and shortbread?

While similar; they are different. The difference is that shortcake is made with milk, egg and a chemical leavening agent such as baking powder, which gives it a different texture.

Shortbread is made with more butter, typically no leavening or liquid, or egg and is more of a cookie than a cake.

How do you cut in butter?

Cutting in is a term used when the desired result is a lighter biscuit style baked good.
To cut in, you cube your butter and use a pastry blender, knives or even your fingers to blend butter into small crumbs, it is not creamed in and typically uses cold butter.

What does maceration mean?

The process of sugar drawing out the liquid in the berries in this case.

old-fashioned strawberry shortcake in glass dish with whipped cream and sprig of mint.

How to Assemble Strawberry Shortcake

You can make this cake in a round or square pan, cut into triangles like I did, or into neat squares, then add the following:

  1. Cut fresh strawberries into quarters or smaller chunks, place in bowl, sprinkle with 1-3 tablespoons of sugar*, tossing to coat. This process is called maceration**. Cover and allow the strawberries to sit on the counter for 20 minutes.
  2. If desired, remove ¼ cup of strawberries and mash with fork or masher, returning to the mixture.
  3. Place slice of shortcake cake on plate or bowl, spoon desired amount of berries over the top, top with whipped cream, serve immediately!

*Many recipes call for a lot more sugar when macerating strawberries; since this shortcake recipe is already sweet, I think a more tart strawberry adds a nice touch. Sweeten to taste.

Gluten and/or Dairy Free Strawberry Shortcake

  • Substitute the all purpose flour with a good cup-for-cup GF Flour.
  • Try using coconut oil in place of butter and plant based milk in place of whole milk and use a plant based whipped cream.

*I have not tried either of the two variations, but believe with the nature of the shortcake it should still turn out fine.

High Altitude Adjustments

No adjustments necessary for high altitude for this recipe.

More great recipes using fresh fruit:

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Glass footed bowl with wedge of shortcake covered in strawberries with whipped cream.
Yield: 8-10 Servings

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

You are going to fall in love with this Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake recipe. A cross between a cake and a cookie; buttery, rich, nutty; this will become your new favorite homemade shortcake recipe.

Ingredients

Shortcake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour | I used organic unbleached AP Flour
  • ¾ cup cane sugar | may use white granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder | no aluminum
  • ½ teaspoon salt | I used kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg or substitute with ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup butter, cold
  • 1 egg, large
  • ⅓ cup milk | I use whole milk in all of my recipes

Strawberries

  • 16-24 oz fresh ripe strawberries, quartered or diced
  • 1-3 tablespoons cane sugar, may use white sugar

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup Heavy Cream, I use organic heavy whipping cream
  • 1-3 tablespoons powdered sugar (to taste)
  • ¼-½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F and grease 8 or 9" baking pan. See notes if a cakier shortcake is desired.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and fresh grated nutmeg in a large mixing bowl.
    Using a pastry blender, food processor (careful not to over mix) or two knives or even your hands, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. In a measuring cup, beat egg and milk together. Using a fork, gently stir liquid into flour mixture, just until blended.
  4. Spread shortcake batter, pressing with your fingers evenly into prepared baking pan. This is not a pourable cake batter, more like a cookie or scone dough.
  5. Bake in preheated oven about 15 minutes for 9" pan, 15-18 for 8" pan (see notes for cakier shortcake).
  6. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to wire cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled, store the shortcake in airtight container on counter up to 5 days. Or wrap well in plastic wrap and place in ziplock baggie and freeze up to 3 months.

ASSEMBLE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

  1. Cut fresh strawberries into quarters or smaller chunks, place in bowl, sprinkle with 1-3 tablespoons of sugar (to taste), tossing to coat. This process is called maceration. Cover and allow the strawberries to sit on the counter for 20 minutes.
  2. If desired, remove ¼ cup of strawberries and mash with fork or masher, returning to the mixture.
  3. Place slice of shortcake cake on plate or bowl, spoon desired amount of berries over the top, top with whipped cream, serve immediately!

Notes

Tips & Substitutions

  • PAN OPTIONS • Our motto at TFC is "Make It Yours"! So try different pans, an 8x8 or 9x9 square, 7x11, maybe 1 ½ x the recipe and make it in a 9x13 inch pan.
  • BERRIES • Nobody said you HAVE to use strawberries, try fresh cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, heck even mango, apricots, peaches, nectarines and pineapple would be amazing! Of course you'd have to change the name. 🙂
  • SPICE SWAP • Not a fan of nutmeg? Try a teaspoon of cinnamon, vanilla extract or leave out the spice all together.
  • MAKE AHEAD • Make and cool the shortcake completely, then refrigerate (up to 7 days) or freeze (up to 3 months) in air tight container.
  • CHEWY PREFERENCE • My directions will yield one crispy outside, but chewy, gooey inside old-fashioned shortcake, see below baking if you want a different result:
    Crisp outside, cakier inside: Bake at 350-375 degrees F for 20-30 minutes.

GLUTEN OR DAIRY FREE SHORTCAKE

  • Substitute a all purpose flour with a good cup-for-cup GF Flour.
  • Try using coconut oil in place of butter and plant based milk in place of whole milk.

*I have not tried either of the two, but think with the nature of the shortcake it should still turn out fine.

HIGH ALTITUDE | No high altitude adjustments needed for this recipe.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 348Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 393mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 2gSugar: 20gProtein: 5g

The nutritional information is estimated and may not be entirely accurate, at times it pulls information for suggestions and options which may increase calories, etc. Nutritional information will change based on used ingredients, quantities used, etc.

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