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Strawberry Shortcake

The Best STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE CAKE recipe featuring a moist white layer cake filled with strawberries and whipped cream topping. The quintessential summer dessert cake with freshly sliced strawberries and cream.
Strawberry shortcake cake on a white plate. A double layer of white cake with sliced strawberries and whipped cream filled in the center. It's topped with more sliced strawberries in juice and whipped cream. Text on top in red and white reads strawberry shortcake.

The perfect Strawberry Shortcake for a delicious summer dessert. A classic summer cake made with plenty of strawberry flavor. This light tasting cake is great to make for spring and summer holidays like Mother’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. It’s also great for all those summer graduation parties, potlucks, served as a birthday cake, BBQ dinner parties, and just about every other special occasion. While shortcakes can traditionally be made with a biscuit cake, I like a moist white cake instead.

It’s that time of year again where fresh strawberries regularly appear in our diet. Strawberries make a great addition to dishes like salad recipes, smoothies, shakes, pies, cakes, cupcakes, ice cream, in my favorite Strawberry Dessert Bars, just to name a few.  

They can jazz up any old dish and bring the flavor to their head by adding strawberries.  In fact, if you like strawberries, this Strawberry Poke Cake is a must! If you love this recipe, check out our Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes recipe that is sure to please everyone!

Strawberry Shortcake Cake -  Strawberry shortcake recipe served on a white plate with white burlap. A decadent two layer white cake with sliced strawberries in a sugar sauce and whipped cream frosting.

If you live in the south, then you know this dessert recipe is a must during those hot and humid summer months. Sit back and relax with a cold glass of sweet tea and enjoy this simple and gourmet cake recipe that is sure to please!

HOW TO MAKE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

  1. Cream shortening and sugar.
  2. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  3. Beat in vanilla extract.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Slowly mix in a little of the dry ingredients at a time, alternating with milk.
  6. Bake in 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Slice strawberries and heat them on the stove with sugar.
  8. Cut cake in half horizontally.
  9. Spread on the whipped cream topping.
  10. Spoon strawberries on top.
  11. Add the top layer of the cake.
  12. Frost with more whipped cream and strawberries.
  13. Slice and serve.
Strawberry Shortcake - A close up view of strawberry shortcake served as a square piece of cake on a white plate. Whipped cream and sliced strawberries in the center layer of the cake. Topped with more whipped cream and strawberries on top.

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE INGREDIENTS

■ STRAWBERRIES: You’ll need plenty of strawberries for this recipe. Use fresh strawberries over frozen berries. However, if the strawberry selection isn’t the best, opt to use frozen strawberries or frozen strawberries in syrup.

Typically, I make this cake when strawberries are the juiciest in spring and summer, but I have been known to make this cake for birthdays during the winter months, too.

■ WHIPPED CREAM: Can be homemade from scratch with heavy whipping cream and sugar, or store bought whipped cream topping works just as well.

■ FLOUR: Nothing fancy. All-purpose flour gives this cake a delicate enough crumb.

Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake - Strawberry shortcake served on a white plate with square slices in the background with a purple backdrop. The cake slice in the frost is a double layer with a whipped cream and strawberry center and more whipped cream frosting on top with sliced strawberries in sauce.

■ SUGAR: You’ll need 1⅓ cups of sugar to make this two layer cake.

■ EGGS: Eggs will bind the cake ingredients together and add a little richness.

■ VANILLA EXTRACT: Use quality vanilla extract for the best tasting white cake recipe. Skip imitation vanilla extract. Since it’s a white cake, you’ll want to be sure to taste quality vanilla flavor.

■ MILK: Adds moisture to the cake so the crumb isn’t dry.

■ SHORTENING: Using shortening in this recipe yields a cake that is incredible light tasting and moist. Quality butter may be substituted.

Using fresh strawberries

With all the extra strawberries from the farmer’s market, I’ve been on a strawberry baking spree these past few weeks.  It’s no wonder this is my favorite season and for a good reason! No matter how many strawberries I have in the fridge, I keep coming home with more and using them in new and traditional recipes. Using fresh strawberries will give you the best strawberry shortcake recipe.

Easy Strawberry Shortcake - A close up view of strawberry shortcake layers. White cake filled with whipped cream and pieces of strawberries in the center. Topped with another layer of white cake and a thick frosting of whipped cream topping and layers of sliced strawberries in sauce.

Strawberries make a great addition to cakes. With the arrival of summer comes fresh strawberry picking. If you’re anything like me and gather family and friends up to go strawberry picking, this recipe is a great way to use up any extra strawberries you may have after making jam, canning, and salads.

If you’re looking for more reasons to eat strawberries, here are just a few.  Strawberries boost immunity, fight wrinkles, fight bad cholesterol, reduce inflammation, regulate blood pressure, aid in weight management and may help to prevent cancer.

A quicker strawberry shortcake dessert salad version . . .

This white layer cake with strawberry sauce filling takes 35 minutes to make from top to bottom. If you’re short on time but still want to enjoy this dessert, try my Strawberry Shortcake Fluff Salad. It features classic pound cake pieces with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and mini marshmallows in an easy and quick to make dessert salad.

Common Questions for Strawberry Shortcake

Q: Can I use heavy creamer?

A: This recipe for strawberry shortcake calls for whipped cream topping, which is typically a pre-made, stabilized whipped cream product that is available in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. If you are unable to find whipped cream topping, you can make your own whipped cream using heavy cream. To make whipped cream, you will need to whip heavy cream with an electric mixer until it reaches a soft peak consistency, then add sugar and vanilla extract to taste. Whipped cream made from heavy cream is usually richer and creamier than whipped cream topping, so it’s a matter of personal preference which one to use. If you prefer a lighter and more stable whipped cream for this recipe, you can use whipped cream topping. If you prefer a richer and fresher whipped cream, you can use heavy cream to make your own whipped cream.

Q: Should I use any lemon zest?

A: This recipe strawberry shortcake does not call for lemon zest as an ingredient. However, some recipes for strawberry shortcake may include lemon zest as a flavor enhancer or to complement the flavor of the strawberries. If you prefer a slightly tangy and citrusy flavor in your strawberry shortcake, you can add a small amount of lemon zest (about 1 teaspoon or less) to the cake batter or to the whipped cream topping. It’s always a good idea to start with a small amount and adjust according to your taste preference.

Q: Do I use salted or unsalted butter?

A: It depends on personal preference and the recipe you are following. In general, unsalted butter is preferred in baking because it allows for better control over the amount of salt in the recipe. If a recipe calls for salt, it is usually added separately to balance the flavor. However, if you only have salted butter on hand, you can use it in most baking recipes by reducing or omitting the added salt. For the specific recipe you provided for strawberry shortcake, it does not call for butter, so you do not need to worry about whether to use salted or unsalted butter.

Q: Do I need an electric mixer to make this recipe?

A: Yes, an electric mixer is recommended for this specific strawberry shortcake recipe. The recipe calls for creaming together the shortening and sugar, which is typically easier and more efficient with an electric mixer. Additionally, the recipe suggests alternating between adding dry ingredients and milk with the mixer on low speed. While it may be possible to mix these ingredients by hand, using an electric mixer will help to ensure that the batter is well combined and smooth.

Q: What’s the difference between shortcake and cake?

A: Shortcake is a type of cake that is typically made with a higher ratio of butter to flour, resulting in a crumbly and tender texture. The name “shortcake” comes from the term “shortening,” which refers to the use of butter or other fat to make the cake tender and crumbly.

Compared to traditional cakes, shortcakes are usually less sweet, less fluffy, and more crumbly. Shortcakes are often used as a base for desserts, such as strawberry shortcake, and are typically served with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

In contrast, traditional cakes are typically made with a lower ratio of fat to flour, resulting in a denser and more structured texture. Cakes are often sweeter than shortcakes and may be frosted or decorated with other toppings.

Overall, the main difference between shortcake and cake is the ratio of fat to flour and the resulting texture, with shortcakes being more crumbly and tender and cakes being denser and more structured.

Q: How do you cut strawberries for cake topping?

A: There are a few different ways to cut strawberries for cake topping, depending on your preference and the presentation you’re going for. Here are a few options:

Sliced strawberries: Slice the strawberries thinly, from top to bottom, so that they are uniform in size and shape. This is a classic way to top a strawberry shortcake or other dessert, and looks particularly nice when arranged in concentric circles.

Diced strawberries: Cut the strawberries into small, bite-sized pieces. This is a good option if you want the strawberries to be more evenly distributed throughout the dessert.

Halved or quartered strawberries: Cut the strawberries in half or quarters, depending on their size. This is a good option if you want the strawberries to be more prominent and visible on top of the cake.

No matter which method you choose, be sure to wash and dry the strawberries thoroughly before cutting them and use a sharp knife to avoid crushing or damaging the fruit. Also, try to cut the strawberries as close to the time of serving as possible, as they can become watery and lose their shape if cut too far in advance.

Q: Can strawberry shortcake recipe be made in advance?

A: Yes, this strawberry shortcake recipe can be made in advance, but it’s important to store the components separately until you’re ready to assemble and serve the dessert. Here are some tips for making strawberry shortcakes in advance:

Shortcake biscuits: You can make the shortcake biscuits up to a day ahead of time. Once they have cooled to room temperature, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container and store them at room temperature.

Strawberries: You can slice the strawberries up to a day ahead of time and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If the strawberries release a lot of juice, you may want to drain off some of the excess liquid before using them to assemble the shortcakes.

Whipped cream: Whipped cream can be made up to 4-6 hours ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Be sure to whisk and whip it again briefly before using it to assemble the shortcakes, as it may separate or lose its fluffiness over time.

When you’re ready to assemble the strawberry shortcakes, simply slice the shortcake biscuits in half, top them with sliced strawberries and whipped cream, and serve immediately. Note that assembled strawberry shortcakes should be eaten within a few hours of assembly, as the biscuits can become soggy if they sit for too long with the strawberries and whipped cream.

Strawberry Shortcake Cake - Strawberry shortcake recipe served on a white plate with white burlap. A decadent two layer white cake with sliced strawberries in a sugar sauce and whipped cream frosting.

Strawberry Shortcake

The Best STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE CAKE recipe featuring a moist white layer cake filled with strawberries and whipped cream topping. The quintessential summer dessert cake with freshly sliced strawberries and cream.
4.78 from 9 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 452 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 16 ounces Whipped cream topping
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 qts fresh or frozen strawberries sliced

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 11-inch baking pan with foil/parchment paper and grease; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl or large bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk; set aside.
  • In a bowl fit with a mixer, cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat well.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly alternate between adding dry ingredients and milk.
  • Pour mixture into greased baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
    Cool on wire rack.
  • Place sliced strawberries and sugar in medium saucepan on medium heat and stir gently until the sugar is dissolved. Take off heat and set aside.
  • Once the cake is cool, cut the cake into 9 or 12 pieces.
  • Next, cut each piece in half.
    Spread whipped cream in the center of each piece and spoon strawberries over the top. Place top layer of cake on top and spread whipped cream and strawberries over each piece.

Notes

This cake may be left as a single layer. Just be sure to add lots of whipped cream topping and strawberries to the top.

Nutrition

Calories: 452kcalCarbohydrates: 80gProtein: 8gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 150mgPotassium: 643mgFiber: 6gSugar: 45gVitamin A: 172IUVitamin C: 139mgCalcium: 183mgIron: 3mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.

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Easy Strawberry Shortcake recipe with double white cake layers and strawberries and whipped cream topping.
Strawberry Shortcake recipe

updated 7/2023

64 Responses

  1. 4 stars
    Isn’t sugar a dry ingredient? Not sure if I missed something, but step 1 was to mix all the dry ingredients together, then steps 3 and 7 mention sugar without amounts specified. Seems like I was supposed to split the sugar but no idea into what amounts. Oh well, cake turned out fine.

    1. Yes, creamy oat milk is a suitable substitute for milk, especially for those with dairy allergies or intolerances. In baking, milk primarily provides moisture, so most non-dairy milk alternatives can work well as replacements.

      Here are some considerations when substituting with oat milk:

      Consistency: Oat milk tends to be naturally creamier than some other non-dairy milks. If you’re using a particularly thick oat milk, you might consider diluting it slightly with water to match the consistency of regular milk. However, if it’s about the same thickness as regular milk, you can use it as a 1:1 substitute.

      Sweetness: Oat milk can be slightly sweeter than regular milk, even the unsweetened versions. This slight sweetness usually doesn’t make a significant difference in most recipes, but it’s something to keep in mind.

      Flavor: Oat milk has a mild, naturally sweet flavor that tends to blend well in baked goods. It should work nicely in a Strawberry Shortcake recipe.

      Other Alternatives: If you ever need other substitutes, almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, and coconut milk are commonly used non-dairy alternatives. Remember to choose unsweetened versions to avoid adding extra sugar to the recipe unless the recipe can accommodate the added sweetness.

  2. Hello! I tried this recipe as a single layer and it was delicious. My son wants it for his birthday cake tomorrow! I will be using butter, should it be at room temperature? I also wanted to know if I can assemble the cake this evening for tomorrow afternoon. Thanks!

    1. I’m glad to hear the recipe was a hit!

      Butter: Yes, if you’re substituting butter for the shortening in the cake recipe, it should be at room temperature. Room temperature butter is easier to cream with sugar, leading to a smoother batter and a fluffier cake. Just make sure it’s soft enough to be easily indented when pressed with a fingertip but not so soft that it’s greasy or melted.

      Assembling in Advance: You can assemble the cake the evening before, but there are a few things to consider:

      Moisture: The strawberries, especially if macerated or cooked down with sugar, can make the cake soggy if left on for too long. If you’re using fresh strawberries that haven’t been combined with sugar, this is less of a concern.

      Whipped Cream: Whipped cream can lose its loft and become watery over time. It’s best when freshly whipped. If you’re using a store-bought whipped cream topping that’s stabilized, it should hold up better.

      Storage: If you do assemble the cake in advance, store it in the refrigerator to keep the whipped cream stable and the strawberries fresh. Take it out about 30 minutes to an hour before serving to let it come to room temperature.

      If you want to get a head start, consider baking the cake and preparing the strawberries the evening before, then assembling with freshly whipped cream shortly before the event. This approach allows for some advance preparation while ensuring the finished cake is at its best for the birthday celebration.

      Whatever you decide, I hope your son has a fantastic birthday and enjoys the cake!

    1. Yes, you can use two 8-inch round pans in place of a 9×11-inch baking pan for the Strawberry Shortcake recipe. Using two 8-inch round pans will give you a layered cake effect, which can be lovely for presentation.

      Here are a few things to keep in mind when using the round pans:

      Baking Time: The baking time may vary since the batter’s depth in the round pans could be different from that in the rectangular pan. Start checking the cakes for doneness a bit earlier than the time mentioned for the 9×11 pan.

      Layering: Once baked, you can slice each round cake in half horizontally to have 4 layers in total. This will allow you to layer strawberries and whipped cream between each layer, giving a lovely visual effect when sliced.

      Adjustment: Ensure the batter is evenly divided between the two round pans to ensure even baking.

      Cooling: Allow the cakes to cool thoroughly before assembling with the whipped cream and strawberries.

      Remember to keep an eye on the cakes as they bake, and test for doneness with a toothpick or a skewer. If it comes out clean, the cakes are done.

      Enjoy your Strawberry Shortcake!

    1. In this recipe, the instructions call for shortening. However, if you prefer to use butter instead, you can certainly do so. Here’s how you can substitute butter for the shortening:

      Replace the ½ cup of shortening with an equal amount of butter.
      Use unsalted butter if you have it on hand. If you only have salted butter, you can still use it, but you may want to reduce the added salt in the recipe by about ¼ teaspoon to account for the salt in the butter.
      Regarding heating up the strawberries, the recipe instructs to place sliced strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan on medium heat and stir gently until the sugar is dissolved. This step is done to create a syrupy consistency and enhance the flavor of the strawberries. Heating the strawberries with sugar helps to release their juices and create a sweetened strawberry sauce that can be spooned over the cake.

      Heating the strawberries also softens them slightly, making them easier to spread over the cake layers and infusing the cake with their delicious flavor. It’s a common technique used in strawberry shortcake recipes to create a more flavorful and moist dessert.

      I hope this answers your questions. Let me know if you have any more!

  3. 5 stars
    Has anyone made the cake with real whipped cream instead of whipped topping? I have a strong aversion to Cool Whip, but I’m not sure real whipped cream would hold up. Thoughts?

    1. Hey Jenn,

      Yes, you can definitely use real whipped cream instead of a whipped topping like Cool Whip. Freshly whipped cream generally has a richer taste and better texture.

      For the whipped cream, you could whip about 2 cups of heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until it forms stiff peaks. This should be enough to replace the 16 ounces of whipped topping called for in the recipe.

      One thing to note is that real whipped cream is not as stable as store-bought whipped toppings, which contain stabilizers. If you’re serving the cake immediately, that shouldn’t be a problem. If the cake will be sitting out for a while, or if you’re making it ahead, you might want to stabilize the whipped cream. This can be done by adding a tablespoon of cornstarch or unflavored gelatin to the cream as you whip it.

      Remember to keep the cake refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it, as this will help the whipped cream maintain its structure.

    1. Yes, you can use a 9×13 pan instead. However, since it’s slightly larger, the cake layer might be thinner and it could bake a bit faster. So, start checking the cake for doneness a few minutes earlier than the original recipe suggests, just to avoid overbaking. An inserted toothpick should come out clean when the cake is done.

      Another option, if you have it, would be to use two 8×8 or 9×9 square pans. The baking time may also need to be adjusted with these pans, so keep an eye on the cake as it bakes.

    1. Yes, you can substitute oil for shortening in this recipe, but it might alter the texture slightly. Shortening is 100% fat, while most oils are about 90% fat and 10% water. This could make the cake slightly denser. When substituting, use 7/8 cup of oil for every 1 cup of shortening. For this recipe that would be about 7/16 cup, or just under 1/2 cup of oil. If you don’t mind the slight change in texture, it can be a good substitution.

  4. If multiplying the ingredients x3 to make 36 servings, what size pan would I use to make a 2 layer cake?

    1. If you triple the recipe for 36 servings and want to make a 2-layer cake, you should consider using round cake pans which will allow you to evenly distribute the batter and ensure proper baking time.

      Here’s a general guideline:

      The recipe calls for a 9 x 11-inch baking pan. The area of this pan is approximately 99 square inches.
      If you triple the recipe, you’d need a pan (or pans) with about 3 x 99 = 297 square inches.
      A common size for a round cake pan is 9 inches in diameter, which has an area of about 64 square inches. So if you’re making a 2-layer cake, you would need two of these, for a total area of about 128 square inches.
      To accommodate the tripled recipe, you would need more than two 9-inch pans for two layers.
      In practice, however, such large round pans may not be readily available or practical. Alternatively, you can consider using multiple 9-inch round pans and create more than two layers. You can also use rectangular or square baking dishes, according to what is available to you. Remember that the baking time might vary depending on the pan you choose. It’s always best to check for doneness with a toothpick or cake tester.

      Another option is to use three 13×9-inch baking pans which will give you an approximate total area of 351 square inches, slightly more than what you need but should work just fine.

      Remember, these calculations are for estimation purposes. You will need to adjust baking times based on the size and material of the pans you end up using.

      1. 5 stars
        I want to preface this by saying that I love this cake recipe, however the conversion to a tiered cake is definitely wrong. I doubled the recipe and it’s currently overflowing out of my two pans. If you double the recipe it should be three tiers not two.

        1. Hey Jessica! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the recipe. I totally understand where you’re coming from, and it’s awesome that you love this cake! I apologize if the conversion to a tiered cake didn’t quite work out for you. Doubling the recipe seems to have caused some overflow in your two pans, which can be frustrating. In situations like this, it might be better to divide the batter into three pans instead of two. That way, you can achieve a fabulous three-tiered cake without any overflow mishaps. I appreciate your feedback, and I hope your next baking adventure turns out beautifully. Keep rocking those delicious cakes, Jessica!

    1. Hey Donna! Great question! When heating up the sliced strawberries, you’ll want to add 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. That’ll help dissolve the sugar and give the strawberries a sweet and syrupy goodness. Enjoy making your Strawberry Shortcake! It’s gonna be delicious!

  5. 5 stars
    I ❤️ this recipe! I have been making it for the last several years, every time we go strawberry picking at the Orchard. Now that I do Noom, I was wondering if you had a calorie count per serving?

  6. 5 stars
    This is the best shortcake recipe! It had a very nice light texture, but still held up with the strawberries. Thanks for sharing. Joanne

  7. Can I put this together a few hours before serving, or will it get mushy? It would be in fridge for about 5 hours before serving.

  8. This shortcake looks delicious. I plan to make it on the Fourth of July. I have creamed butter and sugar together but I have never creamed shortening and sugar. What kind of shortening did you use? (Crisco) Thanks for the recipe.

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