Classic Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry shortcake can be very polarizing, did you know that? People have a definitive idea of what strawberry shortcake is to them (kind of like scones – do you mean fried bread or the baked English-style scones because ohmygosh, that’s a sensitive subject). I grew up eating strawberry shortcake the only way possible: angel food cake, strawberries and whipped cream, of course. I honestly never knew there was a different kind of strawberry shortcake until I was in college and after making the only kind of strawberry shortcake worth eating for my roommates, one of them announced that “this is good and all but it isn’t strawberry shortcake.” After picking my jaw up off the floor (food was very personal to me back then, too), I received a lesson in the history of strawberry shortcake. Come to find out classic strawberry shortcake is actually made with…well…a shortcake: a buttery, tender cake that melts in your mouth and is reminiscent of, come to think of it, a scone (and not the fried kind).

Classic Strawberry Shortcake

I decided I couldn’t let one more Valentine’s Day go by without getting a classic strawberry shortcake fit and ready for my recipe files (or in other words, this blog). We have strawberry shortcake constantly throughout the summer, but it also makes a much anticipated appearance on or near Valentine’s Day always. Of course I couldn’t let the task go by without making sure there was a chocolate version, too. Because, yeah. Chocolate. Hello.

Classic Strawberry Shortcake

The end verdict (after several tries and variations including scrapping rolling out and cutting individual biscuits in favor of baking it all in one pan) is that this strawberry shortcake is unbelievably delicious. Light, lovely cake that crumbles every so slightly around the juicy strawberries and creamy pillowy clouds of whipped cream. It certainly is classic. And it is most certainly fantastic. The perfect recipe for when you want a traditional strawberry shortcake.

I’m not sure I’ll ever forego my roots – I have a very, very soft spot for the angel food variety of strawberry shortcake but I’m awfully happy to add this version to strawberry shortcakes I love and admire (it’s good enough to make it into The Best Recipe section so that should be telling in and of itself).

P.S. If you are following along on running/race updates, here’s an incredibly awesome story submitted by Jill. The short 3-minute video she included is inspiring beyond words!

Classic Strawberry Shortcake

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Classic Strawberry Shortcake

Yield: Serves 9

Classic Strawberry Shortcake

For the chocolate version, replace the 1 1/2 cups flour with: 1 1/4 cup flour + 1/4 cup cocoa powder + 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

Also, the amount of strawberries (and cream for that matter) you use is really dependent on how loaded you want each serving of shortcake. I've given a general amount but increase if you'd like.


  • 4-6 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sweetened Whipped Cream:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Shortcake:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk (not skim)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Combine the sliced strawberries with the sugar and vanilla. Cover and let refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to several hours).
  3. For the whipped cream, beat the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla together (a blender works great for this) until thick. Refrigerate until ready to use (don't refrigerate longer than an hour or so or it will get a bit liquidy).
  4. For the shortcake, in a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter for 1-2 minutes with a handheld (or stand) electric mixer. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
  5. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt (see the note above for the chocolate version).
  6. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix. Pour in half the milk and mix again. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix followed by the rest of the milk. Mix in the milk and add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  7. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (don't overbake or it will be dry).
  8. Let the shortcake cool. Cut into squares, slice in half horizontally (like a hamburger bun). Place the bottom half on a plate, top with a spoonful of strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream. Top with the other half of shortcake and top with additional berries and whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source: classic version adapted from this Taste of Home recipe (I altered it to make a chocolate version, too)

44 Responses to Classic Strawberry Shortcake {With a Decadent Chocolate Version}

  1. Liz says:

    Yum! Just made this and we all loved it. I’ve only had angel food cake or pound cake but I love this recipe…didn’t realize it was supposed to be like this 🙂 The cake wasn’t overly sweet…it tasted so good with the berries and whip cream. I also added just 1/8 t almond extract and my kids said it had the flavor of my sugar cookies…probably because of the almond extract. Anyways it’s a keeper! Thank you!

  2. Julie R says:

    I made the vanilla version tonight, and it was fantastic! Thanks, Mel!

  3. WrayLynn says:

    I would also like to know if this can be doubled and made in a 10×13 pan. My son has requested this for his birthday celebration. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      I’ve never tried it that way, sorry! Feel free to experiment!

      • WrayLynn says:

        I doubled it and cooked in 10X13 pan and it worked great. Next time I’ll make sure we have extra strawberries, though. Doubling the strawberries wasn’t quite enough for the whole cake (or maybe we just like strawberries too much)

  4. Astasia says:

    Could this be doubled and made in a 9×13 pan? If so, how would it change the baking time?

  5. fmandds says:

    This was our fourth of July dessert, with blueberries added in to fit the theme. I also made both the vanilla and chocolate version. I preferred the chocolate. My nephews had seconds. It was much easier to bake two 9 inch cakes than to roll out or scoop dough to make “cakes”. Thanks for another amazing recipe.

  6. Rachel Russell says:

    Made this for mothers day and family now insists we make shortcake this way every time- no more angel food nonsense. LOVED THIS!!!

  7. Grace says:

    Oh Mel, this looks amazing! I am going to make it now 😉 Could I substitute sour cream or buttermilk for the whole milk? Wild thy make it a. Bit moister?

  8. Susan says:

    And I am going to try your version of shortcake today for Easter dinner, thanks.

  9. Susan says:

    I grew up making the shortcake version of strawberry shortcake, although I love it both ways. I make a homemade angel food cake. One thing that we always did that makes the shortcake prettier (in my opinion) to serve is make it in an 8 inch round pan, then slice like pie and cut in half. Also a hint about helping whipping cream to stabilize I learned from my grandma to put a 1/8 tsp. of cream of tartar in before you beat cream. It works great and doesn’t change the flavor of the cream, it holds up so well. Cheaper than the stabilizers we used to use in the bakery when I was a teenager.

  10. Sally says:

    (And I mean making the shortcake a day ahead not assembling it with berries and cream). 🙂

  11. Sally says:

    I was just wondering how well this keeps– thoughts on making it for the next day? Thanks.

  12. Valerie says:

    I made this for dessert tonight and it was really good! The shortcake reminded me of a sugar cookie flavor. The only thing I’d do differently next time is make the whipped topping sweeter. (probably granulated sugar would make it sweeter for me)

  13. The irish part of my family feels so strongly about scones, I wonder what they will think of them being called shortcake, jaja! I think this recipe is spot-on, especially with a chocolate variation!

  14. I appreciate your cake. Sure, I will try it on this valentine day for someone

  15. Nicole H says:

    We had this on Monday and I’m already thinking about making it again for the weekend. It had just the right amount of sweetness and was very refreshing. Yum! Maybe we’ll go for the chocolate version next… Thanks for this recipe!

  16. Jen T says:

    Made the chocolate version tonight for Sunday night treat. Yum!!! My kids said, “that is fancy” and everyone loved it. Thanks Mel!!!

  17. Ashley says:

    You should try this version of Strawberry Shortcake from
    Soooo good. My husband never really loved S. Shortcake until I made this version. The cake is crispy around the edges and rich and gooey inside and has awesome flavor. (I used almond extract instead of lemon. Delish!)

    This one looks delicious too. Can’t wait to give it a try!

  18. We always had the angel food version growing up too, but I like the real thing better I think. And chocolate?! That’s just plain awesome, everything is better with chocolate, so I’m sure this is no exception!

  19. BEAR says:

    Cant wait to try this. Am I the only one here who grew up with ice cream as a part of strawberry shortcake. My mom (way back in prehistoric times LOL) used to make us SSC and a scoop of vanilla ice cream was always in there. Anyone else have that?

    Thanks again for all you do Mel


  20. Beth says:

    Wow. What perfect timing! Came home today with almost 30 lbs of strawberries. Prime picking right now in SW Florida!

  21. Tamra says:

    I bake the shortcake in a 9×13 pan. Then we cut pieces, place them in a bowl, add strawberries and juice, pour on milk and top with whipped cream. YUM!

  22. Strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite desserts…and I prefer a classic shortcake to angel food or other cakes for the base (though I wouldn’t say no to them 🙂 This looks wonderful and I love the two versions.

  23. sweetpea says:

    Strawberries (from Florida) are in the stores! And they’re beautiful (and pretty tasty). I
    generally go the angel food cake route – love it– pound cake base is good, too.
    However, I grew up making pie crust dough and rolling it out thin and cutting out
    circles by knifing around an inverted saucer and baking on a cookie sheet til done. Cool and top with berries and cream.

  24. Cyndi B says:

    This looks great! When I was young, my mother(who is a great mom but not a great cook), made strawberry shortcake,she used those grocery store sponge shells. They are shaped like a disk with a sunken center and a very dry,spongy texture. Needless to say I have never been a fan of strawberry shortcake. This looks great though. As usual, you have a way of elevating the ordinary to extraordinary. Thanks for another great recipe.

  25. Holly W says:

    So I thought I was going to make cheesecake for our candlelight and china Valentine’s dinner with my husband, children and elderly grandmother – then I saw your post and realized I was wrong. I’m not making cheesecake now. How could I with this beautiful strawberry shortcake staring at me? (Like you, I’ve only ever used angel food cake but I’ve always wanted to try a true shortcake with some strawberries and cream!) Thank you thank you!

  26. Hilary says:


    My sister-in-law is Hollie Smith, a very credible culinary source. She gave me this recipe a few years ago. I have it archived in my email but it always takes me a while to scrounge it up. You NEED to make this. Then you NEED to post it so I can easily find the recipe when I need it.


    Caramel Cookie Bars

    2 cups butter
    2 1/4 cup brown sugar
    3 cups flour
    3 cups oats
    1 tsp salt
    1tsp soda
    1 bottle of Mrs. Richardson’s butterscotch caramel or homeade caramel
    16 oz milk chocolate chips

    soften butter. in a large bowl mix butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, salt and soda together. Take 3/4 mixture and press on cookie sheet (press up on sides). Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350. Let cool, then pour on caramel. Spread evenly, sprinkle on chocolate chips. then sprinkle remaining cookie mixture on the top. Bake an additional 10-12 minutes.

    • Mel says:

      Hey Hilary! I love that Hollie Smith and agree that she knows a thing or two about cooking. Thanks for the recipe. I’m actually going to make them tomorrow!

  27. Vanessa C. says:

    I think you can read my mind! Strawberries were on sale recently and I thought, I wonder if Mel has a strawberry shortcake recipe! The chocolate one looks delish! Can’t wait to make it. My mom used to use those pre-made shortcake cup things you can find at the store, but she did use freshly whipped cream…always delicious!

  28. Jen T says:

    Love strawberry shortcake. have never seen a chocolate version! Yum! My small town grocery store has very sad looking and very expensive strawberries right now, but going to the city this weekend and Costco, so hoping theirs are better and cheaper because these two recipes are calling my name! Thanks Mel!

  29. I’m with ya on the strawberry shortcake confusion. I grew up using angel food cake too, and it seems like a no-brainer. I don’t know if I can ever be truly converted to the “right” way, but this looks amazing. Especially the chocolate version! Pinning to try both. Maybe in one night. Whoa! 🙂

  30. Cammee says:

    I’m with you on the angel food cake variety. Several years ago I tried a shortcake recipe and it was so good. The recipe I used added a little lemon zest to the shortcake. It was heavenly or, dare I say, angelic! 😉 I like yours though because it’s cooked in a cake pan, not rolled and cut out. Can’t wait to try!

  31. Oh goodness gracious, how could you do this to me. Just yesterday I was thinking about strawberry shortcake. Here in OR we may buy the occasional container of CA strawberries but they just don’t compare to OR strawberries so we wait until the local berries are ready before making anything like this. That it JUNE!

  32. Charlotte Moore says:

    Love strawberry shortcake. My mom made a big 3 layer cake with divinity frosting and strawberries sliced with sugar that made juice on each layer to soak in the cake. Then was topped with large whole strawberries. It was a beautiful cake and there was never a crumb when she took it to church homecomings or family reunions. YUM!!!!! My mouth is watering now. HA!!!

  33. Teresa R. says:

    I grew up with pound cake as the base of strawberry shortcake. For Valentine’s Day your chocolate version looks perfect. I have a hard time finding good strawberries in February,, but I’ll look around and see what I can find. My mind tells me Christmas was just last week, but the calendar says Valentines Day is only about a week away. How did that happen?

  34. You are so right! I grew up with strawberry shortcake my mom made from Bisquick, and I have a hard time deviating from it. But yours looks amazing! One of my very favorite desserts :0)

  35. Wendy says:

    I’m woth you, Mel. The first time I followed an actual strawberry shortcake recipe (from our old pal Strawberry Shortcake), I was appalled that I made a brick (relatively speaking) for my fluffy strawberries and whipped cream. It is tradition on my birthday (this month) to have the “real” thing–fluffy yellow cake or angel food cake with the works. I’m hesitant, but I will trust you and try this in the near future. Thanks!

  36. Misty says:

    I just happen to have a ton of strawberries and just enough heavy cream on hand… I am going to try the chocolate version tonight or this weekend! no powdered sugar though… would regular sugar work for the whipped cream? We are going to the store tonight, so i can get some, but we rarely use the stuff so not sure it is worth it.

  37. I am defiantly the shortcake kind of gal for strawberry shortcake. It’s not quite strawberry season here yet in the northwest, but I can dream for a bit! Fresh strawberries are a sure sign spring is coming!

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