Strawberry Shortcake

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Classic strawberry shortcake is the perfect dessert during strawberry season. This easy recipe starts with homemade dessert cups. We fill the cups with marinated berries and add dollops of fresh whipped cream. Like fresh strawberry pie, it’s a great way to enjoy ripe berries.

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Strawberry shortcake dessert on a small plate with fork and gingham red/white napkin.

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🍓 Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s an easy recipe that comes together with refrigerator and pantry staples.
  • The dessert cups can be baked in advance and saved for later. They also freeze well.
  • You can make the whipped cream in advance as well. Or you can use a store-bought canister of spray whipped cream instead.
  • Slice the berries and assemble the strawberry shortcakes when you’re ready to serve this delicious dessert. For extra lusciousness, you can fold the berries in this strawberry glaze.
  • It’s a great way to use and enjoy ripe strawberries when they’re at the peak of flavor.

🛒 Ingredients

Strawberry Shortcake Cups

These homemade dessert cups taste so much better than store bought. This simple recipe produces 9 classic strawberry shortcake cups.

  • All-Purpose Flour: Provides strength and structure for the cake batter.
  • Cornstarch: Helps create light fluffy cakes.
  • Baking Powder: A leavening agent that helps the dessert rise in the oven.
  • Baking Soda: We use it in combination with baking powder because the batter has some acidic ingredients – lemon juice and lemon zest.
  • Kosher Sea Salt: Brightens the flavor of the cake batter so it doesn’t taste bland.
  • Large Eggs: Help bind the batter together.
  • Lemon Juice: Adds a bright lemon flavor that makes the cakes tasty.
  • Lemon Zest: For a more pronounced lemon taste.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: Enhances the flavor of the other ingredients.
  • Granulated Sugar: Adds the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: Adds rich delicious moisture.
  • Butter: Contributes a yummy buttery taste.
Ingredients for strawberry shortcake cups on a maple cutting board.

Strawberry Shortcake Filling

  • Fresh Strawberries: Rinsed, hulled and sliced.
  • Granulated Sugar: Enhances the natural sweetness of the berries.
  • Optional Garnish: Lemon or lime zest

Whipped Cream Topping

  • Heavy Whipping Cream: Is the base of our delicious whipped cream.
  • Granulated Sugar: Provides the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Kosher Sea Salt: Just a pinch is needed to balance the flavor.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: Contributes a delicious vanilla flavor and aroma.
Ingredients for strawberry shortcake filling: strawberries, granulated sugar, heavy cream, sea salt, vanilla extract.

Prep the Strawberry Filling

For a classic strawberry shortcake filling, prep the berries before baking the cakes. The fruit needs time to marinate. While in the fridge, the sliced strawberries will release their juices. Those juices plus the sugar create a delicious syrup.

  1. Remove strawberry stems. Hull and slice with a paring knife.
  2. Place the berries in a bowl. Toss with granulated sugar.
  3. Cover and refrigerate.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert Tip: If you’re in a hurry to make the strawberry filling, feel free to use this 3-minute strawberry glaze. You can make it up to 5 days in advance and refrigerate until needed. All you have to do to assemble the berry filling is pour the glaze over the berries and toss.

Strawberry shortcake filling: hulled and sliced strawberries in a bowl plus granulated sugar.

No Brownie Bowl Dessert Pan (see image below)? Use a cupcake pan instead.

Special USA Pan for baking strawberry shortcake cups that look like store-bought dessert cups.

📖 Recipe Steps – Make the Dessert Cups

👉🏻 How to Measure Flour: Fluff, sprinkle, swipe. With a spoon, fluff up the flour in the bag. By the spoonful, sprinkle it into the measuring cup. Swipe off excess with a knife.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix briefly with a spoon to combine. Put it aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whip egg whites with an electric mixer (or hand mixer) until foamy. Add lemon juice. Continue whipping until the whites are stiff but not dry.
  3. In a large bowl, whip egg yolks and vanilla extract together for 1 minute. Add the sugar. Whip until almost doubled in volume. The color of the yolks will become a shade lighter.
  4. Gradually add egg whites to yolks, folding them in with a rubber spatula. When almost combined, gradually fold in the dry ingredients. Add cool melted butter, heavy cream and lemon zest. Fold them in. But don’t over-mix or the dessert cups will be heavy and dense.
  5. Fill cavities of prepared pan just under 3/4 full with batter. Bake 18 to 20 minutes. Don’t over-bake or the cakes will be dry.
4 images showing how to make strawberry shortcake. It's the recipe for strawberry shortcake cups.

Use a Brownie Bowl Pan for Dessert Cups

The best bakeware for this strawberry shortcake recipe is the brownie bowl pan. It’s available for purchase on Amazon. Between batches of triple chocolate brownies for sundaes, this pan has a favorite side hustle. I use it for homemade strawberry shortcake cups!

HOW TO TEST IF CAKES ARE DONE: When touched with a finger, the surface of the cake should spring back. It should not be sticky. The edges should be a light golden blonde.

Overhead view of 7 strawberry shortcake cups on a plate. You can view the hollow centers.

Make-Ahead Whipped Cream

This is a stabilized whipped cream that doesn’t call for gelatin. It’s great for warm-weather months. The extra sugar allows it hold up well. When stored in an airtight container, it’ll last in the fridge for up to 3 days. But you may need to rewhip it again to restore the firm texture.

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with whip attachment, combine cream, sugar, salt and vanilla extract.
  2. Mix on medium-low for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high. Whip 3 minutes or until cream is thick and firm peaks hold.
A mixing bowl of whipped cream for strawberry shortcake filling.

Assemble Strawberry Shortcakes

  1. Place strawberry shortcake cups on individual small plates.
  2. Add a generous scoop of strawberries with syrup to each dessert cup.
  3. Top the cakes with a large dollop of whipped cream. If desired, garnish with citrus zest: lemon, lime or orange.
A batch of freshly-baked strawberry shortcake cups on a plate next to strawberries.

🧑🏼‍🍳 Expert Tips

  • Don’t overmix the cake batter: Over-mixing traps large pockets of air in the batter. In the oven, these air bubbles expand then deflate. This can result in very dense cake.
  • Use cold kitchen tools for whipped cream: Chill your metal mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes before making whipped cream. These cold tools will help keep the fat in the cream cold so the whipped cream can better hold its shape.
  • How to add something extra for a fancy dessert: Sprinkle lemon or lime zest over the whipped cream. Twist long strips of citrus peel into spirals. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with mint leaves. I add extra garnishes for special occasions.
  • How to make the strawberry syrup red: When the natural juices from strawberries mix with sugar, a light-pink syrup develops. To make it red, mix in a drop of red food coloring.
  • Make-Ahead Instructions: Bake dessert cups up to 3 days in advance. Assemble make-ahead whipped cream up to 3 days in advance. Store it in an air-tight container and refrigerate. When ready to use, briefly rewhip to restore the texture. (Or use Cool Whip instead.) Prep the fresh strawberries on the day you need them.

👩🏻‍🍳 Recipe FAQ

These are the most commonly-asked questions when making the BEST strawberry shortcakes, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.

Can I double the recipe for homemade dessert cups?

It’s not recommended. There’s always a risk over blending or under mixing. For the best taste and texture, make the cake batter twice.

Best substitute for homemade dessert cups?

Store-bought dessert cups. They’re often in the produce section of the grocery store. Other excellent choices that work well too (just slice them in half) : Whipping cream biscuits, lemon blueberry scones, and carrot cake scones.

Other berries to use for strawberry shortcake?

Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, or sliced bananas.

Best swap for lemon juice when whipping egg whites?

Cream of tartar. When whipping egg whites into firm peaks, add 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar. Skip the baking soda – since we’re not using lemon we won’t need this ingredient.

How to slice strawberries without wasting fruit?

With your fingers, remove green stem. Just twist and pull. With the tip of a paring knife at a 45° angle, remove white hull. Slip the knife into the top and cut in a circular fashion. With the freshly-cut side facing down, cut strawberry into quarters or 1/4-inch slices.

Rate This Recipe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Flavor testers said this is the BEST homemade strawberry shortcake recipe. The cakes were tender, lightly spongy and delicious. The strawberry filling was perfect – not too sweet. And the whipped cream was delightful.

If you agree this recipe’s a keeper, give it a 5-star rating in the comments. Then be a recipe hero. Share it with friends. 📌 Pin it to Pinterest.

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

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Strawberry shortcake dessert on a small plate with fork and napkin.

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE


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Description

Strawberry shortcake is a delicious dessert ideal for serving during strawberry season. Fill homemade dessert cups with marinated berries and their yummy syrup. Garnish with freshly-made whipped cream.


Ingredients

Units Scale

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE FILLING

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Lemon or lime zest (optional), for garnishing the finished dessert

DESSERT CUPS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter

WHIPPED CREAM

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE FILLING

It’s important to prep the strawberries first so they have time to release their juices. Together the juices and sugar create a syrup.

  1. Remove stems from the berries. Hull and slice.
  2. Transfer berries to a bowl. Toss with sugar.
  3. Cover and refrigerate.

DESSERT CUPS

RECIPE PREP: Grease the wells of baking pan with butter. Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt 6 tablespoons butter. Set it aside to cool. Pull out 3 mixing bowls: small, medium and large.

  1. In the small bowl, sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix briefly with a spoon to combine. Put it aside.
  2. In the medium bowl, whip egg whites with an electric mixer (or hand mixer) until foamy. Add lemon juice. Continue whipping until the whites are stiff but not dry.
  3. In the large bowl, whip egg yolks and vanilla extract together for 1 minute. Add the sugar. Whip until almost doubled in volume. The color of the yolks will become a shade lighter.  
  4. Gradually add egg whites to the yolks, folding them in with a rubber spatula. When almost combined, gradually fold in the dry ingredients. Add cool melted butter, heavy cream and lemon zest. Fold them in. But don’t over-mix or the dessert cups will be heavy and dense.
  5. Fill cavities of prepared pan just under 3/4 full with batter. Bake 18 to 20 minutes. Don’t over-bake or the cakes will be dry. When touched with a finger, the surface of the cake should spring back. It should not be sticky. Edges should be golden blonde. 

WHIPPED CREAM

This is a stabilized whipped cream recipe. You can make it up to 8 hours in advance. The extra sugar allows it hold up well. It’s great for warm-weather months. 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with whip attachment, combine cream, sugar, salt and vanilla extract.
  2. Mix on medium-low for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high. Whip 3 minutes or until cream is thick and firm peaks hold.
  3. Transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate until needed.

ASSEMBLE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE DESSERT

  1. Place strawberry shortcake cups on individual small plates.
  2. Add a generous scoop of strawberries with syrup to each dessert cup.
  3. Top the cakes with a large dollop of whipped cream. If desired, garnish with lemon or lime zest.

Notes

Don’t overmix the cake batter: Over-mixing traps large pockets of air in the batter. In the oven, these air bubbles expand then deflate. This can result in very dense cake.

Can I double this recipe? It’s not recommended. There’s always a risk over blending or under mixing. For the best taste and texture, make the cake batter twice.

How to make the strawberry syrup red: When the natural juices from the strawberries mix with sugar, a light-pin syrup develops. To make that syrup red, mix in a drop of red food coloring.

Expert tip for whipped cream: Chill metal whisk and mixing bowl in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes before assembling whipped cream. Cold kitchen tools will help keep the fat in the cream cold so the whipped cream can hold its shape.

Make-ahead instructions: Bake dessert cups up to 3 days in advance. Assemble make-ahead whipped cream up to 3 days in advance. Store it in an air-tight container and refrigerate. When ready to use, briefly rewhip to restore texture. Prep strawberries on the day the dessert is served.

  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

Strawberry Shortcake 👉🏻 Join the Convo

Do you enjoy eating strawberry shortcake? Have you ever baked homemade dessert cups, or made a batch of stabilized whipped cream? Share your thoughts on this recipe in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

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9 Comments

  1. Recipe is good. I bought a brownie cup pan to have cups, where only 6, I made the other 6 in muffin tins. I didn’t see where it stated how many the recipe makes and with the pop ups it was a bit frustrating to have to find the amount of ingredients and steps to perform. I ended up writing it out. Glad I made it, but not as “fun” as it should have been.






  2. These are the most perfect looking strawberry shortcakes! I love how the cake is homemade and can’t wait to try it!






  3. This was my first time making strawberry shortcake and it was a success! Loved how soft the cake was and tasted perfectly sweet with the strawberries.






  4. I made this strawberry shortcake and it’s beyond delicious! It was a total reminder of my grandparents. I love all the flavors and the memories it brought.