HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Need a great strawberry shortcake recipe

I am invited to large potluck on July 5th.They are roasting a whole hog and everyone else brings the rest. I would like to bring strawberry shortcake, but I don't have much baking experience and I've actually never made a cake except the boxed mix kind. Help?

I am also undecided on whether I want to do a spongecake or a pound cake, though I am leaning towards sponge. I know I don't want the angel food cake kind.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you want to make sure it's going to be great, and you're iffy on your baking skills, then just do what I do, which is use store-bought pound cake (or angel food or whatever), and cut into slices. Hours before the potluck, slice and sugar all the strawberries you need and refridgerate. The longer they sit in the fridge, the more syrup they will generate. Also, since it's going to be served somewhere other than your home, I would use pastry cream instead of whipped cream, as whipped cream will liquify if it sits too long. Just package the cake, berries and cream seperately, and assemble when you get there on little plates (slice of cake, cream, berries and berry syrup on top. Super easy and delicious.

    1 Reply
    1. re: schrutefarms

      You can stabilize whipped cream with powered milk. 2 tsp. of powdered dry milk to each cup of heavy cream.

      Google up Whipped Cream Stabilizer for other options.

    2. The shortcake recipe on the bisquick box is good. I make one big cake rather than the six little ones the recipe calls for. Yummy.

      1. You'll probably get a lot of opinions on this, and here's mine. The best shortcakes are made with cream biscuits, which are made with heavy cream instead of butter. NOT BOTH. here's a link to Sarah Moulton's recipe - but you'll have to scroll down several screens to get to it:

        HOWEVER, if there are enough people coming to this barbecue to justify a whole hog, that's a lot of shortcake! Sponge cakes are not hard to make - but beating the eggs ENOUGH is essential. there's no way around it - the beaten eggs provide the leavening which makes the cake rise [in most cakes, baking powder and/or baking soda provide the leavening


        Here's a link to the Cake Boss's sponge cake recipe - it's like every other plain sponge cake I've ever seen


        He bakes it in two cake pans. for your barbecue, i'd take a jelly roll pan and pour the batter in there. It'll take less time to bake, and you'll serve more people. And it'll be easier to serve - just cut into squares.

        Don't worry - you'll be fine.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jiffypop

          Why do you not use butter and cream? This fine cooking biscuit looks good but now I am second guessing myself. Can I freeze them raw but shaped, and then bake them directly from freezer? Thanks!

          1. re: DowntownJosie

            It's simply personal preference - i find the heavy-cream-only version has a lighter texture. Don't worry, if someone gave me a biscuit made with butter AND cream, there's no way I'd turn it down!

            as for freezing them raw, I vote no. I usually bake them off and THEN freeze them.

            1. re: jiffypop

              Thank you I will have to make both and try them side by side.

        2. Thanks all for the advice. Schrutefarms, I live in a pretty rural area, and I doubt any store-bought version of the cake from the stores around here will do. I have heard of the biscuit version, though it is not how I grew up eating it and won't have the same nostalgia for me. I may try out a test batch just to see what I've been missing.

          14 Replies
          1. re: OliviaH

            Buscuits actually make a lovely strawberry shortcake, and are so easy to make! I wish I lived in a more rural area, it would force me to cook more!

            1. re: schrutefarms

              Indeed it would. We would have to drive at least an hour to get to a restaurant worth going to, and we can't leave to get there until we finish milking all the dairy goats we have in the evening. I love restaurants, but we probably get out to eat at one 4-5 times a year.

            2. re: OliviaH

              Can you find the packs of 6 sponge shells in your supermarket? They are about 3" diameter, with a concave top to hold the berries. Packed on a flat cardboard sheet and wrapped in cellophane. Easy portion control that way and since this is a big meal, you don't need huge servings. Pepperidge Farm also makes frozen pastry shells that you bake up at home.

              I recommend using a combination of fresh berries and thawed frozen strawberries in syrup. You probably won't need to add more sugar, especially if your whipped cream is sweetened. It's especially good to use fresh raspberries and/or blueberries with the frozen strawberries, and that would give you a red, white, and blue theme.

              1. re: greygarious

                I love to cook, so I would prefer to hone my baking skills and do it myself if possible. I don't know that I have seen the sponge shells you mean. The only grocery stores in my area of Idaho are a few Atkinson's and one Albertson's. I grew up in San Francisco, so the difference in what is expected to be available at a supermarket was shocking when I moved. I can get far more variety and quality for
                most things from my neighbors than the store.

                1. re: greygarious

                  I forgot to say, I appreciate the tip about the berries. That sounds delicious!

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Where are you finding the sponge shells? I used to get the Hostess ones, but haven't seen them in a few years. I figured they discontinued them when Hostess went bankrupt and never brought them back. Those are my favorite, I like them better than regular angel food or poundcake.

                    1. re: schrutefarms

                      I haven't looked for or bought them in many years so you may be right that they are no longer made. I don't remember what brands there were.

                      1. re: schrutefarms

                        Here in the Chicago area, the individual sponge shells are regularly displayed at supermarkets in the produce dept., right next to the strawberries when they are in season.

                        1. re: schrutefarms

                          I find the sponge shells either with the strawberries or in a low corner of the bread aisle near the doughnuts and pastries.

                      2. re: OliviaH

                        My MIL felt strongly that a true strawberry "shortcake" had to served on a biscuit style dough, not a sponge or pound cake. She was vehement about this. Just sayin'

                        Anyway, if you are willing to try the biscuit style, I agree with the recommendation of the Bisquick recipe. It's not "from scratch" but every time I am ambitious and make scratch biscuits instead for strawberry shortcake, they turn out tough -- undoubtedly because I am over-handling the dough. I am sure that an accomplished baker can make a superior biscuit from scratch, compared to the Bisquick variant, but since you are evidently a novice, I do recommend the Bisquick version.

                        1. re: masha

                          Not to toot my own horn, but I do make an excellent biscuit and respectfully, I don't like bisquick. I have not made a cream biscuit before, but I will definitely give it a try. I bake a bit, but not cakes as I don't have much of a sweet tooth.

                          If I do end up loving the cream biscuit version, is there a good way to scale it for a crowd?

                          1. re: OliviaH

                            Do try it with biscuits, it is perfection IMHO. As for scaling, I'd have people assemble it themselves. Perhaps you could even give people the option of cake or shortbread.

                            1. re: OliviaH

                              if you have freezer space, you can make it for a crowd. Sarah M's recipe [posted above] calls for 4 cups of flour, which should be good for at least a dozen single-serve biscuits, and probably more, depending on size. wrap well and freeze and when you get a little time, make more.

                              The cream biscuit dough mixes REALLY EASILY - no butter to cut in, no kneading. All I need is a fork, and just mix well, and pat it out, and cut. To reduce waste, i suggest cutting the biscuits into squares. Saves time, too.

                              And just saying - this isn't necessary - a handful of chocolate chips thrown into the dough is REALLY NICE with the strawberries.

                              Sponge cakes aren't hard to make, either. so, it's your choice. but I much prefer the biscuits for shortcake.

                            2. re: masha

                              I am a baking newb, but my better half has an amazingly talented baker for a mom and he inherited her baker's touch. I usually recruit him to do the dough handling, because no matter what I do it always comes out better when he does it. Unfortunately, for this gathering he will be out of town and I am left to fend for myself. I am stubborn, so I want to bake anyways.

                              1. re: OliviaH

                                The link is to a recipe.
                                Serious Eats just partnered with Aki Kamozawa & H. Alexander Talbot from the blog: Ideas in Food; and just did a 3 recipe series on strawberry shortcake. Thought you may like it. It certainly looks good, not sure if it's what you are looking for but figured I'd post it. I'm going to make one this weekend or next.

                              2. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                Oh, I did not notice the link you posted. I was so confused! I will look it over, but this crowd has pretty simple tastes, and I don't want to make anything over the top fancy. Out of curiosity, have you made this? How did the dried strawberries work out? My favorite part of a strawberry shortcake is the freshness. If I couldn't find good berries, I probably wouldn't bother.

                              3. Just to throw another opinion into the mix, I'm not a fan of either biscuits or the Bisquick-type cake that most people serve with strawberry shortcake - IMO, neither of them do a good job soaking up all the delicious juice of macerated berries.

                                If this were my project, I'd either make a sponge cake or another type of cake that really soaks up fruit juices well - this buttermilk cake from Epicurious would be a good choice (just leave out the berries in the recipe). You could double the recipe and bake it in a 9x13 so you could cut squares for easy serving. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: biondanonima

                                  I am trying to replicate the shortcake that I had every year at the fair in my hometown in the North West. I am pretty sure it was spongecake, and it did absorb everything beautifully. Sometimes there are things that are so ingrained in your mind and mouth that however delicious it may be, you cannot imagine it any other way. Nothing else will do.

                                2. Make biscuits.

                                  Roast strawberries in basalmic vinegar, brown sugar and a touch of black pepper.

                                  Make or busy some creme fraiche

                                  Split biscuits in half, top the bottom with a generous amount of roasted strawberries, top with a nice dollop of creme fraiche, top with the other half of the biscuit, then drizzle the whole thing with the strawberry balsamic reduction leftover from the roasting process.

                                  Plate and serve with a garnish of fresh mint leaves.

                                  Ice cream optional.

                                  1. A sponge cake is good but if you're not experienced w/ them, I'd make it a tres leches cake to keep it moist. Keep it in the pan. It's moist and light. This has good pictures to help you.


                                    I find pound cake far more forgiving than sponge cakes, overall, given all that butter. The Joy of Baking is a basic one, but I honestly haven't found one that isn't good.


                                    Or a richer one:


                                    1. this: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                      Its a cream-based chocolate biscuit. Make some now to make sure you like them. They freeze nicely too if you don't actually eat all of them!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: firecooked

                                        I MUST MAKE THIS!!!! you're my hero - thank you!

                                      2. Lady fingers layered with whip cream and layers of strawberries. Chill overnight. I have a recipe from McCall's will look it up for you if you want. Easy.