All my life, summer began when the strawberries were ripe.


Growing up in Michigan, we picked them as soon as the school year ended. Red stained fingertips and t-shirts were sure signs of strawberry season, jam was served on toast each morning, and my June birthday was always celebrated with fresh strawberry pie.

Now that I live in the south, “summer” begins a bit earlier. It’s late May, strawberry season is nearing its end, and the freezer is already full with the delightful red berries. Homemade strawberry shortcake has been our dessert for the past five nights (don’t judge), and nobody’s complaining! (If you’re not into strawberries, desserts, or total yumminess – move along, this article is not for you.)

Follow these 3 steps and wow your family with this scrumptious berry dessert!

Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

1. Begin with the right berries

Growing your own strawberries with no harmful pesticides/fungicides takes the gold. Finding a local farm (growing berries the right way) to pick your own wins the silver. Buying pre-picked berries from a local farmer takes the bronze. Purchasing from the store comes in dead last. The stock boy won’t have any idea how or where the berries were grown, and this is important!


If you can’t grow your own, check Local Harvest or Pick Your Own to find a farm near you offering U-pick strawberries. Call ahead if possible to find out if the berries have been sprayed with anything. You have the right to ask, and most farmers are happy to answer. Keep in mind that strawberries are on the “Dirty Dozen“ list of produce typically containing the highest pesticide residues, and should be purchased organic whenever possible.

For strawberry shortcake, wash and hull a few cups of berries and put them in a bowl. You can add a few teaspoons of sweetener (I use organic cane sugar but use raw honey or maple syrup if you’d like), and begin mashing until the desired consistency is reached.

Strawberry Shortcake Recipe 1

I grew up using this retro berry mashing tool and am transported back to childhood summers every time I use it.

2. Choose your “shortcake”

Strawberry shortcake is traditionally made with a light, fluffy biscuit as the base. However, there are no rules about how to build your strawberry desserts, so I choose to use other cakes and pastries to mix things up. Try angel food cake, or make simple drop biscuits using homemade baking mix.

In Matt’s opinion, homemade pound cake was the biggest hit of all when used as the platform for our fresh strawberries. I cut the recipe in half for a single loaf and used the following ingredients to put a healthier spin on the recipe:

I always joke I have not just one sweet tooth, but a mouthful of sweet teeth. Using “real” ingredients in baked goods makes me feel a little better about my dessert consumption. (I know, I’m always trying to justify my sweets.)

3. Top it with cream

Cool-Whip won’t cut it! Don’t disrespect your berries, body, and tastebuds like that.

Strawberry Shortcake Recipe 2

Get your hands on some good heavy whipping cream and prepare to whip the heck out of it. An electric mixer works best, but a whisk and some elbow grease will do the trick in a pinch.

A few optional ingredients can be added to the cream before whipping – a bit of the natural sweetener of your choice and maybe a touch of vanilla extract. I use a couple teaspoons of cane sugar per cup of cream and usually don’t bother with the vanilla.

Use a mixer or your trusty whisk to beat the whipped cream to the desired consistency. (Just be careful not to overbeat and cross into Butterdom like I have a few times.)

4. Assemble strawberry shortcake and enjoy!

Layer the cake, berries, and cream in a delightful stack. I’m sure you don’t need instructions on how to devour. ;)

Strawberry Shortcake Recipe 3


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Comments

  1. Sharon says

    You are absolutely right about fresh, real ingredients making the difference. We have local eggs and a reasonably local and conscientious dairy; however, we miss having access to an abundance of fresh, local berries here on the desert. When we do score on berries, we like to construct our shortcakes using tender, buttery rich homemade scones…recipe from Jean M. Andrews’ In Search of the Perfect Scone.

  2. tameka says

    This sounds amazingly delicious and I’m going to make it. I live in Michigan (Lansing area) and would like to try raw milk and its products, but I have no idea where to find them. I’ve also checked localharvest.org. Do you have any recommendations on where to get it or where else to check? BTW, I love the retro mashing tool.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Click on “homemade vanilla extract” in the article, and it will take you to another article that explains the whole process! :)

  3. Lorraine says

    Wow – a great recipe for strawberries – bought some yesterday at a local market and this year I am going to put them into a scrummy stack – thanks for the recipe!

  4. Janice says

    Wowee. That sounds great and I know tastes great too.

    What do you use when a receipe calls for “shortening”?

    B’s Mom