This strawberry shortcake breaths new life into a beloved classic by pairing sweet, airy sponge cake with the lush richness of whipped cream and the bright, fresh flavors of sugared strawberries. This dessert balances simplicity and elegance, making it a perfect choice for any gathering or a sweet end to a family dinner. Below, we dive into the intricacies of creating this delightful dessert, ensuring your strawberry shortcake is as joyous to make as it is to savor.

This recipe has me reminiscent of warm summer days and family celebrations. In crafting my version of this classic dessert, I aimed to enhance the traditional experience by focusing on a homemade sponge cake that’s both light and rich in flavor. Coupled with freshly whipped cream and strawberries marinated in their own juices, this strawberry shortcake is my ode to the simple pleasures in life, shared with loved ones.

If you love strawberry as much as I do, you have got to try out my Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Cupcakes, you will be in strawberry heaven!

Strawberry shortcake being served

The Chemistry of Strawberry Shortcake

The sublime texture of the sponge cake in this strawberry shortcake recipe is achieved through the meticulous whipping of egg whites with cream of tartar. This incorporates air into the batter for lightness. The careful folding of dry ingredients preserves these air bubbles, ensuring the cake’s airy quality. Meanwhile, the strawberries, macerated with granulated sugar, releases their natural juices, forming a syrup that adds depth and brightness to the dessert. The whipped cream, enhanced with powdered sugar and vanilla, adds a creamy contrast that binds all the components together harmoniously.

Can I make the sponge cake ahead of time?

Absolutely! The sponge cake can be baked a day in advance and stored at room temperature, covered, to maintain its moisture and texture. This can help streamline the dessert assembly process.

How do I achieve stiff peaks with my whipped cream?

For the best results, start with cold whipping cream and a chilled bowl. Whip at medium-high speed until the cream holds stiff peaks, being careful not to overwhip and turn the cream into butter.

What’s the best way to store leftover strawberry shortcake?

Assemble individual servings as needed to avoid soggy cake. Store leftover components separately. The cake at room temperature, whipped cream in the refrigerator, and sugared strawberries in a sealed container in the fridge.

Can I use frozen strawberries instead of fresh?

While fresh strawberries are preferred for their flavor and texture, you can use thawed frozen strawberries in a pinch. Be aware that they may release more juice than fresh berries.

Strawberry shortcake being served

What is in strawberry shortcake?

Eggs

Adds both a protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because, when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the egg white mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking, which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick treats. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters and doughs together and help them from collapsing. Unless otherwise specified, always use large eggs.

Cream of Tartar

Stabilizes the egg whites, ensuring they hold their structure when whipped.

Granulated Sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter. It helps add moisture to your treat and helps it evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Vegetable Oil

100% fat, contains no water and has a higher melting point. This means it will not melt down in your oven, resulting in thicker cookies or brownies. It doesn’t help leaven your treat like butter can, so it can make your treat flatter and greasier.

Fine Sea Salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt, it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your treat, making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.

Baking Powder

Puffs up your batter or dough instead of spreading it out. Baking powder contains a little bit of baking soda, an acid & cornstarch. Because of this, it only needs a liquid to react. It also consists of two different acids, so it’s double reacting. It reacts as soon as it’s mixed with a moisture and then again when it’s heated up.

Cake Flour

Has a lower amount of protein and is very fine. It gives your treat a specific flavor and makes them very white or light in color. It’s made of soft wheat so it should not be used in place of all-purpose or bread flour. Only use when your recipe specifically calls for it.

Powdered Sugar

Is just finely ground granulated sugar. It will absorb moisture in your batter or dough. It dissolves easily, ensuring a smooth texture without grittiness. Because it is so fine, it can melt quickly in the oven and spread cookies out more. Powdered sugar also stabilizes and thickens the frosting, thanks to the small amount of cornstarch it contains.

Heavy Whipping Cream

Makes a softer, more spreadable frosting. When melted with chocolate it adds more fat and moisture to the mixture, resulting in a silkier blend.

Vanilla Extract

When using pure vanilla extract, as opposed to imitation flavoring, it will add the deep rich flavor that everybody wants in a treat.

Strawberry shortcake being served

Storage Tips

For optimal freshness, assemble the strawberry shortcake just before serving. Leftover sponge cake can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to two days. Whipped cream should be refrigerated and used within a day. Sugared strawberries will keep for up to two days in the fridge.

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Strawberry shortcake being served

Why make strawberry shortcake?

This strawberry shortcake is an experience that celebrates the delightful combination of strawberries, cream and cake. Perfect for any occasion, this strawberry shortcake promises to bring smiles and satisfaction to your table.

Recipes You May Love

Strawberry Shortcake

Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 16
This Strawberry Shortcake is made with a sweet sponge cake, topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries

Ingredients 

Sponge Cake

  • 6 eggs *separated
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour

Topping

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 box strawberries *fresh
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
  • In a standing mixer and a small separate bowl divide the eggs. Putting the egg whites into the standing mixer bowl and the egg yolks into the small separate bowl.
  • Add cream of tartar to the standing mixer and turn the mixer on medium speed. Once bubbles form, turn the mixer on high and whip until soft peak.
  • While the egg whites are whipping, take a whisk and whip the egg yolks until they are lighter in color.
  • Once the egg whites are soft peak, turn the mixer off and pour in the whisked egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and vegetable oil.
  • Mix only for a few seconds on low speed to just fold these ingredients in. This way you won't pop too many air bubbles that you just created with the egg whites.
  • With the mixer off add the salt, baking powder and cake flour
  • Turn the mixer on low and mix until the cake batter is smooth.
  • Pour the cake batter in a greased angel food cake pan
  • Bake for 40 minutes until the center is firm and no longer jiggles when the pan is tapped.
  • Remove, flip the cake upside down over parchment paper, and allow the cake to fully cool.
  • Wash and chop the strawberries, place in a bowl with the granulated sugar. Stir and allow to sit until the strawberry juices release and make a syrup.
  • In a medium bowl with a hand mixer whip the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until it reaches stiff peak.
  • Serve the cake with fresh whipped cream and strawberries

Nutrition

Calories: 429kcal Carbohydrates: 44g Protein: 5g Fat: 26g Saturated Fat: 9g Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0.1g Cholesterol: 95mg Sodium: 148mg Potassium: 88mg Fiber: 0.5g Sugar: 30g Vitamin A: 527IU Vitamin C: 0.2mg Calcium: 76mg Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.

Strawberry shortcake being served