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Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

Homemade strawberry shortcake is a far cry from those round flavorless discs you buy at the grocery store. Discover how to make your own homemade strawberry shortcake in a few simple steps. Just add whipped cream and dig in! 

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one strawberry shortcake with strawberries and whipped cream dessert on a white plate

You know those round yellow cakes you buy in the bakery of the grocery store with the indention in the middle? The kind that we call “shortcake”?

Yeah, well they aren’t.

They are short alright–short on flavor, short on texture, and they are missing the mark in a ton of ways.

My guess is if we left them on the counter for an unidentified length of time they would never mold. I could use them to hold my cookbooks open on the counter. Or as doorstops. Or to hold  the tires on the farm wagon.

And that worries me a little.

I’ve been making my shortcake for strawberries from scratch for a really long time. To me, it’s easier to whip this up. Takes 30 minutes and you only need one bowl and no mixer.

It’s pretty much dump, mix and bake.

For the pictures you see here, I baked a couple of round cakes in small ramekins. You can use a muffin tin if you would like, but the original recipe calls for an 8×8 pan and serves about 6 people–it’s just as easy to do it that way and cut squares.

What is the difference between strawberry shortcake and regular cake

Most strawberry shortcake recipes are crispy and biscuit like. The crumbly texture is called “short” because the gluten isn’t developed making them crispy and not soft and cakey.

But I wanted CAKE and so, this recipe is a classic light vanilla cake that goes perfectly with berries and whipped cream.

Ingredients you’ll need for this recipe

It doesn’t take much to make this delightful strawberry shortcake. You might already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen. Here’s what you will need.

  • Butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla
  • All-purpose
  • Salt
  • Baking powder
  • Fresh Strawberries
  • Whipped Cream

What goes on a strawberry shortcake?

Once the cake is made, all you need to do is top it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. If you have extra time on your hands, I highly suggest making your own whipped cream. Read on to learn how!

What other types of cake can be used for strawberry shortcake?

If you aren’t set on making a classic version of this dessert, you can pretty much use any vanilla-flavored cake to make strawberry shortcake. I have been enjoying using angel food cake, but pound cake or even sweetened buttermilk biscuits would also work beautifully. 

How to make whipped cream 

Store-bought whipped creams such as Cool Whip are made with oils and don’t even contain any dairy. Ick. Whip up your own instead by beating together 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar or honey. Beat until stiff peaks form.

I suggest making whipped cream as close to serving as possible as it will start to fall as time elapses. If you would like to make it in advance, select a recipe for stabilized whipped cream such as this one

Avoiding dairy? Use coconut cream instead of heavy cream in your whipped cream recipe. You can also try making Aquafaba (whipped liquid from cooking chickpeas) or buy a dairy-free whipped topping. 

Can strawberry shortcake sit out?

I highly suggest waiting to assemble strawberry shortcake until you are ready to serve. If the assembled dessert sits out for too long, the whipped cream will melt into the cake.

Feel free to make the cakes up to two days in advance, though. Allow them to cool before storing them in an airtight container at room temperature. 

a strawberry shortcake with topped with whipped cream and a strawberry with a bite taken out of it.

The details on choosing strawberries 

The strawberries are the stars of this deliciously simple dessert, so choose them carefully. Strawberries are best in spring and summer. They are sweeter, more flavorful, and easier on your pocketbook at this time.

I highly suggest buying organic berries as conventional versions are generally covered in pesticides. 

Once you have selected your strawberries, wash them thoroughly before drying, stemming, and slicing them.

If you would like, you can toss the berries in a bit of honey or sugar and let them sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. This process is called macerating and will end you with slightly softened, sweetened berries. 

How to cut strawberries for shortcake

You want to make sure the pieces of strawberries in this dessert are bite-sized. I suggest slicing the berries. If they are very large, feel free to dice them into bite-sized pieces. 

Is strawberry glaze necessary for shortcake?

If you macerate the strawberries, this process should yield just the right amount of sauce to render a strawberry glaze unnecessary.

Store-bought versions are loaded with excess sugars and additives that won’t do your health any favors.

the steps for shortcake; cream butter and sugar, sift in dry ingredients, bake in a muffin tin or 8x8 baking dish

How to make strawberry shortcakes in advance

Homemade strawberry shortcake is best served as fresh as possible but, if you must make it in advance, here’s how to do it. 

  • Cakes. Prepare the cakes up to 2 days ahead of time. Allow them to cool before storing them in an airtight container at room temperature. 
  • Whipped cream. The whipped cream can be made up to 4 hours in advance. Note that it will start to fall the longer it sits.
  • Berries. If you are using fresh berries, go ahead and slice them up to 5 hours in advance. If you are making macerated berries (which I highly recommend), it is best not to slice them more than 30 minutes ahead of time. 

Can strawberry shortcake be frozen?

Yes! Allow the cakes to cool completely before sealing them in an airtight container and storing them in the freezer for up to 1 month. When you are ready to enjoy, allow the cakes to thaw at room temperature before making the whipped cream, macerating the berries, and assembling the dessert.  

Flavor variations on strawberry shortcake 

There is a lot of room to play with this recipe. Try a different fruit, a different cake, or even a flavored whipped cream! Here are some ideas for you. 

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry shortcake is a distant winner over the pre-made round yellow cakes you find in the grocery bakery. Making this cake will change your whole perspective on this spring treat!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 10
Author Rachel Ballard


  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar see Note 1 for reducing the sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour gluten free flour works
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder


  • Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8×8 pan or 10 spaces on a muffin tin. 
  • Cream the butter and sugar with a spoon, beating well until the mixture is light and slightly fluffy. About 40 strokes around the bowl or so.
  • Add the buttermilk,eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  • Using a sifter sitting over the bowl, add the flour, salt, and baking powder to the sifter and tap the dry ingredients into the wet ones.
  • Mix with a spoon until no dry clumps of flour remain.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes for the 8×8 pan or 15-20 minutes for the muffin tin until the cake springs back and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Serve slightly warm with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.


Note 1: Some readers tend to feel that this recipe is too sweet. If you’d like to reduce the sugar, take it down to half or even 3/4 cup if you’d like to. Any less than that will alter the cake’s structure. 


Calories: 248kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 3gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 223mgPotassium: 129mgSugar: 20gVitamin A: 350IUCalcium: 59mgIron: 1.1mg
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

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  1. 5 stars
    These are simply delicious!
    My husband said, only make these from now on!
    Easy to make! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  2. Bought small sweet strawberries and had whip cream made. Found yr shortbread recipe. Ingredients looked spot on. Just 2 of us. Was yummy. Hubby is retired chef. He said save, print, whatever. This is a keeper. Thank you. Tricia and Phil

  3. 5 stars
    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! Strawberry shortcake is one of my favorites and always reminds me of summer. Given how much snow we’re having, this was a welcome escape — even if it’s just in my kitchen! I’m putting this recipe on repeat for sure.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it Kim. Strawberries this time of year are certainly iffy but if you found some good ones, I’m glad for you! Stay warm. 🙂 –Rachel

  4. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ LOVE THIS RECIPE RACHEL! My daughter loves strawberry shortcake for her birthday cake. I used your recipe and everyone loved it! It’s kept in the recipe book now. THANK YOU FOR SHARING!

  5. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe and it was PERFECT. It doubles well! I cut back on the sugar and this cake did not disappoint. Love your site and thank you for this simple but oh so delicious recipe….oh the vanilla added a nice touch to this cake….

  6. 5 stars
    Very, very good cake, simple to make! I substituted 1/2 cup strawberry kefir milk instead of buttermilk (gave a subtle strawberry taste!) and my husband who doesn’t particularly like shortcake absolutely loved it! So much so that he’s requesting it regularly!

  7. 5 stars
    Just made this recipe today, to go with strawberries and blueberries I just bought. What a delightful little vanilla cupcake! I thought the recipe was very easy to put together, however I used a hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar (did not understand how to do that with a spoon). I did cut the sugar to 3/4 cup, it was just the right amount. Had to create my own buttermilk (as well as whole milk for the buttermilk lol)! Came out perfect with the macerated berries. Wonderful recipe!

    1. Thanks Beth. You can cream butter and sugar with a spoon or a whisk works better. Just beat the crud out of it. 😉 Glad you enjoyed then either way though! –Rachel

    1. A day ahead would be okay. Let them cool and place them in an air tight container. You may want to stick them in a low oven to rewarm them before serving but that’s optional. –Rachel

    2. I just made this recipe for my fresh picked strawberries for the fourth of July, 2023. I have never eaten the cake before and I used 1/2 cup sugar and they are still very tasty. I also used a bundt cup cake pan and a pan that does muffin tops. I am very happy with the results. Tomorrow will tell how the family likes them. Topping off with home made banana ice cream.

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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.