A soft tender white cake topped with light and airy whipped cream and sweetened fresh strawberries, this classic strawberry shortcake recipe is the perfect summer dessert!
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Better Than Store-bought!
A classic strawberry shortcake is light, airy, refreshingly sweet and a great way to showcase those ripe juicy strawberries. Topped with homemade whipped cream, there’s no better way to finish off a satisfying meal.
There are many versions to strawberry shortcake on the blog, from strawberry shortcake trifle to the more traditional strawberry shortcake biscuits, but sometimes a girl just wants cake!
I’m making my classic strawberry shortcake with a soft and tender homemade angel food cake, but you can also use my recipe for homemade pound cake. I personally prefer the light softer texture of the angel food cake.
If you’ve never made a classic strawberry shortcake from scratch, now’s your chance. I’m sharing my easy strawberry shortcake recipe with simple instructions that will result in a showstopping dessert everyone will love!
Then, use any leftover strawberries to make a strawberry sheet cake tomorrow!
What is Strawberry Shortcake?
The traditional version of this classic strawberry shortcake dessert is made with crumbly biscuits (shortcakes) made from a dough made with flour, butter, baking powder or baking soda, sugar, salt, and either heavy cream or milk. Then it’s layered with cream and fresh strawberries that have been sitting in sugar making them sweet and syrupy.
Because they’re much smaller than an average cake size, each portion is made for an individual.
There have been variations created including this one made with a sponge cake or angel food cake that makes it much easier to serve a crowd. It’s also made without butter or cream. Still layered with the same flavors but in a more traditional cake formation.
Ingredients for Strawberry Shortcake
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
For the Angel Food Cake
- Granulated sugar: Gives the cake its sweetness. Angel food cake is nice and light and not overly sweet so you’ll want to measure the exact amount.
- Cake flour: This type of flour is how we get the crumb of our cake so soft and tender.
- Egg whites: You’ll need about 12 egg whites at room temperature. Using just the egg whites is what keeps the color of the cake so white.
- Cream of tartar: This will help stabilize the egg whites and the cake batter itself which in turn helps it rise and keeps it nice and fluffy.
- Fine sea salt: To enhance the flavor.
- Pure vanilla extract: A delicious flavor that is a staple ingredient in any classic strawberry shortcake.
For the Strawberry Shortcake Topping
- Strawberries: Washed, hulled, and cut into halves or quarters, depending on the size. Pick strawberries that are plump, nicely red, and smell like strawberries!
- Sugar: Used to break down the strawberries and extract the juices making them deliciously syrupy, similar to my strawberry sauce recipe.
- Whipped cream: Use homemade whipped cream or store-bought whipped cream. Thawed cool whip is also an option.
- For a quick and easy shortcut, you can use store-bought angel food cake in a pinch. It’s not the same as homemade, but it’ll get the job done.
- If you want to try your hand at making biscuits but also want a shortcut, Bisquick strawberry shortcake is a thing!
- For a hint of a different flavor swap the vanilla extract for almond extract. You can also add lemon zest, orange zest, or lime juice and zest to the cake batter.
- As you can imagine, you can make this classic strawberry shortcake without strawberries at all! Use whatever fresh berries or fruit you’d like. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, etc.
How to Make Strawberry Shortcake
- Grind the sugar and flour. Making such a light cake not only requires cake flour to help with texture but you’ll want to grind the sugar into a fine powder as well. Use a food processor to pulse the sugar 18-20 times or if you can find castor sugar or fine sugar, use that instead. Remove 1 cup of the sugar and set that aside, then add the flour to pulse with remaining sugar until light and airy.
- Whisk egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on medium-high until pale and frothy. Still mixing, add 1 Tablespoon at a time of the sugar you set aside, whisking in between each addition. Whip until medium peaks form then add the vanilla extract to combine.
- Make the cake batter. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift 1/4 cup of the flour mixture overtop the whipped eggs. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold it in. Repeat with remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Carefully pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Remove any air pockets with a knife and gently smooth the top.
- Bake on the lower middle rack in a preheated 350°F oven for 30-35 minutes, rotating halfway, until the top is lightly golden brown. Place the pan upside down on a wire rack to cool for a minimum of 1 hour.
- Make the topping. While the cake cools, toss together the strawberries and sugar until combined. Add more sugar to your tastes. You can chill it until you’re ready to serve if you prefer yours cold.
- To assemble the cake spread whipped cream evenly over the top of the cooled strawberry shortcake. Use a slotted spoon to scoop and deliver the strawberries overtop the cream. Drizzle any remaining liquid over the sliced cake and garnish with fresh mint. Enjoy!
- A tube pan is a must! Angel food cakes need to be baked in a tube pan, also known as an angel food cake pan. The straight walls and ungreased sides allow the cake to rise and hold its rise since it doesn’t use any leavening agents to help with that. I like the ones with the little feet!
- Separate the eggs while they are cold. I find it easier to separate them just out of the fridge. Then, bring the egg whites to room temperature and save the yolks in the fridge for later. It’s easier to whip eggs that are at room temperature.
- Don’t have the cream of tartar? Use an equal amount of lemon juice or vinegar instead. Both will alter the flavor of the cake but either will do the job of stabilizing the egg whites.
First, you’ll want to allow it to cool upside down. It’s helpful to have a pan with the feet so that it remains elevated while in this position. Once it’s cooled, flip it back over and run a knife around the edge between the wall and the outside of the cake. Do this with the hole and the inside of the cake as well.
It should then slide out easily.
No, I don’t recommend using it for this classic strawberry shortcake recipe. The angel food cake will get stuck and may not rise enough.
Insert a wooden skewer into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s ready.
Folding is the gentle motion of slicing down the middle of the ingredients with a rubber spatula and then bringing it back up the sides while rotating the bowl. It’s a way of mixing carefully without overmixing, ensuring that as little air as possible escapes.
No! This is a practice done when whipping cream to form stiff peaks. Egg whites won’t reach medium peaks if too cold. Room temperature everything is best.
Classic strawberry shortcake is best served the day of, once it’s assembled. However, if you want to make it ahead, you can bake the cake, cool it and store it in an airtight container for up to 3 days on the counter. Top it when you’re ready to serve.
If you want to freeze it, simply wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and keep it frozen in a freezer-safe zip-top bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then bring it to room temperature as you prepare the topping.
Want more strawberry flavored desserts? Don’t miss strawberry crumb bars, strawberry pretzel salad, and these strawberry cookies.
More Strawberry Recipes To Try
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Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
- 1 10-inch tube pan
Angel Food Cake
- 1 ¾ cups (350 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (120 grams) cake flour
- 2 cups egg whites , at room temperature (about 12 large eggs)
- 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 pound strawberries , hulled and halved or quartered (depending on size)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar , plus more if needed
- 1 ½ cups homemade whipped cream , or store-bought whipped cream or cool whip
Angel Food Cake
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Do not grease the tube pan.
- In a food processor, pulse the sugar 18 to 20 times, or until fine and powdery. Remove 1 cup and set aside, leaving the rest in the processor. Add the flour. Pulse 8 to 10 times, or until combined and airy.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on medium high until pale and frothy. With the mixer on, add 1 Tablespoon sugar at a time, waiting until combined, before adding the next Tablespoon. Whip a total of 5 to 6 minutes, or until medium peaks form. Add vanilla extract and whip just until combined. Remove bowl from mixer.
- Sift 1/4 cup flour mixture over the top of the whipped eggs. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold (see notes) in flour mixture until no dry ingredients can be seen. Repeat with remaining flour mixture, sifting 1/4 cup at a time.
- Carefully pour mixture evenly into a 10-inch tube pan. Smooth the top and gently run a knife through the batter to remove any air pockets. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until the top is lightly browned and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Place pan upside down on a wire rack and cool at least 1 hour. When completely cooled, run a knife along the inner and outer edge and gently tap on counter until the cake releases.
- While the cake cools, make the topping. In a large bowl, toss together the strawberries and sugar until combined, adding more sugar for extra sweetness, if desired. Chill until ready to serve.
- Spread whipped cream evenly over the top of the cooled cake. Using a slotted spoon, spoon strawberries decoratively over the top. Reserve any liquid to drizzle over the sliced cake when serving.
- Using a serrated knife (a regular knife may squish the cake), gently cut cake into slices. Drizzle with reserved liquid, if desired.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
This is my moms absolute favorite!! We make it every Mother’s Day for her. It’s so light & airy & so yummy!!
This was so easy and so tasty! I love making recipes with fresh strawberries during the warm weather!
This recipe is UNREAL! The cake is so light and fluffy which pairs perfectly with the fresh strawberries! Loving this for this time of year!