It’s a bit early for strawberries around here, but with the weather warming up, it’s the perfect time of year for Strawberry Shortcake. Funny thing is, so many people have so many different ideas of what Strawberry Shortcake is supposed to be – including me. I grew up with 2 versions (or maybe 3). The first one was a slice of angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. Sometimes mom would splurge and buy those packages of “shortcakes” that look like saucer cakes. As I got older, it evolved into a biscuit, cut in half and layered with strawberries & whipped cream. Some people use yellow cake. Others use a sweeter biscuit, more like a scone. It really is an easy summer dessert – cake, strawberries (typically in sugar to create a bit of a syrup), and whipped cream. This week, I’m making Strawberry Shortcake on Facebook Live, so I decided to do a bit of a deep dive into its history as I put together my recipe.
First served in the 1580s. (Yup, you read that right.) The first known recipe for Strawberry Shortcake is in an English cookbook from 1588. In the 1850s, shortcake in the US was made with warmed, buttered sweet biscuits. Early variations were made from broken up pieces of pie crust. (I personally like this idea and may need to give it a try). For KAM, I’ve decided to make a southern-style shortcake, kombucha macerated strawberries, and lavender whipped cream. This requires a bit of planning and preparation, but the result is worth it. I hope you enjoy!
Lavender Whipped Cream:
- 2 cups heavy or whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon culinary lavender flowers
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Heat the cream in a heavy bottomed pot until warm & steaming (not boiling). Add the lavender and steep until cool. Transfer the cooled cream to a bowl and cover. Refrigerate overnight. The next morning, strain the cooled cream into a mixing bowl and add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Whip until fluffy and soft peaks form. (If using an electric mixer, use the whip attachment on medium high speed and watch carefully.) Keep whipped cream refrigerated until ready to use.
- 2 cups flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, cubed
- 1 egg beaten
- 2/3 cup cream of your choice (half & half, light, heavy, whipping)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl. Toss the butter cubes in the flour mixture and then use a pastry cutter or two knives (or your fingers), to cut the butter into the dough. The resulting mixture should resemble coarse crumbs or a dry oatmeal. Beat the egg and cream of choice together and add to the flour/butter mixture. Stir just until mixture holds together. With floured hands, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead if necessary, to hold dough together. Pat dough out until it as approximately ½” thick. Cut with a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter. Gather scraps to make additional shortcakes. Place shortcakes on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned on top, 10-12 minutes. (Optional: Before baking, brush tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.)
Kombucha Macerated Strawberries:
- 4 cups strawberries, washed, stemmed, and sliced ½-inch thick
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or cane sugar
- ½ cups plain kombucha
Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
To assemble your shortcakes:
Split shortcakes while warm and place bottom on plate. Butter if desired. Spoon strawberries and liquid to cover. Top with whipped cream. Place top of shortcake on whipped cream. Spoon additional strawberries on top, followed by dollop of whipped cream.