strawberry shortcake

Spring is almost here. I could not be more excited!

As a child, spring brought mud puddles, thunderstorms and tulips. Tulips are a garden staple here in Michigan. You know that spring is here to stay when tulips begin to pop through the cold winter soil. The tulips haven't shown up yet, and there is still a thin layer of snow in our front yard, but that doesn't mean I can't celebrate spring's impending arrival with a classic spring dessert.

Strawberry shortcake is a classic spring delight. Strawberries are one of the first fruit crops to be seen in the market here in the Midwest. Bright red, sweet and juicy -- the intoxicating smell of fresh picked strawberries will lure you in. There is nothing quite as sweet or delicious, except when you layer your ripe strawberries with soft and creamy whipped cream dotted with sweet bourbon vanilla bean scrapings.

The bourbon-style vanilla bean is the most commonly known bean and our most popular type of vanilla because of it's traditional flavor and versatility. Our bourbon-style vanilla from Papua New Guinea is the same beautiful, flavorful gourmet vanilla planifolia beans that come from Madagascar, cured in the same traditional way. Both Bourbon-Madagascar and Papua New Guinea (PNG) vanilla beans come from the fruit of an orchid variety called Vanilla planifolia and are rich in the natural organic compound called vanillin. Bourbon beans have a traditional creamy smooth and classic flavor, making them perfect for this classic strawberry shortcake recipe!

Classic Strawberry Shortcake

Yields 4 shortcakes


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/4 lb. salted butter (cubed and placed in freezer to chill)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • flour for patting the dough to cut into shapes
  • turbinado sugar
  • buttermilk for tops of unbaked biscuits


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine both flours into a medium mixing bowl, add baking powder and sugar. Whisk to combine. Place the cold, cubed butter into the bowl with the flour mixture and chop into the mixture using a pastry cutter or fork. The mixture should have small bits of butter running through it when combined. Add the buttermilk to the center of the butter/flour mixture and lightly mix together, your hands are the best tool for this. Do not over mix the dough, it will become tough and result in a dense biscuit! Once the dough has begun to combine and come together, dump dough onto lightly floured surface and pat together to form a rectangle of approximately 9x11 inches and 2 inches high. Lightly flour your biscuit cutter, and choose any shape you would like. Place cutter on dough and press down. Remove dough from cutter and place onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Continue until all of the dough has been cut.

Lightly brush tops of the unbaked biscuits with buttermilk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake 12-15 minutes until light golden brown. Cool to room temperature.



  • 1 quart strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract


Slice tops off strawberries, cut into lengthwise pieces and place into small bowl. Add sugar and almond extract to strawberries. Stir to coat the strawberries in the sugar. Set bowl aside and allow strawberries to macerate.

Vanilla Whipped Cream


  • 1 pint heavy cream (cold)
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 bourbon vanilla bean (Madagascar or Papua New Guinea)


Combine heavy cream and vanilla bean scrapings in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Start on low speed and gradually increase the speed to medium high. Add sugar when soft peaks begin to form, beat until whipped cream is light and fluffy.


Slice biscuit in half, and spoon juice from the strawberries on to the bottom layer of the biscuit. Add a spoonful of strawberries, followed by a heaping spoonful of whipped cream. Place top of the biscuit on to the whipped cream. Garnish top of the biscuit with a sliced strawberry. Serve and enjoy!