Light and Fluffy Old-Fashioned Berry Shortcakes

Makes 9 shortcakes

For the shortcakes:

240g cake flour

½ tsp table salt?4 tsp baking powder

½ tsp cream of tartar?3 tbsp granulated sugar?110g cold unsalted butter

80 ml single cream or whole milk

1 egg

For the berries

580g fresh mixed berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries

50g granulated sugar or to taste (some berries are sweeter than others)

½ tsp finely grated lemon or lime zest, optional

For the whipped cream

240 ml single cream, chilled

2 tsp granulated sugar


To make the shortcakes, preheat the oven to 220°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, cream of tartar, and sugar. Grate the butter on the large holes and toss it with the flour mixture. Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour until it looks like fine crumbs. Measure the cream in a glass measuring cup, crack the egg into it and beat with a fork until well combined.

Pour the cream mixture over the flour-butter mixture and, with your hands, gently work until it comes together to form a rough, shaggy dough that’s slightly sticky. (Add a sprinkle of flour if the dough is too loose, a drizzle of cream if it feels too dry or crumbly.) Knead for four or five turns on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7 × 7-inch (18 cm) square. Cut into nine squares and transfer to the baking sheets (giving the shortcakes plenty of room allows them to brown more evenly).

Bake until golden in spots, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through. Cool on a rack before serving. The shortcakes may be made a day in advance.

To make the berries, rinse and drain the berries. If you’re using strawberries, stem them and halve or slice them. Toss together with the sugar and (if using) lemon or lime zest. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Shortly before serving, make the whipped cream. Combine the heavy cream and sugar in a large bowl and beat by hand or with an electric mixer until it makes soft, rounded peaks.

Gently split the shortcakes with a serrated knife or fork. Spoon the berries and their accumulated juice over the bottom halves of the shortcakes, then top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and, finally, with the top half of the shortcake. Serve immediately, with any remaining berries or whipped cream on the side.


This recipe is taken from The Fruit Forager’s Companion by Sara Bir

RRP: £22.50, available from