Talk about a last minute posting for the fourth of July, that would be me. Sorry, but the past few days have been busy and hectic for me. I made a birthday cake for a friend of mine, ninety cupcakes last weekend for my grand-daughter Chloe’s birthday party, and this week my son, Justin, got married. That’s not to mention that last weekend was my friend Julie’s birthday, and she always wants my homemade Butter Cookies for her birthday. I promised her a belated batch for this upcoming week, which I’m working on today. Oh and let’s not forget, I’ve been learning to use my Canon Rebel 5 camera over the past couple of weeks. Whew! I’ve been looking forward to the Holiday, but not in the usual way. Justin is on his honeymoon and my sister Nancy is out of town, so I figure it’s the perfect time for a day off for me as well. No family get together, just plain down time for Cindy. Let me explain downtime for me. It’s not sitting on the couch watching my favorite shows. No, downtime for me is turning on my little kitchen TV and sort of listening to it in the background as I go to work playing and experimenting in the kitchen. Don’s usually in the next room, watching TV with two little dogs and doing his own thing, which includes waiting for me to bring him something to eat.
Yesterday I was thinking about a simple July 4th dessert that I could whip up for Don and myself and maybe post as well, and I decided to make something simple such as shortcake with whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries. Instead of making regular sponge cake layers I decided to make an old fashioned version. Back in the day, (okay, when I was a kid), leftover drop biscuits were halved and used as shortcake. The garnish was thick whipped cream from fresh cow’s milk and fresh fruit from whatever was in season on the farm. Today, a lot of people prefer to use some form of cake, such as butter, sponge or pound cake to use as shortcake.
This being said, I opted for the old fashioned version. I decided to whip up a quick batch of my Soft and Tender Drop Biscuits. Then I got another bright idea…spread the biscuit dough into two round cake pans and make two large round layers versus biscuits. There’s two versions to making this shortcake… two round layers or dropped as drop biscuits on a cookie sheet. I’m showing the layer version here, but both are quick and easy.
So here’s, what I did…
- I buttered two 9″ round cake pans.
- Then I mixed up some drop biscuit batter, which took less than five minutes.
- I divided the dough between the two pans, setting about 1/2 cup of the dough aside for stars.
- I brushed the tops with buttermilk and sprinkled on some Turbinado Cane sugar, and baked them until they were light golden brown, and cooled them on a wire cooling rack.
- I added a little flour to the 1/2 cup of dough, since the drop biscuit dough is pretty wet and sticky. I used my hand and patted the dough out to about 1/8 inch and used a 1 inch star cookie cutter to cut out the stars.
- I brushed the tops with buttermilk and sprinkled on some Turbinado Cane sugar.
- I placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and baked them until they were puffy and barely browned around the edges.
- Then I whipped up some whipping cream and got ready to assemble my dessert with some fresh strawberries and blueberries.
Okay, not to confuse you now, but let’s go back for a minute and talk about the cake pan vs drop biscuit version. After baking the dough in the cake pans, I realized that the cake pan version, although very good, resulted in a thinner more dense layer…
Whereas dropping the dough onto a baking sheet as drop biscuits, resulted in a thick, lighter and fluffier biscuit. No, I didn’t make the biscuit version for my pictures, sorry. It’s totally personal preference here, but either way, you won’t be disappointed in the flavor.
Whip up this quick and easy dessert and share it, or hoard it all to yourself.
An old fashioned biscuit base shortcake, garnished with freshly whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries and pastry stars.
- 1 stick real unsalted butter, cold
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon full fat buttermilk, or you can use milk
- Buttermilk for brushing tops and stars
- Turbinado Cane or Sanding sugar for decorating tops and stars
- 2 cups heavy (full fat) whipping cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
- 1 quart fresh strawberries, rinsed, drained and halved
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Dice the cold butter into small pieces, handling as little as possible, and set aside.
- Measure and level off flour and add to a large bowl. Add the salt, baking powder and sugar and whisk together with a fork or a pastry cutter to combine.
- Using a pastry cutter or a sharp knife and a fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients, until the butter is the size of small peas.
- Add the buttermilk and mix, using your pastry cutter, just for a few seconds until all the dry ingredients become wet.
- Set about 1/2 cup of the dough aside for making stars.
- Drop dough by large spoonfuls onto a greased or buttered cookie sheet. Brush tops of biscuits with buttermilk, followed by a sprinkling of sugar.
- Divide dough in half and pat dough into the bottoms of two 9″ round cake pans that have been buttered. Brush top of dough with buttermilk, followed by a sprinkling of sanding sugar.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes until lightly browned on top. Transfer to a wire rack.
For the Stars
- Place the remaining dough on a piece of floured wax paper. Dough will be wet and sticky. Add enough flour to make dough easy to handle and not sticky. Using your hand, pat dough out to about 1/8″ in thickness. Use a 1″ star cookie cutter to cut out dough stars and place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
- Brush the tops of stars with buttermilk, followed by a sprinkling of sugar.
- Bake for about 10 minutes until puffy and barely brown around the edges.
For the Whipping Cream
- Place cold whipping cream into the large bowl of a stand mixer, (or you can use a hand mixer). Add the vanilla and powdered sugar. Using the whisk attachment, mix on low speed until the sugar is incorporated. Turn to high speed and whisk until the whipping cream forms semi stiff peaks.
- If using layers, spread half of the whipped cream over one layer, stopping about 1/2 inch from the edges. Place the second layer on top of the whipped cream, followed by the second half of whipped cream. Garnish with the strawberries, blueberries and stars.
- If using biscuits, split each biscuit in half and garnish with whipping cream, the fruit and stars.
- Refrigerate if not serving immediately.
- Whipped cream will hold up for two days in the refrigerator.
- Serving Size: 8