note: If you haven’t the time or not fond of shortcake, any easy substitution would be three 8″ sponge cake or white cake layers in place of the shortcake.)
10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces plus more for pans
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 pints Strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 pint Strawberries, whole for decorating top
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
For the shortcakes:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously butter 3 (8-inch) round cake pans. Set aside.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl of a food processor or large bowl. Add butter and pulse in food processor or cut in with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add heavy cream and pulse in food processor (stirring with a fork several times to help distribute cream) or stir into bowl with a fork until just moistened (do not over mix).
Gather dough into a large ball (if using food processor, first transfer mixture into large bowl) and gently knead on a lightly floured surface, just until smooth (about 5 turns).
Divide dough into 3 equal portions and with hands, press each piece of dough into a prepared cake pan, spreading to edges and making as smooth as possible.
Bake about 25 minutes or until top is golden. Let cool 5 minutes in pans on wire rack then turn out to cool completely on wire rack.
For the filling:
Combine heavy cream and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar while beating just until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. (if you are not immediately serving this dessert, I’ve heard mixing your whipped cream with a jar of marshmallow creme (omit sugar) will stabilize the whipped cream filling nicely)
To serve, place first cake layer on serving plate and top with about 1/2 quartered strawberries in a single layer. Top with about 1/3 whipped cream and spread until even. Top with second cake layer and repeat with 1/3 whipped cream and then the remaining 1/2 quartered strawberries. Top with final cake layer and spread remaining 1/3 whipped cream in an even layer.
Top with inverted whole strawberries that the tops have been cut off to make all the strawberries the same height. Serve immediately; refrigerate any leftover.
note: if you want your strawberries in top to shine, melt some apple or apricot jelly and brush all over except for the cut off top end before placing on the top for a stunning finish!