Three Berry Shortcakes

There are shortcakes, and then there are shortcakes, and these Three Berry Shortcakes are the latter – an absolute show stopper of a summer dessert. Wait, this is more than a dessert, this is an extravaganza.

Three Berry Shortcakes

Best of all, these Three Berry Shortcakes are a nod to the Red, White, and Blue, making it a perfect dessert for any holiday or birthday that falls during the summer months. If you wish to be the subject of gossip, serve this dessert – people will talk. And they’ll ask for it, again and again.

Shortcakes - a cross between a scone and a cream biscuit these are amazing.

Shortcakes – a cross between a scone and a cream biscuit these are amazing.

Absolutely delectable, and very do-able, each piece of this dessert shines. There are four components:

  • Shortcake: although these are super easy, and look like a Bisquick drop biscuit, these are a cross between a cream biscuit (num) and a scone. These are moist and tender throughout and have a cream and sugar topping that gives just a bit of crispness. Make a day or two ahead if you’d like but the top will soften just a bit.
  • Berry Sauce: very similar to a berry syrup, but flavored with a touch of Grand Marnier (or any orange liqueur) or rum. The sauce can be made up to a week ahead and in a pinch you could shortcut with a store bought one. Skip the liqueur if needed – add a bit of orange zest, instead.
  • Whipping Cream: Nothing can beat real whipping cream, and in this recipe, and this whipping cream is very lightly flavored (again) with a touch of Grand Marnier, rum or vanilla. There’s a touch of powdered sugar for sweetness.
  • Berries: Although one type of berry can be used, a mix of berries is truly outstanding. Again, the faintest touch of Grand Marnier or rum adds an unidentifiable something…make these the same day, but early in the day so they have a chance to gently macerate. The tiniest bit of sugar and a small scraping of fresh nutmeg helps the process along.

Three Berry Shortcakes

Although this dish is certainly an extravaganza, part of that is its unabashed display. The syrup goes down, then the bottom of the shortcake, a little more cream, then the berries then the top, more cream and more berries!

The original recipe says 6 servings, but I often divide into 8, instead. It’s up to you, but if you serve dessert right after dinner, I don’t think any human can get through the larger size…maybe if you hold off till later in the evening? The recipe for the actual shortcakes is on a separate post.

Don’t forget to cherry pick the holiday sales all summer long for items like berries and whipping cream and other baked goods.

Three Berry Shortcakes from the top

Three Berry Shortcakes

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Place sauce on a plate, split shortcake in half horizontally. Put the bottom on top of the sauce, then add whipped cream on top of the bottom half.  Layer on some berries, then place the shortcake top over them. Add some whipping cream to the top, garnish with more berries and drizzle more sauce over all. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Mixed Berries, about 3 cups

  • 3 cups of berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries mix and/or match)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon rum (I like Cap’t Morgans) or Grand Marnier
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

Slice strawberries, and mix all berries very gently with sugar, rum and nutmeg.  Taste – you may want a touch more sugar if the berries aren’t sweet.  Chill for up to two hours, and at least one.

Whipped Cream, about 2 cups

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, or taste
  • Vanilla, rum or Grand Marnier, about a teaspoon or so.

Whip cream until soft peaks form.  Add rest of ingredients and whip until stiff peaks form. This needs to be a substantial stiffness or it will not support the top of the dessert and berries.

Berry Sauce

if you don’t care to use the sauce, just use the juices from the berries, or a blueberry syrup cut with Grand Marnier and a bit of water, if needed.

  • 3 cups of berries (use a single type, one of the ones used for the shortcake – blueberry or blackberry looks particularly stunning in the final dish.)
  • 3 tablespoons rum or Grand Marnier
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water

Add all ingredients to saucepan, bring to a boil.  Blend in blender or food processor.  Strain and chill.

Here is the recipe for the shortcakes.

from the kitchen of

Cooking and Kitchen Hack

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Money and Time Saving Strategies:

I’m abandoning my usual rhetoric here in favor for a quick comment or two:

Shop during the Holiday sales for the berries or check Aldis. Whipping Cream is usually on sale every Holiday, and generally butter is too. Stock up – freeze the butter. Whipping cream keeps for several weeks in the fridge, unopened,  so if this is an item you may wish to use in the following weeks, buy it during the Holiday week when it is normally on a deep sale.

If you don’t like to use alcohol, use vanilla. If you’d like to use the orange flavor instead of the rum, and don’t want to put out for Grand Marnier, use a little orange schnapps or a few drops of an orange extract. (Be careful if you use the extract – it’s often strong.)

Hope you had a great Memorial Day – think of this dessert over Father’s Day, the Fourth and Labor Day.

Note: I’m afraid I didn’t note the original source on my recipe card and I’ve been making these for years; it’s likely from Bon Appetit or Gourmet.


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