Course : Desserts
Serves: 12
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2 pints ripe strawberries -- hulled, sliced
1/3 cup sugar -- or more to taste
1 pint raspberries
1/2 pound cherries -- pitted, chopped
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup buttermilk -- cold
1/2 cup milk -- + 2 tbsp, cold
2 teaspoons orange zest -- finely grated
3/4 cup unsalted butter -- in 1/4 inch pieces
3 tablespoons sugar -- for topping
1 1/2 cups whipping cream -- cold
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar -- (optional)

Preparation / Directions:

Place strawberries in large bowl, add sugar, gently toss. Set aside for at least 2 hours. Using a fork, mash one-third of the berries; toss again, then add raspberries and cherries. Let stand 1 hour. Adjust rack to lower third of oven; preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. The dough: Sift flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt into a large bowl. Combine egg, buttermilk, milk, orange zest; stir to mix. Cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg mixture; stir just until it forms a soft, moist, sticky dough. Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of dough about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle a little sugar over each mound; gently pat dough to 1/2- to 3/4 inch thickness. Bake about 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool shortcakes on a wire rack. Topping: Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. To assemble: Split shortcakes in half. Place bottom halves on dessert plates. Top each with berries and cherries, then with whipped cream. Set top of shortcakes on whipped cream. If desired, sprinkle with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

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