Blackberry Shortcakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream

Do I really need to say anything?!!  These little fruit and cream beauties taste as good as they look and they're the perfect finish to a summer meal. While blackberries are in season, you've just got to make them!

It's so amazing to think that only a little over a month ago there were still huge piles of snow around that looked like they'd never melt. Now we're racing towards summer with all of the wonderful summer fruits upon us. Blackberries have been particularly good this year. I've already showcased them in these Blackberry Corn Muffins and these Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes with Fresh Blackberry Sauce and I would bet good money more blackberry creations will be showing up around here, considering that several pints have somehow found their way into my fridge!

And while this may seem a fancy and high-maintenance dessert, the fact is that it's pretty easy and can be made ahead, with only a few minutes of last-minute assembly involved! You start by making the biscuits early in the day or even the day before. 

Then all you have to do is prepare the vanilla whipped cream and let the blackberries macerate in a little sugar--

Right before you're ready to serve these, you simply split the shortcakes in half, spoon some berries onto the bottom half, lop on a dollop of whipped cream and balance the top half of the biscuit above it all. You could even set up a station and let your guests do it themselves for a little hands-on dessert project!

The biscuits are light, not too sweet and crumbly with a subtle almond/vanilla flavor and are the perfect foil to the tart/sweetness of the blackberries and rich creaminess of the vanilla whipped cream. Each bite is a real treat for your tastebuds! Summer is definitely coming!!!

Blackberry Shortcakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream

Makes a dozen 

Prep Time:  35 minutes; Bake Time:  18-20 minutes


For the Biscuits

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup cold buttermilk, well-shaken

For the berries and whipped cream

  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 pints fresh blackberries (or a combination of other berries)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

The Recipe

1.  Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut in the butter until it forms a coarse meal.

3.  In a separate small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of the cream, 1 egg and both extracts together. Pour into the dry ingredients and using a fork, mix the wet into the dry. Slowly add in the buttermilk and toss the mixture together until small moist clumps form. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk.

4.  Sprinkle some flour onto a board and using your hands, flatten the dough into a 9 inch round. Cut out circles using a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Gather together the scraps, flatten the dough out again trying to keep it the same thickness as your original circle and cut out more biscuits until you've used up all the dough.

5.  In a small bowl, whisk together the tablespoons of cream with the remaining egg and using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the biscuits with the mixture.

6.  Bake the biscuits until they're golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool completely.

7.  Toss the blackberries with the 3 tablespoons of sugar  and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes so that some of the juices begin to be released.

8.  Right before you're ready to serve, whip the 2 cups cold heavy cream with the confectioner's sugar and the vanilla until soft peaks form.

9.  To serve:  Cut each biscuit in half and place the bottoms in bowls. Top with some berries and cream and then place the top halves on top of that. Serve immediately.


Note:  Recipe adapted from a 2010 issue of Bon Appetit.





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