Sweet Strawberry Shortcake

When I started cooking with children over 13 years ago, I went looking (and testing, and tasting) for the perfect go-to recipe. I’d just graduated from culinary school and wanted to impress, with anything and everything from homemade soups and stocks to perfectly flaky pasty and classic sauces — all in programs less than an hour long. (What was I thinking?) What I quickly learned was that the best recipes are not those with the most impressive end results, but those with the most opportunity for jobs, learning and growth. What I needed was a recipe that could be completed by a chef of any age, with any skill level – one that could be simplified for pre-school children or made elaborate for middle-schoolers. One that was delicious and affordable – and could at least give a “nod” to the concept of healthy eating.

The recipe I landed on – Strawberry Shortcake – is no surprise to anyone who has either taught or attended one of our cooking programs — there’s a variation of it in many of our curriculums. It can be used to teach very young children about knife skills, having them learn the “claw” and “bridge” method to chop strawberries. It teaches the value and reward of hard work through the laborious whipping of the cream by hand. It encourages older chefs to get creative, swapping out ingredients, making sauces or baking the scones from scratch. We even enjoy plating competitions with this delicious dessert, challenging students to enjoy the act of creation tied to the culinary world, and to admire their work before devouring it.


Strawberry Shortcake can be made to suit any dietary need – swap out the fruit to avoid allergies or to use what’s in season (learning opportunities!), and make coconut based whipped cream to eliminate dairy from the topping (here’s a great explanation from Oh She Glows). You can even swap in a vegan recipe for the scones (try this one from Domestic Gothess) or a gluten free option depending on your needs (here’s a great gluten free scone from Jamie Oliver). You could even use pantry staples like frozen waffles (or homemade – please!) for the base – the options are endless. This recipe is so perfect in its simplicity, it can be made for and by anyone and – I’ve yet to meet a single person who doesn’t love it.

From our home-kitchen to yours, in this time when we’re all trying to figure out what to do with ourselves and our families to stay occupied and engaged, we hope you enjoy this recipe for Strawberry Shortcake. Send us your culinary creations or post them on Instagram and tag us (@exploreitallinc) we’d love to enjoy with you.

Stay safe and stay healthy — we hope to see you all again in programs very, very soon.

Strawberry Shortcake

1 lb strawberries
¼ cup quick dissolve fruit sugar
1 loaf pound cake (or other small cakes or scones)
1 cup whipping cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Cut strawberries or other soft fruit into small pieces, put in a large bowl.
  2. Add sugar to fruit and mix to coat fruit and dissolve the sugar.
  3. Set bowl of fruit aside until ready to serve. (If you are using a hard or under-ripe fruit, you may want to gently stew the fruit to soften it first – then set aside to cool.)
  4. Slice pound cake into 1 – 2” slices or cut open the scones– cut into fun and fancy shapes with cookie cutters if you like; set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, whip the whipping cream with a whisk until thick and fluffy. (Note: do not over-whip the whipping cream – it will turn to butter!!)
  6. Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar to the whipped cream and mix to combine. 
  7. Assemble your shortcake by layering fruit on top of pound cake or the bottom of the scone and then plenty of whipped cream topped with more cake or the other half of the scone and more whipped cream on top!