My best strawberry shortcake

Confession: I’m crazy about shortcake. But for the past several years, I’ve dallied between numerous recipes without being able to settle on one.

stirring up the streusel

I grew up on a sweet sponge cake version, which is called “Never Fail Cake” and always sunk in the middle for me. Tasty though. Then there’s Shelia’s drier cake, more like a slightly sweet biscuit. And Vonnie’s crumb cake, which we liked for the sugar crumbs but I never baked quite right: the crumbs burned before the cake was done, kind of thing.

cake and streusel ready to bake

For our first shortcake this year, I started fresh. I began with Never Fail Cake (adjusted according to last year’s notes), which has become a truly delicious, moist cake. One that does not fall in the middle (since I tweaked the fat content and rising agent). One that does not, as Mr. Putter would say, break your toe if you drop it. A light and airy cake.

But I topped the cake batter, on a whim, with half a batch of crumbs for fruit pie: my sister’s mother-in-law’s recipe. (She has a great title, eh? She also goes by my brother-in-law’s mother and my nephews’ grandmother, and there’s more where that came from.)

just out of the oven

The crumbs are lovely, with brown sugar and butter, and a few oats and pecans. They turn into a fantastic streusel on top of the cake. (If amounts below are doubled, they’re also great on pie.) Definitely good enough to be eaten warm from the oven, without strawberries, as a coffee cake. But with berries, it’s Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Try it? Let me know what you think.

5 from 2 votes

Strawberry Streusel Shortcake



  • 4 Tbsp butter softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk


  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp butter melted
  • 2 Tbsp old-fashioned oats
  • 1/8 tsp salt


  1. Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer.

  2. Add egg and beat until fluffy.

  3. Add remaining ingredients, and mix only until well combined.

  4. Place batter in a greased 9×9" pan.

  5. In a separate bowl, stir streusel ingredients together with a fork. Sprinkle over cake batter.

  6. Bake at 350* for 22-25 min till done (using toothpick test).

  7. Serve with fresh strawberries, and milk or whipped cream.

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4 years ago

Yummm… i need to try this one…

4 years ago

I too am a bit obsessive about shortcake. Hope Helmuth’s has been my favorite. But now I’m wondering if 9:30 is too late to mix up yours!?

Priscilla F.
4 years ago

And it didn’t even take $100 to get it made, as dear Mr. Putter’s light and airy cake did! ☺

4 years ago

Interestingly enough , your ingredients for the cake part are similar to our favorite which I got from someone local but I think it came from Florida! Except this one doesn’t have an egg or vanilla..

Strawberry Shortcake makes: 2 of the 9 by 13’s

1 cup butter
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar

Crumb together like pie dough …take out 3/4 cup crumbs and to the rest add:

4 tsp. baking powder
2 cups milk
3/4 tsp salt

Stir good and put in greased pans. Top with crumbs..

350 degrees for 25-30 minutes

Serve with fresh strawberries and milk…( a new one for me this year was someone had shortcake at a meal and did not sweeten berries but we put honey on top before the milk..Delicious!!)

4 years ago
Reply to  Shari Zook

I tried yours yesterday morning! It was yummy!! I ate a bowl for brunch and a bowl for my husband , daughter and myself , we pretty much inhaled the dish! I liked the crumbs..except I couldn’t find pecans and wasn’t sure my family would like that part anyways..I gave my mother in law a teeny weeny but never shared much!

Sheila Rudolph
4 years ago

Since this was a little different than our usual recipe I gave it a try tonight for supper and it received thumbs up by all of us! The cake was airy just how we like it and the crumbs on top give it a wonderful touch! Thanks for sharing!

wilbur Graybill
4 years ago

Just in time for Justin’s wedding. I am going to try this for his wedding rehearsal supper where I was already planning to serve strawberry shortcake as strawberries are ripe in the Willamette valley in Oregon. Thank you Shari, I was online this morning looking for a recipe.

Jeanette B.
4 years ago

That shortcake is delightful! Just tried it tonight. The cake is super soft, melt-in-your-mouth….and then those chewy sweet bits of streusel… Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Rachel H
4 years ago

The shortcake recipe is fabulous; thanks a lot for sharing it with us. This spring, I have been wondering if strawberry shortcake is a cultural exclusive- I grew up on it, and am [seasonally] passionate about it, but do not often encounter it outside of my own making. I’m glad to know I’m not the only strawberry shortcake fan left!

Only one question: is the omission of salt intentional?

Heather Puffer
3 years ago

Made this tonight with our first fresh strawberries (in upstate NY) Definitely a new favorite; Thanks!

1 month ago

5 stars
It’s May again, strawberries are early this year, we are dipping them in chocolate (just melted semi-sweet baking bits and coconut oil) and carrying them about to friends and neighbors. All the buckets that come in get sorted, the nice stemmed ones washed for that.

And the rest? The uncapped, blemished small ones? Mostly we eat them with biscuits and milk, occasionally in strawberry pie, but for three springs now, some evening or several when we feel fancy, we mix up your streusel cake and that’s all we have for supper, with berries and milk.

No one complains.

Jo Z
6 days ago

5 stars
Just tried this recipe for the first time tonight. We ate it slightly warm with strawberries and milk and it was absolutely amazing!!!! My family declared it SOO much better than my favorite shortcake I’ve been making for the past 14 years. We have a new favorite! Too bad strawberries are almost over for the season in our area…

Shari Zook
5 days ago
Reply to  Jo Z

Aw this makes me so happy! Thank you!

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