300g plain flour
100g caster sugar
1 Tbs double-acting baking powder (far right)
1/2 tsp baking soda (right)
1/2 tsp salt
125g cold butter
1 60g egg
250ml buttermilk (right below)
For the strawberries:
600g to 1kg strawberries
1 to 2 Tbs caster sugar
Juice of half a lemon
For the cream:
500ml whipping cream
2-3 Tbs caster sugar (optional)
1. Make the shortcakes: Pre-heat oven to 200 deg C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. Measure flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly with a fork.
3. Take the butter out of the fridge, cut into 1cm cubes and scatter over the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or cool fingertips, work the cold butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Whisk the egg into the buttermilk, making sure the egg is well incorporated.
5. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour the buttermilk and egg in. Using a wooden spoon, mix to form a sticky batter.
6. Divide the batter into six roughly equal portions. If you want to be precise, place a small bowl on a digital scale and weigh out 135 to 137g of batter for each shortcake. Scrape the batter onto the lined baking tray and repeat with the rest of the batter. Leave plenty of space in between them, so there should be three shortcakes on each baking tray.
7. Place in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, swopping the trays halfway through the baking to brown them evenly. They are ready when golden brown. Leave on the tray for five minutes, then place on a metal rack and let cool completely.
8. Macerate the strawberries: While the shortcakes are baking, rinse the strawberries under running water and pat dry with paper towels. Hull the berries and cut into quarters if large or into half if small. Place in a large glass mixing bowl. Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit and add the lemon juice. Mix with a spoon and let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
9. Whip the cream: Just before serving, fit an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, remove cream from the fridge, pour into the bowl and start whisking at low speed, increasing to medium. Add the sugar if using and continue beating at medium high speed until it is the consistency you like. Do not overbeat the cream or it will turn gritty.
10. Assemble the shortcakes: Slice the top off a shortcake with a serrated knife and place the bottom part on a serving plate. Spoon the strawberries over the shortcake, top with a large dollop of cream. Replace the top. Repeat with the other shortcakes and serve immediately.