Strawberry shortcake is one of the most nostalgic desserts for me. My grandmother’s rendition was legendary in my family and she always served it during the first long weekend of the summer alongside lobster boiled in seawater and potato salad. I grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada so while lobster was still considered a special occasion food, it was far more accessible and plentiful in our backyard. In honor of these memories, I bring you this small twist on a timeless classic. This Strawberry Matcha Shortcake boasts alternating layers of buttery soft green matcha cake, airy strawberry whipped cream, and fresh strawberries macerated with rosewater and Cointreau. It’s got a little more going on than the classic but I promise it retains all its charms.
This Strawberry Matcha Shortcake isn’t all that difficult to make. Honestly, if you can hull a strawberry and line a cake pan, you’re more than qualified to make it. What this Strawberry Matcha Shortcake does require is an abundance of patience. There are a lot of cooling moments, macerating moments, and chilling moments so be aware of that. While it’s true there aren’t as many as there are in say an icebox pie, there are still quite a few pauses standing between you and that first slice of cake, so be prepared.
We’re going to start with the cake, which begins unglamorously by greasing and lining a trio of 6” cake pans. I like to also line my cake pans with parchment paper to make sure I can extract my cakes from their pans in one piece. Once the pans are primed and the oven is preheating, it’s time to tackle the batter.
Start by placing some softened butter and quite a bit of sugar into a mixing bowl. I know it looks like a lot of sugar and you’re probably thinking you don’t like overly sweet desserts. And you know what? Neither do I. But the sugar isn’t just there to add sweetness. It contributes to the overall texture of the cake. If you’re too shy with the sugar, your cake will be overly dense and dry. And we’re hanging out in the indulgence category here, so don’t be afraid to let the sugar fly.
Cream the butter and sugar together until extremely light and fluffy. This will be easiest with a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. But if you don’t have that in your arsenal, a hand mixer will work. I’ve tried it both ways with great success. Once the butter and sugar are nice and airy, add some egg whites and whip until a smooth, creamy mixture forms. Set it aside.
In a separate bowl, sift your flour, matcha, and the remaining dry ingredients together into a bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Now add half of that to the egg-white mixture and fold it in. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be super careful while folding ingredients in. You can put some muscle behind it, just keep the sweeping circular motion. As much as we don’t want to over-mix our batter, we also don’t want to under-mix it either. So put some elbow grease into it and fold until no streaks of flour remain.
Next, add the yogurt, oil, and vanilla bean paste. If you felt your batter was looking overly dry from the previous flour addition, help is on the way in the form of oil and yogurt. This brings a creaminess back into the batter before we add the final batch of dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, smooth the top, and bake.
Once the cake is in the oven, we can move on to the berries. We’re going to macerate the strawberries in a little sugar, rosewater, and Cointreau. If you’d rather skip the alcohol, try adding a little orange zest or extract instead. Basically, all you have to do is pile all of the ingredients into a bowl and give them a stir then let time take care of the rest. Let your berries sit for at least 30 minutes, but longer is better. And since the cakes are in the oven and will have to cool before you can do anything with them, you have the time to give.
Now for the final component of this Strawberry Matcha Shortcake – the Strawberry Whipped Cream. This, much like the berries, is an extremely low lift. Blitz some freeze-dried strawberries until they’re reduced to a fine powder. Pour some cold cream into a mixing bowl and place a fine strainer on top. Add the strawberry powder and some icing sugar to the strainer and sift the ingredients into the cream. Whisk on high using a hand or stand mixer until stiff peaks form. The whipped cream will be a soft pink shade when it’s done. The color is subtle, so if you are looking for something a little more vibrant, feel free to add some pink color gel. The same goes for the matcha cake, which is also a rather subtle shade of green. I didn’t bother to amp up either but the option is there if you want it.
Finally, it’s time to assemble the cake. Trim the cooled cake layers to ensure they more or less lay flat. Grab one of the layers and slather a third of the strawberry whipped cream on top. Top the whipped with a layer of berries. Make sure you drain off as much of macerating liquid as possible or the whipped cream will run. Place the second cake layer on top and repeat. Finish the cake with the remaining whipped cream and a mixture of fresh and macerated berries. I also added roses and rose petals because I have a lot of roses in my garden right now. They are optional, though.
And that’s everything you need to know about this Strawberry Matcha Shortcake. A summer-y stunner that’s guaranteed to steal the show at every BBQ.
Strawberry Matcha Shortcake
- 3 6" cake pans
- 1 hand or stand mixer
- 1 whisk attachment
- 1 Fine Mesh Strainer
Matcha Layer Cake
- ⅔ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 egg whites room temperature
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp matcha powder
- 1¾ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup yogurt 3% milk fat or higher, room temperature
- 2 tbsp neutral oil I used canola
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 pints strawberries hulled and sliced
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1½ tsp rosewater
- 1 oz Cointreau**
Strawberry Whipped Cream
- 1½ cups heavy cream cold
- 17g (0.6oz) freeze-dried strawberries blitzed into a fine powder
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 3 layers Matcha Cake see above
- 1 batch Strawberry Whipped Cream see above
- 1 batch Macerated Strawberries see above
- Additional fresh strawberries optional
- rose petals optional
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and line three 6” inch cake pans. Set aside.
- Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Using either a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the butter and sugar together until fluffy and light yellow. Add the egg whites and whip until smooth and creamy.⅔ cup unsalted butter, 1½ cups granulated sugar, 4 egg whites
- Using a fine mesh strainer, sift the flour, baking powder, matcha, and salt into a separate bowl. Whisk to combine.2½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp matcha powder, 1¾ tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt
- Add half of the flour mixture to the egg-white mixture and fold to combine. Stir in the yogurt, oil, and vanilla. Add the remaining flour mixture and fold until no streaks remain.1 cup yogurt, 2 tbsp neutral oil, 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Divide the batter across the three prepared cake pans. Smooth the top of the batter with an offset spatula and place them in the oven. Bake until a toothpick can be inserted in the center of the cake and removed cleanly. About 40-45 minutes.
- Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before inverting them onto a cooling rack. Let cool for 2 hours or until cooled completely.
For the Strawberries
- Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Cover and let chill for at least an hour or for up to three days.2 pints strawberries, 3 tbsp granulated sugar, 1½ tsp rosewater, 1 oz Cointreau**
For the Whipped Cream
- Pour the cream into a large mixing bowl. Sift the sugar and strawberry powder into the cream.1½ cups heavy cream, 17g (0.6oz) freeze-dried strawberries, 2 tbsp icing sugar
- Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer, whip the cream on high until stiff peaks form.
- Level the cooled cake layers. Place one layer on a cake stand and cover the top with a third of the Strawberry Whipped Cream. Top with the berries. ***3 layers Matcha Cake, 1 batch Strawberry Whipped Cream, 1 batch Macerated Strawberries
- Place the second layer on top and repeat. Finish with a layer of the strawberry whipped cream and decorate with macerated berries, fresh berries, and rose petals, if desired. Serve immediately.Additional fresh strawberries, rose petals