Strawberry Shortcake Bars

Celebrate fresh strawberry season with a batch of these Strawberry Shortcake Bars!  These are the perfect sweet treat for summer picnics and parties!

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Celebrate fresh strawberry season with a batch of these Strawberry Shortcake Bars!  These are the perfect sweet treat for summer picnics and parties!“What is bread flour?  Can I use all-purpose flour instead?”  This question popped up from a reader on Facebook recently, and I realized that it’s been a bit since I’ve talked about different types of flour here on the site.  Growing up, my mom only kept all-purpose flour in the pantry.  In fact, I didn’t even realize there were different flours until I took some baking classes at a culinary school in our area.  And now I keep 4 different flours in stock.  Yes, 4.

But here’s the thing.  You don’t need to keep 4 different kinds of flour in your pantry.  I’m just a baking nerd.  If I was pressed, I could narrow my flours down to just 2: all-purpose flour and bread flour.

Celebrate fresh strawberry season with a batch of these Strawberry Shortcake Bars!  These are the perfect sweet treat for summer picnics and parties!Bread Flour
The type of flour you use for baking projects does indeed make a big difference.  Bread flour contains a higher protein content than other flours, and this translates to a chewy bread once it’s baked.  Think bagels, pizza crust and homemade Italian bread.  You want those to be a bit more dense and chewy, right?  Bread flour is the answer.

All-Purpose Flour
Ah, the classic.  All-purpose flour is the workhorse of flours.  It’s ideal for cookies, quick breads and biscuits.  It can even be used for breads and pizza doughs in a pinch.  All-purpose flour has slightly less protein content than bread flour, and this leads to increased tenderness in baked goods.

Celebrate fresh strawberry season with a batch of these Strawberry Shortcake Bars!  These are the perfect sweet treat for summer picnics and parties!Pastry Flour
What about those other 2 flours?  Pastry flour is one of them, and I do keep it on hand.  However, I find that I don’t reach for my pastry flour all that often.  Pastry flour is a step down in protein content from all-purpose flour, and it’s ideal for, you guessed it…pastries.  Think pie crusts, croissants and the like.  In fact, you can make pastry flour by taking 1 cup of all-purpose flour, removing 2 Tbsp and replacing it with 2 Tbsp of cornstarch.

Cake Flour
Last but not least, there’s cake flour.  It’s the lowest in terms of protein content, and it’s used to produce tender cakes.  Can you use all-purpose flour for cakes?  Absolutely.  I do it all the time.  However, you’ll find that your cakes are more tender and rise a bit more if you use cake flour.  Cake flour is very finely milled, and you can actually feel the difference when you rub a bit between your fingers.

Ok, so there’s the Cliff’s Notes version of flours.  Do you need to run out and stock your pantry with all of those?  Absolutely not.  But it’s helpful to have a general knowledge of what the different flours are used for.  Cake flour for bagels?  Pass.  Bread flour for cakes?  No thanks.

Celebrate fresh strawberry season with a batch of these Strawberry Shortcake Bars!  These are the perfect sweet treat for summer picnics and parties!Strawberry Shortcake Bars

That discussion of different flours seemed appropriate for this post as these Strawberry Shortcake Bars use cake flour.  The result is a very tender and somewhat dense shortcake.  It’s delicious!  And it also provides a great base for the lighter frosting and strawberries on top.  (But can you still make this recipe with all-purpose flour?  Absolutely!)

Strawberries have been on super sale in our grocery stores, and I’ve been picking up a couple packs each week.  Robbie loves strawberries, and we’ve taught him how to take bites out of whole strawberries (as opposed to us slicing them up).  Talk about a messy face!  I think I could smush a strawberry straight into my face and not end up as messy as he does.  It must be a little boy thing, huh?

Celebrate fresh strawberry season with a batch of these Strawberry Shortcake Bars!  These are the perfect sweet treat for summer picnics and parties!If you love strawberry shortcake, then these Strawberry Shortcake Bars need to land on your list of things to bake soon.  Strawberry season is here, so enjoy it!  Happy baking, my friends!

Did you bake a batch of these Strawberry Shortcake Bars at home?  Leave a comment below.  Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog)!

Looking for more tasty strawberry desserts?  Check out these other favorites:

Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt
Fresh Strawberry Cake Roll
Strawberry Pretzel Pie
Frozen Strawberry Lemonade
Fresh Strawberry Cake

Celebrate fresh strawberry season with a batch of these Strawberry Shortcake Bars!  These are the perfect sweet treat for summer picnics and parties!

Strawberry Shortcake Bars

Celebrate fresh strawberry season with a batch of these Strawberry Shortcake Bars!  These are the perfect sweet treat for summer picnics and parties!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 24 squares
Calories: 188kcal


For the Cake

For the Frosting


For the Cake

  • Grease and flour a 9”x13” baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; set aside.  
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Using a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until well combined; set aside.
  • Using a countertop mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (~2-3 minutes on medium speed). Add the egg and egg whites; mix on low speed until well combined.
  • Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl; mix on low speed until well combined.
  • Add the milk, sour cream, vanilla extract and lemon juice (optional); mix on low speed until well combined. Add the remaining flour mixture; mix on low speed until well combined. (Tip: Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are fully mixed.)
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake at 350°F for 30-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack until completely cool.

For the Frosting

  • Using an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and whipped topping until well combined. Add powdered sugar and mix until well combined.
  • Spread frosting evenly on top of the cooled cake. Cover lightly and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Before serving, top with sliced strawberries.

Celebrate fresh strawberry season with a batch of these Strawberry Shortcake Bars!  These are the perfect sweet treat for summer picnics and parties!

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  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for the 411 on the different types of flours and the reminder that I totally forgot to pick up all purpose flour last night while out! Oh well! I do have cake flour, though, so these strawberry shortcake bars are do-able this weekend! Woot woot! Not only do they look tempting, I bet they taste divine! These wouldn’t last long in our home! Happy weekend, my friend 🙂

    1. Oh no! That’s the worst, Dawn! I hate when I go out shopping only to realize that I forgot something. I’m usually pretty organized with my list and stuff…which is why I’m even more annoyed when I forget something! Oh well.

      These strawberry shortcake bars definitely didn’t last long in our house! However, with all of the fresh strawberries on sale right now, I suspect another batch or two will be showing up soon. Thanks so much, my friend!

  2. 5 stars
    scrumptious cake… In India, we usually get all-purpose flour everywhere but i need to check for pastry and cake flour 🙂

    1. Hey Priya! In general, all-purpose is a good substitute for both pastry and cake flour. Pastry flour and cake flour are also harder to find. I don’t know about availability in India, but do keep an eye out. The difference is noticeable depending on the recipe! 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by, my baking friend!

  3. Hi David! I keep three kinds of flour, all purpose, bread flour and whole wheat. I never buy self-rising because it’s so easy to alter all purpose. Now these shortcake…YUM! I’m just starting to see strawberries here so this is on my to do list! I really like the lightened up cream cheese frosting. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

    1. Ah, yes! I totally forgot whole wheat on this list. I keep that one around, too, but it’s usually in smaller portions. A good whole wheat bread is hard to beat! And I never buy self-rising flour either.

      Strawberries are on sale everywhere here right now, and they smell amazing when you walk by! I had to pick up extra berries when I got the ingredients for this cake as I knew some of them wouldn’t ever make it to the cake. Haha! I hope you and Gary had a great weekend…and happy belated Cinco de Mayo, too! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Strawberries are SO GOOD right now! I have like a million upcoming berry recipes. . .but I’m still going to try these shortcake bars. I adore strawberry shortcake and these sound like a delicious way to use the berries I have left over from a baking project earlier this week. Have a great weekend, David!

    1. Tell me about it, Kelsie! All of our stores have strawberries on sale, and they smell so good when you walk by. Some of those berries just had to land on top of this shortcake! 🙂 Thanks so much, my baking friend. I hope you and Cookie had a great weekend full of awesome treats!

  5. your shortcakes look delish david. i always have plain flour and self-raising and cornflour on hand in my pantry. if i am going to bake bread i go out and buy bread flour. strawbs will not be in season till june/july here – which is mid-winter. We have them early here in sunny queensland! cheers sherry

    1. Oh wow, I totally forgot how the seasons are different in terms of berries down there. But strawberry season is coming! Definitely put this shortcake on the list. It’s SO good, and it’s a great way to use those tasty berries (once they come around). Thanks so much, Sherry! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    David, a great strawberry shortcake recipe. I saw the first of our local strawberries yesterday at the veggie market. It was kind of weird standing in a bloody snowstorm looking at fresh picked local berries. These came from a greenhouse though and are hugely pricy. In a month or so we’ll start to pick at the local u-pick spot and then I’ll be giving your recipe a go.
    Good flour tutorial, after reading it I had to go see what was in our flour cabinet. We have AP, Durham, coarse and fine rye and Captuo “00” (for pasta and pizza), I guess I’m a flour freak as well.

    1. Oh man, we totally have days like that here, too, Ron. Fortunately, we are done with the snow for the year (I think!), but I have absolutely picked up summer foods on days when I’m bundled in a snow jacket. It seems silly…but then again, by that point I’m usually craving summer recipes like you wouldn’t believe! Once the u-pick berries come in, definitely put this shortcake on the list. It’s a keeper for sure! 🙂

      Ah, yes. 00 flour. We can’t get that one here, but it’s pretty darned similar to our bread flour. From one flour freak to another, cheers! Haha!

  7. 5 stars
    Such a good refresher course on flours! I have a pantry full of odd flours since we have two gluten-free eaters in the house. Of course I do have regular AP in my “glute-full” bag of tricks. Anyway, this isn’t about me! Ha!
    I love all things strawberry and this looks lovely. Looks like a lovely light, fluffy texture that I wouldn’t be able to get enough of.

    1. Gosh, I can’t even imagine all of the different flours you have on hand with the gluten-free angle, Valentina! We have a silly amount of flour already…and that’s without the gluten-free options. Just gotta stay organized, right? 🙂

      Thanks so much for your kind words on this strawberry shortcake. The berries are on sale everywhere here right now…and they smell so amazing when you walk by! I just had to bake something up with ’em. I hope you had a great weekend, my friend!

  8. 5 stars

    I wish I could find such fresh strawberries here. We only get to taste them in the month of January each year. And most of the times they taste so sour that we use them for milkshakes. Hah!

    But I have to say this shortcake recipe looks so pleasing to the eyes. Lovely colors!

    1. Wow, I didn’t realize strawberries have such a limited season over there, Harshad. That’s crazy! However, with that said, this cake could totally work with other fresh fruit/berries, too. Mango perhaps? 🙂 Thanks so much for the kind words!

  9. 5 stars
    All of our strawberries rn are from California. The better (local) ones come in June and I can’t wait! These shortcake bars look so good, David! And thanks for the primer on flours. I keep 3 of your 4, but it’s just because I’m a little short on pastry skill. Anyway, Pinning this recipe in wait of the local berries! Thanks!

    1. I hear ya, Laura. The ripe berries here in our stores are all from California right now, too. But they’re still delicious! Our season for local strawberries is really short, and I think it’ll be a few more weeks at best. When those local berries do come in, keep these shortcake bars in mind! They’re delicious! 🙂

      Also, I challenge you to work on your pastry skills. I recently went back to making my own pie dough (after being lazy for a while), and I’m shocked at how easy it is. Seriously!!

    1. Ah, yes, I forgot whole wheat flour! I think that’s because I don’t keep as large of a bag of that one, and I also store it in the back of the fridge. It’s hard to beat a good loaf of whole wheat bread, though! And, yes, I think you qualify as a baking nerd! *nerd high-five* 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    Great insight on flours, David. Thank you!

    Strawberry shortcake is one of my all-time favorite desserts and I love this bar version. Makes it so portable for summer picnics!

    1. You’re totally right about these bars being portable for summer entertaining! That was the goal when I set out to make these. I love a good cake, but they add a layer of complexity when it comes to serving. Bars are easier! 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    David, I’m getting such a giggle imagining Robbie with a strawberry! I took my kids strawberry picking when they were younger. It was such a mess that the youngest had to ride home in only a diaper! Good times!

    These shortcake bars look seriously delicious. The crumb on the cake looks so tender and light. I’ve been dreaming about your lemon blueberry cake for Mother’s Day and now this! I just might have to make both!(Lucky for me that my birthday is the day before Mother’s Day!)

    1. Oh my gosh, I know what you mean about stripping the kids out of their clothes. That basically happens every time we give strawberries to Robbie at the dinner table. haha!

      Ah, well happy early birthday, my friend! I think a birthday totally calls for Lemon Blueberry Cake AND Strawberry Shortcake Bars. You’ve earned it! 🙂

    1. So give cake flour a shot sometime, Nicole! It’s definitely a different texture than all-purpose. It’s great for, well, cake. 🙂 Thanks so much, my friend, and I hope you had a very happy Mother’s Day! (Yes, you totally get to celebrate this year!)

  12. Oh gosh – here was a time once when I did use bread flour to make a cake, in my defense, I was trying to clean out my pantry though that was cake with one interesting texture! 🙂 I do love strawberry shortcake and so this is making me drool – time I get some breakfast before checking out your next post!

    1. Oh my gosh, bread flour in a cake? I’m guessing that wasn’t the best cake you’ve ever had, huh? Haha! I love me some strawberries, and they’ve been on such great sales here lately. In fact, another batch of these shortcake bars might be in order here soon! Thanks, Shashi!

    1. Hey Sha! I recommend using a 9″x13″ baking pan for this dish. Sometimes these pans are called ‘cake pans.’ Hope you enjoy this recipe!

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