It’s 1970 and a beautiful summer day on Ridgebrook Drive in our childhood home. We can remember waking up and seeing mom sitting at the breakfast table cutting up strawberries while sipping her morning coffee.

Back then mom never used a cutting board; she would use a small paring knife and cut the berries right over the bowl. To this day we still ask her, “Why did you do it that way, didn’t you have a cutting board?”

Her response was always the same, she said, “This is the way Nana taught me, and this is how I make her strawberry shortcake recipe!”

Do you remember the sponge cake dessert shells in the package? Well…..they are still around. Mom would use them all the time. Back then it was the hottest thing around. But as you know, we enjoy doing different variations on Mom’s old classics.

We decided to caramelize the strawberries using our favorite vanilla sugar* and for the topping  we have flavored the whipped cream with Sambuca.  Of course we just had to change the presentation… just had to… and chose to bring some of the outside pieces we use to decorate the patio table. We used a votive candle holder centerpiece, washed thoroughly, and filled the little glass votive’s with this amazing recipe.  It was a hit and a great new way to serve an ol’ classic! Happy summer, everyone!


Twice-Baked Twins' Strawberry Shortcake.

Twice-Baked Twins’ Strawberry Shortcake.

Strawberry Shortcake

For the base:

Your choice: spongecake, poundcake or biscuits.

Caramelized Strawberries

1 lb. strawberries, stems removed

1/4-1/2 cup vanilla sugar*

1/2 teaspoon  lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1⁄2  teaspoon  cinnamon, optional

fresh mint leaves

almonds, chopped, optional

Sambuca Whipped Cream 

1 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons Sambuca


Place the berries on a parchment-lined baking sheet and turn the oven to broil. Sprinkle berries with the vanilla sugar and the zests. Broil 7-8 minutes until slightly softened and charred. Remove and cool.

If using heavy cream (can use Cool Whip), beat cream until soft peaks form and add Sambuca to taste.

Assemble shortcakes:

If using a decorative holder, as we have for individual servings, using a biscuit cutter or a small glass, cut a circle to fit the bottom of the serving piece. Place a few berries, then top with Sambuca cream and repeat until glass is filled. Garnish with fresh mint and chopped almonds….Yum!

*Vanilla Sugar, a Twicebakedtwin favorite — 2 cups white sugar and 1 vanilla bean, split. Put all in an air-tight container and let the vanilla perfume the sugar for several days before using.


Please join us every Tuesday on Better CT, Channel 3 (WFSB) @3pm . We will be sharing great summer recipes and amazing entertaining ideas. To see the Strawberry Shortcakes being assembled, use the following link. Enjoy!