There is no better way to celebrate summer than to serve shortcakes slathered with whipped cream and piled high with fresh berries. These individual shortcakes are baked together as two round layers, then split and filled with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream. If you can’t serve them as soon as they come out of the oven, warm the shortcakes up a bit before adding the berries and cream.
- Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. Butter a baking sheet and set aside.
- To make the shortcakes: Sift the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Add 6 ounces of the butter and work into the dry ingredients using your fingers or a pastry blender. Add the cream and mix into a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 1 minute or until it holds together.
- Transfer to a lightly floured pastry board or a large sheet of wax paper and, using a floured rolling pin, roll it out to a rectangle about ½ inch thick.
- Using a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can. Press the scraps together, roll out again, and cut out to make 16 rounds. Transfer 8 of the rounds to the baking sheet. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan and brush the tops. Place the remaining 8 rounds on top of them. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the tops of the biscuits are golden brown.
- For the berries: Meanwhile, hull the strawberries, slice them in half, and put them in a large shallow bowl. Add the blueberries and stir in the sugar. Toss together gently, cover, and set aside for about 30 minutes. Note: If you are not serving the shortcakes right away, prepare the berries no more than half an hour before serving so they don’t get mushy. The shortcakes can also be frozen, but they should be warmed before serving.
- To make the whipped cream: In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip the cream until it just begins to thicken, add the rum and vanilla and beat until firm. If not serving right away, the whipped cream can be chilled in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour.
- To serve, pull the shortcakes apart and arrange the bottoms on small cake plates. Spoon some of the whipped cream and a generous amount of the berries over them. Top them with the shortcake tops, the remaining whipped cream and berries, and serve.