I’m a fan of salt and sweet mixed together. My grandmother Lizzie Paulk often used biscuits in place of pastry in her recipes. Nowadays, most people use angel food cake or pound cake for this dessert, but I like the old-fashioned mix of the not-so-sweet biscuit with the sweetness of the strawberries and the whipped cream. I serve this dessert in the summer with fresh-picked berries from our local strawberry farm.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease the bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and ½ cup of the sugar. Add the butter and cut in with 2 knives or a pastry blender to coarse-crumb consistency. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the milk until fully combined. Gradually stir the egg and milk mixture into the flour mixture. Knead the dough for about 20 seconds on a lightly floured board. Pat half the dough into each cake pan. Brush the surfaces with melted butter. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn the shortcake layers out onto cooling racks.
While the layers are cooling, wash the strawberries and remove the hulls. Reserve a few berries for garnish. Cut the large berries in half and sprinkle with ¾ cup of the sugar. Let stand for about 30 minutes.
Spoon half of the berries with their juice over one shortcake layer. Place the second layer on top and spoon the remaining berries and juice over it. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and top with the whipped cream.