Grease two large baking sheets with butter.
Place all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
Cut the chilled butter into small cubes.
Crumb the butter and flour mixture together with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Gently stir in the milk and incorporate all ingredients together.
Flour the work surface.
Tip the dough out onto the floured work surface and roll out to 1cm thick.
Using a 3-inch cutter, cut out 18 rounds.
Transfer to the baking tray.
Pre-heat the oven to 175°C/350°F/Gas 4. Bake the shortcakes for 8–10 minutes, until golden in colour.
Meanwhile, hull and halve the strawberries, place them in a bowl and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Remove the shortcakes from the oven and place them onto a cooling rack.
In a bowl, add the cream, icing sugar and vanilla essence and whip together to soft peaks then place into a piping bag.
Once the shortcakes are completely cooled, make your stacks.
On the first shortcake, pipe the cream on top and then place some strawberries on the cream, followed by the second shortcake. Repeat the cream and strawberry layer before topping off with the third shortcake.
Dust the top shortcake with icing sugar and arrange some more strawberries for decoration.