Scrape vanilla beans into a medium bowl and add ½ cup sugar. Mix with hands until the seeds are evenly distributed throughout sugar. Add strawberries and zest and stir to combine. Let mixture sit, stirring occasionally, until strawberries are tender and juices have released and become syrupy, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the shortcake. Adjust oven rack to the center position and heat to 350°. Butter and flour a baking sheet and set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, vanilla extract, and heavy cream. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar on medium-high speed, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, until mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed and gradually add egg and flour mixtures. Beat until just combined.
Using hands, crumble batter onto the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, 10–14 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Layer crumbled shortbread in the bottom of a jar, top with strawberry mixture with juice, and then sweetened whipped cream.
Repeat layering once. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy Jack Dusty