Stawberry shortcake.jpeg
Strawberry shortcake
TypeCake or biscuit
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Main ingredientsFlour, sugar, butter, milk or cream

Shortcake generally refers to a dessert with a crumbly scone like texture.[1] There are multiple variations of shortcake most of which are usually served with fruit and cream, one of the most popular being strawberry shortcake which is typically served with whipped cream. Other variations common in the UK are Blackberry & clotted cream shortcake,[2] and Lemon Berry Shortcake, which is served with lemon curd in place of cream.[3][4]


Shortcake is typically made with flour, sugar, baking powder or soda, salt, butter, milk or cream, and sometimes eggs. The dry ingredients are blended, and then the butter is cut in until the mixture resembles cornmeal. The liquid ingredients are then mixed in just until moistened, resulting in a shortened dough. The dough is then dropped in spoonfuls onto a baking sheet, rolled and cut like baking powder biscuits, or poured into a cake pan, depending on how wet the dough is and the baker's preferences. Then it is baked at a relatively high temperature until set.[5][6]

Strawberry shortcake is a widely known dessert made with shortcake. Sliced strawberries are mixed with sugar and allowed to sit an hour or so, until the strawberries have surrendered a great deal of their juices (macerated). The shortcakes are split and the bottoms are covered with a layer of strawberries, juice, and whipped cream, typically flavored with sugar and vanilla. The top is replaced, and more strawberries and whipped cream are added onto the top. Some convenience versions of shortcake are not made with a shortcake (i.e. biscuit) at all, but instead use a base of sponge cake or sometimes a corn muffin.[5][6]

Though strawberry is the most widely known shortcake dessert, peach shortcake, blueberry shortcake, chocolate shortcake and other similar desserts are made along similar lines.[6] In some recipes the shortcake itself is flavored; coconut is one addition.[7]


The "short" part of the name "shortcake" indicates something crumbly or crispy, generally through the addition of a fat such as butter or lard.[5] The earliest mention of the term shortcake occurred in 1588, in the second English cookbook to be printed, The Good Huswifes Handmaid for Cookerie in her Kitchen (London, 1588). It describes a cookie or biscuit in the English sense, made of flour, cream, sugar, egg yolk and spices.[8][9]

Strawberries were first included in a recipe for "Strawberry cake" which appeared in the June 1, 1845 issue (page 86) of The Ohio Cultivator (Columbus). The recipe was popularized by Eliza Leslie of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in The lady's receipt-book (1847). These "Strawberry cakes" were made of a thick unleavened cookie of flour, butter, eggs and sugar, split, layered with fresh strawberries, and covered with a hard sugar-and-egg white icing.[8][10]

The North American introduction of baking soda and baking powder as leaven in the 1800s revolutionized baking and made possible the biscuit-style shortcake.[11] By the 1850s, leavened shortcakes were the popular pastry for American strawberry cakes, and the term strawberry shortcake became established.[8]

By the 1860s, cream was being poured onto the shortcake and strawberries. A June 1862 issue of the Genesse Farmer (Rochester) described a “Strawberry Shortcake” made up of layers of soda biscuit, fresh berries, sugar, and cream. A similar recipe appeared in Jennie June's American Cookery Book (1866) by Jane Cunningham Croly.[8] The first known cookbook by a black woman in the United States, A domestic cook book (1866) by Malinda Russell,[12] also contains a recipe.[13]


In the United States, strawberry shortcake parties were held as celebrations of the summer fruit harvest. This tradition is upheld in some parts of the United States on June 14, which is Strawberry Shortcake Day.[14]


The largest strawberry shortcake ever made was in the town of La Trinidad, Benguet in the Philippines on March 20, 2004. It weighed 21,213.40 lb (9622.23 kg.)[15]

See also


  1. ^ "What is Shortcake?". Bakingbites. 3 September 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2022.
  2. ^ "Blackberry & clotted cream shortcake". BBC Good Food. September 2005.
  3. ^ "Lemon Berry Shortcake with Pressed Edible Flowers". nurturedinnorfolk. 1 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Lemon Blueberry Shortcakes". Delish. 1 June 2022.
  5. ^ a b c Purvis, Kathleen (July 18, 2007). "The long and short of the classic shortcake". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Hamel, PJ (July 8, 2021). "Imaginative ways to up your shortcake game | King Arthur Baking". Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  7. ^ Longbotham, Lori (16 November 2012). Luscious Coconut Desserts. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-1-4521-0021-0. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  8. ^ a b c d Marks, Gil (30 May 2013). "Strawberry Shortcake - History and Recipe". Tori Avey. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  9. ^ "A Good Huswifes Handmaide, 1594". Foods of England. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  10. ^ Leslie, Eliza (1847). The lady's receipt-book: a useful companion for large or small families. Philadelphia, PA: Carey and Hart. pp. 198–199. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  11. ^ Civitello, Linda (2017). Baking powder wars : the cutthroat food fight that revolutionized cooking. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. pp. 45, 70–74. ISBN 978-0252041082.
  12. ^ Levins, Sandy (31 March 2021). "Author of First Cookbook Written by an African American: Malinda Russell". WednesdaysWomen. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  13. ^ Russell, Malinda (2007). A domestic cook book: containing a careful selection of useful receipts for the kitchen by Malinda Russell, an experienced cook, Paw Paw, Michigan, 1866: a facsimile of the first known cookbook by an African American. William L. Clements Library. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-4255-8881-6. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  14. ^ Chesman, Andrea; Raboff, Fran (1 January 2009). 250 Treasured Country Desserts: Mouthwatering, Time-honored, Tried & True, Soul-satisfying, Handed-down Sweet Comforts. Storey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60342-152-2. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  15. ^ "Largest fruit shortcake". Guinness World Records. 20 March 2004. Retrieved 2021-02-12.