Old-fashioned Shortcake Recipe

History of Old-fashioned Shortcake:

Old-fashioned shortcake is a classic dessert that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is believed to have originated in England in the 16th century, where it was initially made with a yeast-based dough and served as a bread-like accompaniment to stewed fruits. Over time, the recipe evolved, and the yeast was replaced with a lighter, fluffier biscuit-like dough.

In the United States, shortcake gained popularity during the 19th century. It quickly became a beloved treat, especially during the summer months when fresh fruits were abundant. While strawberries are the most traditional topping for shortcake, other fruits such as raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, peaches, bananas, oranges, and even stewed, dried, or canned fruits can be substituted, creating endless delicious variations.

Fun Facts about Old-fashioned Shortcake:

1. The term "shortcake" refers to a type of crumbly, tender pastry that is made with a higher ratio of fat to flour. This high fat content gives shortcakes their signature flaky texture.

2. In some regions, shortcake is traditionally made with a sponge cake-like base instead of a biscuit-like dough. This version is often referred to as sponge cake shortcake or strawberry shortcake cake.

3. Shortcakes are often served with whipped cream, which provides a creamy, refreshing contrast to the sweet, juicy fruits.

4. In the 1940s, soldiers during World War II were known to enjoy strawberry shortcake as a special treat. The recipe was adapted to be made with canned biscuits, pie filling, and powdered milk, as fresh ingredients were scarce during the war.

Recipe for Old-fashioned Shortcake:

- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 2/3 cup milk
- Fresh fruits of your choice (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.)
- Whipped cream


1. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well combined.

3. Add the cold butter pieces to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

4. Gradually add the milk to the mixture, stirring just until the dough comes together. Be careful not to overmix.

5. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and gently knead it a few times until it becomes smooth. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/2 inch.

6. Using a round biscuit cutter or a glass, cut out individual biscuits from the dough and place them onto the prepared baking sheet.

7. Bake the biscuits for about 12-15 minutes, or until they are golden brown and cooked through. Allow them to cool completely.

8. While the biscuits are cooling, prepare your fresh fruits by washing, hulling (if necessary), and slicing them.

9. To serve, split the cooled biscuits in half horizontally. Place the bottom half on a serving plate and top it with a generous amount of the sliced fruits. Spoon some whipped cream over the fruits, and then place the top half of the biscuit on top.

10. Repeat the process with the remaining biscuits and fruits. Serve the shortcakes immediately and enjoy!


- Experiment with different fruits and combinations. Try mixing strawberries with fresh blueberries or adding sliced peaches to the mix for a summery twist.

- For added flavor, sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg over the fruit before assembling the shortcakes.

- To make a chocolate version, add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients and reduce the flour to 1 3/4 cups.

Similar Recipes:

- Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake: Replace a portion of the strawberries with finely chopped rhubarb, and stew them together with sugar until soft. Use this mixture to top the shortcakes, along with whipped cream.

- Peach Melba Shortcake: Substitute fresh peaches for the strawberries and top with a spoonful of raspberry sauce. Finish with whipped cream and a fresh raspberry garnish.

- Blueberry Lemon Shortcake: Toss fresh blueberries with lemon zest, sugar, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Use this tangy mixture as a filling for the shortcakes, and top with whipped cream and additional lemon zest.

Old-fashioned shortcake is a versatile dessert that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Whether you stick to the traditional strawberries or try out different fruits, this timeless treat is sure to satisfy your sweet craving.



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