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Shortcake is a sweet biscuit (in the American sense: that is, a crumbly, baking soda- or baking powder-leavened bread, known in British English as a scone), and a dessert made with that biscuit.

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 and mixed (or "combined" until the incorporation resembles cornmeal. The liquid ingredients are then mixed in just until moistened resulting in a wet batter. The batter is then dropped in spoonfuls onto a baking sheet or poured into a cake form, and baked until set.

The most famous dessert made with shortcake is strawberry 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. 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 a base of sponge cake or sometimes a corn muffin.

Though today's shortcakes are usually of the biscuit or sponge-cake variety, earlier American recipes called for pie crust in rounds or broken-up pieces, which was a variety still being enjoyed in the 20th century, particularly in the South.

Though strawberry is the most widely known shortcake dessert, peach shortcake, blueberry shortcake, and other similar desserts are made along similar lines. It is also common to see recipes where the shortcake itself is flavored; coconut is a common addition.
Published by Art99 on May 6, 2008

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