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What is shortcake?

Shortcake is a thick, sweetened biscuit with a crumbly scone-like texture that is used to make a classic American dessert.

Strawberry shortcake was born in the 1840s in the U.S. and was an excuse for 19th-century ladies to throw a party. The dessert consists of making a biscuit from flour, baking powder, sugar, butter or shortening (which some say is the "short" in "shortcake"), milk and occasionally eggs. The cooked biscuit is split down the middle and filled with sweetened whipped cream and sliced strawberries or other fruits, such as apples and rhubarb, peaches or blueberries. The sliced or cut-up fruit is usually tossed with sugar and left to macerate for awhile before using, so that it becomes extra sweet and creates a light syrup.

Because strawberry shortcake is such a popular dessert, you can find yellow individual sponge cakes or corn muffins with wells for fruit and cream in the supermarket that are marketed as ready-made shortcakes. Shortcake-loving southerners have been known to make shortcake with broken up pieces of pie dough. 

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