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Shortbread vs. Shortcake . . . Recipes

thermometer_2016It has been so hot, I’m finding it hard to even think of something to write about. Add to that the fact, that we’ve not been doing much of anything which doesn’t help either.


With the temps running over 100 degrees for the last week, been spending some of my house-time sorting through old cookbooks and magazines. Yes, I’m one of those old-fashioned people that still enjoys a good cookbook.   When we went to auctions, loved buying boxes of old cookbooks.  Granted some of them were weird, but most of them were really good.  For the good ones,  particularly enjoyed looking for notations made by the previous cook . . .  or those recipes that were obviously well used.  Knew those just had to be good.  Most of the time they were.


While perusing a few cookbooks earlier this week looking for nothing in particular, stumbled across a recipe for shortcake. Caught my eye because it was served with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  Now I love shortbread.  But shortcake?  Not heard of that one.  So got to wondering what is the difference?


Did a little sleuthing on the computer and found that while the two are similar (they both have short in the name ?)  there is a difference.

Shortcake can be made using vegetable fat instead of butter and usually has a leavening agent, i.e., baking powder which gives it a different texture.   [1]      Shortbread is flour, butter and sugar . . . only . . .  but you can use butter in your shortcakes.

Guess you might say, “Shortbread is a particular type of shortcake and not all shortcakes are shortbread.”  [2]    Too confusing for me.

Was going to whip up a batch of the shortcakes just to see what they tasted like, but alas, didn’t have all the necessary ingredients for the recipe. This one will have to wait for my next trip to town to get the requisite whipping cream.  Something I would NEVER have on hand.

Putting the two recipes below for those that might like to give one or the other a try.

Shortcake Recipe  [3]


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1-1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream (divided)
  • shortcake1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Coarse sugar, option for topping


  1. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, orange peel and salt
  2. Cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs
  3. Whisk 1-1/2 cups cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla – add to flour mixture
  4. Stir until moistened
  5. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, gently knead 8-10 times
  6. Roll dough to 1 inch thickness, cut with 3 inch round biscuit cutter
  7. Place 2 inches apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet
  8. Brush tops with 1 tablespoon cream; sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired
  9. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until light, golden brown
  10. Cool on wire racks for 5 minutes

To serve, cut the shortcake in half horizontally, place bottom on plate, top with strawberry mixture, place top on and dollop with whipped cream.



  • shortbread1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Lightly buttered 9-inch spring form pan
  3. Whisk flour sugar in medium bowl to blend
  4. Add 1/2 cup butter and cut in until mixture is like coarse meal
  5. Gather the dough together and form a ball, then flatten into a disk
  6. On lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness
  7. Using fingers press dough evenly over bottom to edges of pan
  8. Using the tip of a small sharp knife, score dough into 8 equal triangles then pierce all over with a fork
  9. Bake until shortbread is cooked through and pale golden, about 45 minutes.
  10. Using tip of sharp knife, cut warm shortbread into triangles along scored lines
  11. Run knife around the edge to loosen it
  12. Cool in pan at least 30 minutes
  13. Release pan sides and using spatula carefully remove shortbread (will be fragile !!)

Note: Read a couple of the comments, all said it was good – one lady added a little vanilla to the mix.

On reflecting on the shortbread recipe, it is the same ingredients I use to make the streusel for my muffins . . . just lots more of it, no wonder I love shortbread!


Next time, posting 2 more recipes. One is a ‘Ribbon Torte’ and the other is a ‘Pencil’ Cake.


Enjoy !




[3]   Taste of Home, April 2012






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