Shortcake generally refers to a sweet cake or crumbly biscuit in the American sense. Shortcakes, particularly layered with strawberries and whipped cream, are now found world-wide, but generally considered to be North American in origin. Variations between sweet biscuits and something more like a sponge cake may reflect regional preferences.
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.
Though strawberry is the most widely known shortcake dessert, peach shortcake, blueberry shortcake, chocolate shortcake and other similar desserts are made along similar lines. In some recipes the shortcake itself is flavored; coconut is one addition.
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