Cream Shortcakes

This is what happens when I come home with leftover whipping cream in a can… I need to come up with a use for it to prevent myself from spraying it all directly into my mouth. Also: I have a container of the most brilliant raspberry-rhubarb compote in the fridge, which I love to eat cold with yogurt and granola, but lets face it – a crunchy-edged biscuit and whipped cream makes even better use of it. If dessert was a sandwich, this might be it.

Somehow, someone somewhere decided that shortcakes were the ultimate vehicle for strawberries… so much so that someone else invented those little yellow sweet sponges to sell alongside the berries in grocery stores during the summer. And yes, strawberry shortcake is a good thing… such a good thing that they named a cartoon character after it. But honestly, any juicy seasonal fruit does just as well – you need it to be juicy so that the shortcakes can absorb some of those juices, so cold stewed plums or thickly sliced peaches tossed in sugar are great contestants. But my personal favourite is raspberries + rhubarb – since I have no berries growing in my back yard, I use a bag of the frozen ones, which is perfectly fine – especially for cooking. You wind up with this sweet-tart intense red compote that’s just saucy enough for things like shortcakes and Eton mess – but that’s another story.

Raspberry-rhubarb shortcakes

So here’s the thing about shortcakes – they’re very similar to scones, a little sweeter and finer crumbed (not as flaky) as a biscuit, with a cakier texture. I love to make them with just heavy cream, which you have to pick up to whip and spoon over the fruit anyway (a 500 mL container should be just the right amount), so there’s no point in bothering with the cutting in of any butter. These are simple and perfect, which is what I’m after when I don’t want dessert to be a big production. You can make them big or tiny, or even bake one giant shortcake to split, fill with fruit and cream and cut into wedges, if you’re after something more dramatic. (A shower of icing sugar + sparklers would be fab if you want to turn this into a birthday cake.)

I make these sweeter and a bit softer than my cream biscuits, and the slightly wetter, stickier dough makes for a more tender, softer cake. I’m not after thickness here, but a sweet-crunchy clamshell to capture all that fruit, that will soften just enough once it gets saturated with those juices. Yum.

Raspberry-rhubarb shortcakes
Raspberry-rhubarb shortcakes

Cream Shortcakes


June 17, 2019



1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup + 2 Tbsp whipping cream

coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Fruit + cream:

chopped rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, peaches or other juicy fruit

sugar, to taste

whipping cream

a few drops of vanilla (optional)


1Preheat the oven to 375F.

2In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the whipping cream and stir just until the dough comes together. Pat out on a lightly floured surface - a bit of flour will make it easier to handle, but don't work it into the dough - and cut into wedges or rounds, then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dab the tops with a bit more cream (there should be just enough in the bottom of the measuring cup) and sprinkle with regular or coarse sugar, if you like. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

3Meanwhile, thickly slice (if you need to) and toss your fruit or berries with sugar and let it sit to draw out some juices, or simmer them (in the case of rhubarb for sure) until soft with sugar to taste - I realize this can be tricky, but you can always add more sugar if it's too tart. You shouldn't need to add any liquid - just start the heat lower as the fruit softens and releases its juices. Whip the cream - as much as you like - with a spoonful of sugar and a bit of vanilla, if you like, and serve the fruit on the split shortcakes, topped with cream. Serves 6.


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6 comments on “Cream Shortcakes

  1. Alicen
    June 19, 2019 at 10:29 am

    Looks delish! I had never thought of a raspberry rhubarb combination before! Yum 🙂

    • Julie
      June 23, 2019 at 12:05 pm

      It’s the best combo!

  2. Brenda O'Neill
    June 23, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    just tried making these and something was off. I had to add a whole bunch of flour before the cake would come together. Are the ratios of flour to cream off maybe?

    • Julie
      June 24, 2019 at 7:39 am

      Hmm.. interesting! they shouldn’t be – 1 1/2 cups flour to 1 cup whipping cream makes a stiff biscuit-like dough, and the additional cream makes for softer, cakier shortcakes. Did you use heavy cream? All-purpose flour? Perhaps slightly less cream next time? Adding a bit more flour is fine too!

  3. Ian
    June 30, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Hi Julie ,very nice recipe ! Shouts summer. I have a unique twist on this classic dessert you may be interested in trying. Prep your shortcakes and berries as usual. Instead of fresh whipped cream for topping I prepare a hot sauce. 2 cups heavy cream, quarter cup of white sugar and a quarter cup of butter. Put in a saucepan and simmer on low heat for approx 30 minutes. Spoon (or ladle, lol) sauce over shortcakes and berries. I know this seems odd but trust me it’s delish!!!

    • Julie
      June 30, 2019 at 11:04 am

      Whoah, that sounds delicious!!

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