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The History of Strawberry Shortcake

Today is National Strawberry Shortcake Day, so we are taking a look at the history behind this beloved dessert. Shortcake first appeared in a European recipe book in 1594, and the treat was later featured in Shakespeare’s play, “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” Technically, shortcake is a rich biscuit, and the original recipe called for this. However, today’s American strawberry shortcake recipes often use sponge-cake instead. (Earlier American recipes used pie crust in rounds or broken-up pieces instead of the European-style shortcake biscuits.) What about the topping? Originally, strawberry shortcake involved splitting biscuits, filling them with mashed, sweetened strawberries, and then topping the dessert with sugared frosting. But in 1910, French pastry chefs replaced the sugared frosting with heavy whipped cream, creating the modern version of this dessert. In America, strawberry shortcake parties were often thrown to celebrate the summer fruit harvest, especially in the South. Today, strawberry shortcake remains a popular dessert that is often served at summer get-togethers.

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