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Strawberry shortcake- sponge cake or biscuit?

barcelonabites Jun 7, 2010 09:08 AM

When you make strawberry shortcake, do you prefer making a sponge cake or a biscuit for the cake part? Do you have a fool-proof recipe for either one and if so could you share it?

  1. John E. Jun 11, 2010 06:57 PM

    I've been eating strawberry shortcake all my life (40+) and never realized that biscuits (scones) were the standard. We always used sponge cake, pound cake or angel food cake. I do remember my mother occasionally making the Bisquik Velvet Crumb Cake a few times for berries or peaches which is basically biscuits with a little extra sugar. We usually buy those little yellow sponge cakes next to the strawberries, but they're not really very good, almost Twinkie like.

    3 Replies
    1. re: John E.
      mtomto Jun 11, 2010 07:07 PM

      They are all good. Dont let anyone tell you otherwise.

      1. re: John E.
        kattyeyes Jun 11, 2010 07:33 PM

        You make a good point re biscuits/scones. My mom told me today she was comparing the biscuit recipe to her scone recipes and they are one and the same...except the biscuits called for melted butter. So now she's going to make scones the same way...not rolled out or with butter cut in--just blended.

        1. re: John E.
          Emme Jun 11, 2010 09:12 PM

          the yellow ones are elevated by the addition of a little milk before slicing the strawberries on top... honest 'injun.

        2. m
          mjane79 Jun 11, 2010 01:25 PM

          Biscuits! The Better Homes & Gardens cookbook is the recipe my mom used when I was growing up so that's always been the one I use. It's a sweet biscuit. I usually make individual ones then sprinkle sugar on top. Whipped cream is tasty but not required on the shortcakes. I just want lots of delicious strawberries and flaky cake.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mjane79
            Will Owen Jun 11, 2010 02:04 PM

            My mom used the Biscuits Supreme recipe from BH&G, though hers was an already-ancient looseleaf version (green cover, not the later red-checked one). Very rich and slightly sweet. In our family the practice was to use plain heavy cream, not whipped, and to eat it in bowls. I'm a total cream slut, so I'll happily have it either way.

            1. re: Will Owen
              kattyeyes Jun 11, 2010 06:14 PM

              HA HA HA re your last sentence--me, too. ;)

          2. chef chicklet Jun 8, 2010 10:14 PM

            I love pound cake with strawberries. For the sauce, I add Grand Marnier, suger, and vanilla. Then cook it till it stews down a bit, then also add more fresh berries, delicious pound cake and whipped cream....yum~

            1 Reply
            1. re: chef chicklet
              Emme Jun 9, 2010 06:24 PM

              if we're doing variations on a theme, try the strawberries macerated in reduced balsamic vinegar with black pepper and brown sugar...

            2. Emme Jun 8, 2010 09:26 PM

              i grew up with the round yellow cakes. and i still prefer them. call it nostalgia. i didn't like strawberries, but i'd choke them down because i thought i had to have them to have the *strawberry* shortcake... mom drizzled the cake with some milk before laying on strawberries which made them nice and moist and gooey... and then at the end i'd make the cake up together into a sort of soup with the whipped cream... looks disgusting, tastes... mmmmmm.

              1. w
                will47 Jun 8, 2010 11:11 AM

                I much prefer the biscuit style. The one I used growing up was always the Fannie Farmer version. I believe it's a little sweeter and lighter than a normal biscuit, but still far from sponge cake.

                1. visciole Jun 8, 2010 08:29 AM

                  Definitely made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuits still warm from the oven!

                  1. Sooeygun Jun 7, 2010 04:43 PM

                    Definitely biscuit type base. I like my strawberries nice and juicy, so sponge or angel cake gets too soggy. I make my shortcakes two level. Two thinner biscuits stacked before baking (top one smaller than the bottom) with butter brushed between the layers. Mmmmm, can't wait.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Sooeygun
                      Will Owen Jun 7, 2010 05:00 PM

                      That is a nice way to do it. I've just gotten into the habit of cutting biscuits out with a coffee can opened at both ends. That cuts a 4" biscuit. If I do the biscuit right, I can split it without using a knife, and I get a nice rough surface that holds the berries pretty well and soaks up the juice and cream just right for my taste. We have these cool Dansk salad dishes that are basically wide-rimmed shallow bowls, about 6" inside diameter, just perfect for serving these things.

                      By the way, if you do non-sweet biscuits like this, it's a great way to serve creamed chicken, chipped beef or eggs.

                      1. re: Will Owen
                        kattyeyes Jun 7, 2010 05:14 PM

                        Keep talkin', brother...or how Veggo taught me--chipped beef and eggs TOGETHER. We always had either/or growing up, but both together are a winning combo.

                        1. re: kattyeyes
                          Will Owen Jun 8, 2010 04:31 PM

                          We be of one blood, thou and I...!

                          We used to have just one or the other, until for some reason - maybe we didn't have enough of either to go around - Mom combined them. Loud cheers ensued, and that's how we had them after that. Always on toasted white bread, though. I had to wait for biscuits until I got to making my own.

                        2. re: Will Owen
                          Sooeygun Jun 8, 2010 05:33 AM

                          I use the same recipe without the sugar for biscuit topping for chicken or fish pie. Sometimes add some chopped chives or chopped herbs.

                          1. re: Sooeygun
                            Will Owen Jun 8, 2010 04:35 PM

                            Biscuit topping is so good on so much, though chicken pie is the standard where I come from. It's a great way to dress up leftover stew of almost any kind, and is usually an improvement over the first iteration.

                      2. chefj Jun 7, 2010 04:12 PM

                        It is not Shortcake unless you use shortcake! ( - ;

                        1. Will Owen Jun 7, 2010 02:38 PM

                          Sponge cake or angel-food cake are NOT short! The term means that the cake is made from flour, leavening and fat, with just enough liquid to make a dough. Calling a sponge cake "shortcake" is like calling a beagle a kitten.

                          My personal preference is for proper biscuit shortcake rather than sponge or pound cake, and I loathe angel-food, but even if I loved the spongy stuff I'd try to avoid calling it by a name it doesn't deserve.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Will Owen
                            kattyeyes Jun 7, 2010 02:43 PM

                            <<Calling a sponge cake "shortcake" is like calling a beagle a kitten.>>

                            I love ya, Will. You crack me up. :)

                            1. re: kattyeyes
                              Will Owen Jun 7, 2010 02:52 PM

                              As long as I've been able to read, I remember going into our local Kroger store in the summertime and seeing those packages of sponge cake "coasters", all labelled "shortcakes", and being astonished that grownups could be so ignorant. Whatever adult I was with would say something about how some people don't know any better but it's rude to say so...

                            2. re: Will Owen
                              the_MU Jun 8, 2010 08:27 AM

                              Hear, hear! Biscuits should be moistened with copious whipped cream and ladlefuls of juice from the sugared strawberries. Anything else should be called something else.

                              Sponge cake. Like calling filtered apple juice "cider."

                              1. re: Will Owen
                                pcdarnell Jun 8, 2010 10:59 AM

                                I was reading this thread wondering why nobody had defined SHORT, so please accept my gratitude for pointing this out. Shortbread, short cake, shortening, to me means not sweet, but I never really thought about it.the way you mentioned. Makes sense.

                                Strawberries are so sweet, the short cake is the perfect foil. Angel food cake would be just cloyingly sweet, not to mention that nasty wet sponge texture.

                              2. j
                                janniecooks Jun 7, 2010 02:17 PM

                                They're both good! Since they're just a delivery system for sweet berries and copious amounts of whipped cream, it doesn't really matter!

                                1. roxlet Jun 7, 2010 10:24 AM

                                  I'm definitely in the biscuit camp. IMO, ponge cake is not substantial enough to hold up to the strawberry juice and whipped cream.

                                  1. c
                                    CocoaNut Jun 7, 2010 10:14 AM

                                    Biscuits! but with a bit of sugar included in the dough. Actually, shape-wise, my grandmother would press out sweetened biscuit dough into 2 rounds about 7-in across to make a layered strawberry short "cake".

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: CocoaNut
                                      alanbarnes Jun 7, 2010 10:20 AM

                                      I just discovered that trick this spring! Instead of rolling out the dough and cutting individual biscuits, just make one giant biscuit (I cut mine in half instead of making two). So much easier, and every bit as tasty!

                                      1. re: alanbarnes
                                        CocoaNut Jun 7, 2010 12:23 PM

                                        That would work to, but pressing dough out isn't that difficult and cutting would lead to a very porous side for the juice to soak into.... unless you did cut side down.

                                        Which made me remember that when my grandmother's cakes were done, she would pierce the tops quite liberally to allow for some juice to seep into the cakes, but there would also be enough juice to "puddle" around the outer edge. The cut and macerated strawberries would set beautifully between layers and on top.

                                    2. t
                                      tall sarah Jun 7, 2010 10:03 AM

                                      I prefer pound cake as it doesn't dry out as much as the biscuits do when they have cooled. Plus, I can make a pound cake a few days ahead & the flavor & texture improve. Biscuits a few days ahead.... yeah, hockey pucks.

                                      1. alanbarnes Jun 7, 2010 09:56 AM

                                        Macerated strawberries are delicious over just about everything. I love pound cake with strawberries, angel food cake with strawberries, heck, if the strawberries are good enough just spoon 'em over Wonder Bread. But by definition, strawberry shortcake has to be made with - drumroll, please - shortcake. Which is a biscuit.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: alanbarnes
                                          chowser Jun 7, 2010 10:25 AM

                                          Yeah, because you can put strawberries over almost any baked sweet but that doesn't make it a strawberry shortcake. My favorite is rum macerated strawberries over tres leches cake but I've never called it strawberry shortcake.

                                          1. re: chowser
                                            ipsedixit Jun 7, 2010 11:27 AM

                                            So true, so true.

                                            Biscuits, pound cake, sponge cake, angel food cake ... heck, I even like them using plain donuts.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                              alanbarnes Jun 7, 2010 02:39 PM

                                              As a great man once said, http://www.entertonement.com/clips/zj...

                                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                                ipsedixit Jun 7, 2010 02:42 PM

                                                Homer will never do you wrong.

                                                And, rarely will a donut, either.

                                                The plain donut never gets the respect it deserves. The Rodney Dangerfield of food items.

                                              2. re: ipsedixit
                                                chowser Jun 8, 2010 05:51 AM

                                                Hmm, donuts. I'll bet that would be good w/ blueberries, too--the tart and sweet...as much as I hate the idea of adding anything healthy to my donut.;-)

                                                1. re: chowser
                                                  ipsedixit Jun 8, 2010 08:58 AM

                                                  Well, I eat ice cream with my donuts all time. So, if you want to avoid the "health" thing, there you go!

                                                  Sometimes, I'll even use a churro instead of bananas to make a faux banana (churro) split.

                                            2. re: alanbarnes
                                              annl Jun 8, 2010 10:04 AM

                                              Agreed- strawberries over pound cake, angle food cake, sponge cake, even frozen waffles are all lovely deseerts but when I want shortcake I want shortcake! And if I ever need a change in my shortcake - adding crytalized ginger to the biscuits is a nice change. And I have been going back to mother's 19050's Betty Crocker cookbook for the shortcake recipe. I'll have to look at the CI recipe from kattyeyes

                                            3. MikeB3542 Jun 7, 2010 09:25 AM

                                              So many delish ways to do this, you hate to say one way is right and the rest wrong. Sponge cake, pound cake, angel food, biscuit, shortbread, puff pastry. They're all good -- choose the texture that suits you.

                                              1. todao Jun 7, 2010 09:24 AM

                                                Personal preference is either sponge cake or angel food cake. I've never found a biscuit with a texture that I enjoyed as part of a strawberry shortcake experience. I know of some who drizzle their biscuits with sweetened cream to soften the dry mouth shock that can sometimes be associated with introducing the biscuit variety of this dish to the taste buds but that just makes a soggy dessert - ugh

                                                1. d
                                                  delong99 Jun 7, 2010 09:20 AM

                                                  Cream biscuits. I've used this recipe - it's really quick and delicious.


                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: delong99
                                                    dfrostnh Jun 7, 2010 09:25 AM

                                                    Biscuits and sometimes I just use Bisquick and follow the recipe on the box. My husband grew up with biscuits.

                                                    1. re: dfrostnh
                                                      Rizza Jun 8, 2010 09:59 PM

                                                      This is the one thing I keep Bisquick on hand for (and I cringe every time I use it...hydrogenated oil!). Although I will grow my own strawberries, and seek out raw cream at the Farmer's market, I just can't get away from Bisquick being my favorite base for strawberry shortcake. There...I said it.

                                                      1. re: Rizza
                                                        visciole Jun 9, 2010 06:45 AM

                                                        Do a side-by-side with from-scratch buttermilk biscuits and you'll never go back!

                                                        1. re: Rizza
                                                          kattyeyes Jun 9, 2010 11:23 AM

                                                          If you grow your own strawbs and seek out raw cream at the farmers' market, you really owe it to yourself to try the CI recipe I posted above. I'd be stunned if you were disappointed.

                                                    2. bushwickgirl Jun 7, 2010 09:16 AM

                                                      The choice for shortcake base is really personal, even angel food cake is an option, but the biscuit, either buttermilk or cream, is the standard.

                                                      I think the Cook's Illustrated recipe is great, but I don't have it. Hopefully other posters will and provide it for you, or post their favorite biscuit recipes.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: bushwickgirl
                                                        kattyeyes Jun 7, 2010 09:24 AM

                                                        SHORTCAKE ALL THE WAY! I recently made the Cook's Illustrated recipe for the first time and LOVED it. I grew up on Bisquick...my mom still used it, too, till she tried these and now we are both CI converts. It's funny you should ask--I just did this last week. CI recipe and photos here. They're drop biscuits, so it doesn't get more foolproof than that in my book!


                                                        P.S. When my mom made these, she thought the dough needed another tablespoon or so of flour...I was very happy with the way mine came out (you can see just how moist and delicate they are), but I'll throw this out there in case you want to modify when you make. Happy baking!

                                                        1. re: kattyeyes
                                                          bushwickgirl Jun 7, 2010 09:26 AM

                                                          Ha, I should have wrote, "poster kattyeyes has the CI recipe and will provide it for you" (and me.) I forgot I could get the recipe at your blog. Thanks, knew you'd come through!

                                                          1. re: kattyeyes
                                                            greygarious Jun 11, 2010 12:33 PM

                                                            Cook's Country's berry shortcake recipe, also a drop biscuit, uses brown sugar and sour cream because the CI drop biscuit recipe is not specifically for dessert purposes. The addition of brown sugar to the macerating berries and in the whipped heavy/sour cream blend for the topping really takes it over the top.

                                                            1. re: greygarious
                                                              kattyeyes Jun 11, 2010 06:14 PM

                                                              Hey, grey, do you have the specifics on that recipe or can you direct me? I googled and didn't find...I'm curious to learn more about heavy/sour cream blend as topping. Yum!

                                                              1. re: kattyeyes
                                                                greygarious Jun 11, 2010 08:37 PM

                                                                BROWN-SUGAR BERRY SHORTCAKES (June/July 2006 Cook's Country)
                                                                FRUIT: Mash 2 cups of berries. Mix with 4 cups whole or sliced berries and 4-6 T packed light brown sugar to taste. Reserve.
                                                                2c AP flour
                                                                3T packed ligth brown sugar
                                                                1T baking powder
                                                                1/2 t salt
                                                                1 stick chilled unsalted butter, in half-inch pieces plus 2T more, melted, reserved for brushing on shortcakes.
                                                                1 large egg
                                                                1/2 c sour cream
                                                                2 T granulated sugar
                                                                Preheat oven to 375, line baking sheet with parchment. Pulse first 4 ingredients in processor till no lumps remain. Scatter butter pieces, pulse until mixture looks like coarse sand. Move to bowl.
                                                                Whisk egg and sour cream, stir into flour until large clumps form. Knead lightly until no dry flour remains and dough comes together. Using large ice cream scoop or cup, scoop 6 rounds onto parchment. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with white sugar. Bake 25-30 min, let cool on baking sheet 10 min. When serving, split in half with serrated knife.
                                                                Beat together 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 c sour cream, and 1/4 c packed light brown sugar until stiff peaks form.

                                                                Spoon fruit over bottom halves of shortcakes, dollop on the topping, and top with the upper halves of the shortcakes.

                                                                1. re: greygarious
                                                                  kattyeyes Jun 11, 2010 09:00 PM

                                                                  Sounds lovely--thank you very kindly, greygarious! :)

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