Superior Shortcake

Apr 26, 2024

The only shortcake recipe you will need.

I find that a good shortcake works well with a tart fruit such as a green cooking apples, feijoas, or gooseberries. 

In my second book ‘Winter Warmers’ there’s a lovely chocolate spiced variation that you must try too.

But let’s be honest it won’t matter which fruit you decide to use, dust with icing sugar, serve it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh cream and no one will be disappointed (and if they are – put them on dishes).

You will need;
Baking powder
2-3 apples or stewed apples (canned will work too)

This recipe will fit inside a brownie tin (28cm x18cm)

What is a shortcake?

Shortcake originated in England, where it was traditionally made with a sweetened biscuit or scone-like base, topped with fresh fruit such as strawberries and whipped cream. The concept of shortcake dates back to the 16th century, and it has been a popular dessert in England for centuries.

The term “short” in shortcake refers to the crumbly texture of the biscuit or cake-like base, which is achieved by using a higher ratio of fat (such as butter or lard) to flour, resulting in a tender and delicate texture. Over time, variations of shortcake have been developed around the world, with different fruits and toppings being used depending on regional preferences and ingredient availability.

In the United States, strawberry shortcake became particularly popular in the 19th century, especially during the summer months when strawberries were in season. American variations of shortcake often feature a sweetened biscuit or sponge cake base, layered with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

Why do tart fruits like green apples, feijoas and gooseberries work so well in sweet puddings?

Tart fruits, such as berries, apples, rhubarb, and citrus fruits, work well in sweet pastries for several reasons:

  1. Balancing Flavors: The tartness of these fruits adds a pleasant contrast to the sweetness of the pastry, creating a well-balanced flavor profile. This balance prevents the pastry from being overly sweet and adds complexity to the overall taste experience.

  2. Enhanced Depth of Flavor: The tartness of the fruits adds depth and dimension to the flavor of the pastry, making it more interesting and satisfying to eat. This depth of flavor can elevate the overall taste experience and make the pastry more enjoyable.

  3. Texture Contrast: Tart fruits often have a firmer texture compared to sweeter fruits, providing a pleasing contrast in texture when combined with the soft and flaky pastry. This contrast adds interest to the eating experience and makes the pastry more satisfying to bite into.

I love vanilla ice cream.  It is the perfect pairing for this if you serve it as a desert.  It is rich and creamy, super versatile and a regular comfort food.  Here’s a little more about why vanilla ice cream is the perfect ice cream.

  1. Rich Flavor: Vanilla ice cream has a rich, creamy flavor derived from the vanilla bean. Vanilla beans contain hundreds of flavor compounds, including vanillin, which gives vanilla its distinctive taste. This complex flavor profile adds depth and sophistication to vanilla ice cream.

  2. Creaminess: The creaminess of vanilla ice cream comes from the dairy used in its production, typically milk and cream. The high fat content in cream contributes to the smooth, luxurious texture of the ice cream, making it feel indulgent and satisfying to eat.

  3. Versatility: Vanilla ice cream is incredibly versatile and pairs well with a wide range of desserts, fruits, and toppings. Its neutral flavor profile serves as a perfect base for other flavors and allows it to complement a variety of sweet treats, from pies and cakes to fresh fruit and chocolate sauce.

  4. Comforting and Familiar: Vanilla is a classic flavor that is universally loved and associated with comfort and nostalgia. Many people have fond memories of enjoying vanilla ice cream as a treat during childhood or special occasions, which enhances its appeal.

  5. Balanced Sweetness: Vanilla ice cream strikes a perfect balance between sweetness and richness. It is sweet enough to satisfy a dessert craving without being overwhelmingly sugary, allowing the natural flavor of the vanilla to shine through.

  6. Texture: Vanilla ice cream typically has a smooth and creamy texture with a slight firmness that melts in the mouth. This texture is achieved through the careful balance of ingredients and the churning process during production, resulting in a satisfying mouthfeel.

Sometimes the perfect apples for shortcake are those that have a little blemish.  There’s an old wives tale that sales those that are damaged or bruised are sweeter.  Services like Twisted Citrus in New Zealand offer fruit deliveries to your door of fruit that is not seen as ‘perfect’ for a good price.  Perfect for cooking with.

This shortcake was taken out to a back country high country hut during our Autumn Muster.  I even put fresh cream in the susies bag for the team.  These wee bags are used daily on farm.  So rugged and strong.  We have two bags that I use regularly that are thirty years old!



Use apple, feijoas or gooseberries to create this delicious slice.


  • 170 grams of softened butter
  • 170 grams of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of flour (300 grams)
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 2 cups of stewed apples (feijoas or gooseberries)


  • Line a 27cm x 17.5cm tin (a common brownie tin)
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  • Cream the softened butter and sugar until its light in colour. (Walk away and complete another task while you cream the mixture. I always find when I forget about the cake mixer - the shortcake is at it’s lightest in texture)
  • Add the eggs one at a time making sure it is well combined after each addition.
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold it through the creamed mixture.
  • Spread half the mixture into your lined dish pat down into an even layer.
  • Spread on your prepared fruit.
  • Crumble the remaining mixture over the top of the fruit, remembering to go into the corners.
  • Cook 25 - 30 minutes.
  • Dust with icing sugar to serve.
  • It is delicious warm with vanilla ice cream or cream, or eaten cold as a slice.