My grandmother Lucy was a good cook. Not in a fussy sauces and exotic ingredients kind of way, but in a simple old-fashioned way. She knew how to get the most out of what she had, as did most cooks of that era. She used to whip together this soft, delicious shortcake out of a few staple ingredients and top it with whatever fruit was fresh and local. My mom made this shortcake all the time when my sisters and I were growing up. If there was any leftover, the next morning we would slice it, butter it, and put it under the broiler to toast it for the most awesome breakfast treat.
What you consider to be shortcake depends on your family cooking heritage. Some people were raised on strawberry shortcake made from drop or rolled biscuits. I hate to tell you that you have been horribly deceived! Shortcake made from biscuit dough is not shortcake. It is biscuits. Shortcake made from sponge cake or angel food cake is not shortcake either. Shortcake is a tender-crumbed cake made with shortening.
This is shortcake.
Adapting this recipe to gluten-free took some experimenting. I found that it needed a little something to counter the tastes of the gluten-free flours, so I added vanilla and cardamom, which adds a nice new dimension. Serve it topped with your favorite sauce made from fresh fruit. Strawberries are classic. My favorite is with rhubarb compote, as pictured above.
Cardamom Shortcake (GF/CF)
adapted from my grandmother Lucy's 1930s recipe
1/3 cup shortening (Spectrum Organic)
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice*
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup millet flour
3/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp xanthan gum
2/3 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage, room temperature
Preheat oven to 375º. Grease an 8x8 baking pan.
1. Cream together the shortening and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. (It is very important to cream this by hand. Don't use a mixer. The tender crumb depends on it!). Stir in the egg and vanilla until smoothly combined.
2. Combine the dry ingredients, whisk, then sift into a bowl.
3. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the shortening mixture alternately with the milk, stirring until smooth. Spread the stiff batter into the prepared 8x8 baking pan.
4. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Let it cool, then cut into squares, slice in half, and fill with sweetened soft fruit. If desired, top with soy whipped cream.
*A tip about organic sugar: Have you noticed that organic evaporated cane juice is a larger granule than traditional white granulated sugar? Have you also noticed that it sometimes makes baked goods grainy because it doesn't dissolve all the way? Here's how to get a smaller granule. Pour it into your heavy-duty blender and process for a few seconds. (7 seconds with the dry blade of a Vitamix on variable I, speed 7). Be careful not to process too long or it will become powdered sugar.