The history of strawberry shortcake that you never knew

Are you a fan of strawberry shortcake? If you are based in Kuching, one of the places you can get a hand on a strawberry shortcake is at The Hash Cafe. Pair it with a cup of hot coffee or black tea and you have the perfect afternoon tea session.

However, did you know that the dessert we know as strawberry shortcake today (especially in Asian countries) is different from its original version?

Let us take a look into the history of strawberry shortcake

First of all, there are two types of shortcake. In the American version, a shortcake is a crumbly sweet cake or biscuit that has been leavened with baking powder or baking soda.

Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, the term shortcake mainly refers to a biscuit that is similar to shortbread.

A typical shortcake is made with flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, milk or cream and sometimes egg.

Of all the desserts made from shortcake, the most popular one is none other than strawberry shortcake.

It is made from layers of shortcakes with sugared strawberry slices and whipped cream in between.

The first strawberry shortcake recipe appeared in an English cookbook in 1588.

Back then, the dessert was made from biscuits (or scones) and strawberry served with butter and sweetened cream.

By the early 20th century, the topping was replaced with heavy whipped cream.

The Western version of strawberry shortcake using biscuits. Credit: Unsplash.

The Japanese version of strawberry shortcake

The strawberry shortcake that most Malaysians are familiar with is the Japanese version of the recipe.

And we all have to thank the founder of Fujiya Co. Ltd Rinemon Fujii for this.

Fujiya is a Japanese chain of confectionery stores and restaurants that was founded in 1910 in Yokohama.

In 1912, Fujii went to the US to learn to make Western desserts. During his stay, he was fascinated with a dessert made with butter sponge cake, sweetened fruit and whipped cream.

When he returned to Japan in 1922, Fujii came up with his own version of strawberries, whipped cream and sponge cake.

It was not until the cake appeared in TV commercials in 1958 that the dessert caught the attention of Japanese people.

The dessert is particularly famous during the Christmas season that some might refer it as Japanese Christmas cake.

Today, if you say ‘cake’, most Japanese would immediately think of this sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberry.

The Japanese version of strawberry shortcake. Credit: Pexels.

Read about other desserts on here:

Nuns or concubines: Who invented Italian pastry, cannoli?

Know the legends behind these 5 famous Chinese desserts

What you need to know about Basque burnt cheesecake

What you should know about French cake, madeleine

Patricia Hului

Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight.

She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science.

She is currently obsessed with silent vlogs during this Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to her obsession, she started her Youtube channel of slient vlogs.

Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at or Twitter at @patriciahului.

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