Citrus Shortcake

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citrus shortcake recipe
Photo: Nico Schinco/Styling: Erin McDowell

The key to our heart is a flaky, buttery biscuit. So it’s no surprise that we have a soft spot for shortcake, aka dessert biscuits. Thanks to recipe developer Erin McDowell’s citrus shortcake—which is basically a giant dessert biscuit—we can get our fix even in the dead of winter.

“This is a single-layer cake that takes on a biscuity shortcake texture,” McDowell tells us. “Instead of strawberries, which are in season in the spring and summer, I use winter’s best seasonal fruit: citrus.”

“You can use just one—mandarins are delicious—or you can use a mixture for nice color,” she continues. “It’s best to keep the citrus separate from the cream until the very last minute, and since the biscuit is so thick, I recommend serving extra whipped cream on the side for plenty of shortcake-y goodness.”

We’ll have a second slice, please. You know, for the vitamin C.



3½ cups (420g) all-purpose flour

½ cup (106g) light brown sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

3 sticks (339g) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 cup (230g) cold buttermilk

1 large (56g) egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Heavy cream, as needed for finishing

Turbinado sugar, as needed for finishing


2 cups (470g) cold heavy cream

¾ cup (85g) confectioners’ sugar

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6 to 8 pieces mixed citrus (such as oranges, blood oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, tangerines, etc.), segmented


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick spray.

2. Make the Shortcake: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to combine. Add the butter and pulse until only pea-size pieces remain. (You can also do this by hand, but it will take longer.) Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and vanilla to combine. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and mix to combine. The mixture should be uniform with no dry patches. Use your hands to make sure it’s combined, but don’t overmix.

4. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and press it into an even layer (you can lightly moisten your hands if it’s sticking). Brush the surface with heavy cream, then sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake the shortcake until golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

5. Make the Topping: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream on medium speed to soft peaks, about 5 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and whip to medium peaks, about 2 minutes more.

6. Transfer the shortcake to a serving platter. To serve, spoon about half the whipped cream on top of the cake and spread it into an even layer. Spoon the citrus segments on top. Serve immediately, with more whipped cream on the side.

Nutrition Facts
  • 574 calories

  • 40g fat

  • 49g carbs

  • 6g protein

  • 21g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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erin jeanne mcdowell

Freelance Food Editor

Erin Jeanne McDowell is a recipe developer, food stylist and author of multiple cookbooks, including The Fearless Baker, which was named one of the Best Baking Books of 2017 by...