In honour of Canada Day, the summer 2010 issue of homemakers includes recipes from every province and territory. The recipe from Ontario is a strawberry shortcake with a twist – the cake is moist and redolent of pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. I decided it was the perfect dessert for our friend Allan’s birthday dinner. Special thanks to Allan and Eileen for taking this wonderful photo!

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, be sure to use butter that does not contain colour and vanilla that is a pure extract, not artificial.

Spiced Strawberry Shortcake


1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

5 eggs

1/3 cup sour cream or buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp black pepper

¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp each ground ginger and cinnamon

¼ tsp each baking soda, ground cloves, nutmeg and salt

4 cups hulled and sliced strawberries

2 ¼ cups unsweetened whipped cream


Line 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. In large bowl, beat butter with sugars until light and fluffy; one at a time, beat in eggs until light and creamy. Stir in sour cream (or buttermilk) and vanilla; batter will look curdled.

In separate bowl, whisk together flour, pepper, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves, nutmeg and salt; blend into batter.

Scrape into prepared pan, smoothing top; bake in centre of 300-degree F oven until skewer inserted in cake comes out clean, about 90 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Carefully lift cake from pan, remove parchment paper and transfer to rack; let cool completely. Can be wrapped in plastic and stored at cool room temperature for up to two days.

Slice cake. Spoon strawberries over cake slices and top with whipped cream. Makes 12 servings.

From the summer 2010 issue of homemakers