Citrus Shortcake

Citrus Shortcake

Citrus Shortcake is a vibrant winter dessert, bright with big flavor and a glamorous presentation. A rainbow of colorful citrus is layered between buttermilk shortcake and finished with lush whipped cream.


“Adam sat looking at the mountains to the east of Salinas, with the noble point of Fremont’s Peak dominating. The air was crystalline as it sometimes is when rain is coming. And then the light rain began to blow on the wind although the sky was not properly covered with clouds.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck


The path from winter to spring can seem to last forever. We’re got our boots and jackets, the heat is on. Crock pots are simmering, Instant Pots are steaming. The first berries are months away and we’re dreaming of spring desserts. Take the bridge between winter and spring with Citrus Shortcake. We can have shortcake in winter too! Its peak citrus season, a perfect time to enjoy Citrus Shortcake.

Citrus and Mint


For a glamorous Citrus Shortcake choose oranges with a variety of colors, naval oranges for orange, Cara Cara oranges for pink and blood oranges for red. To brighten the orange flavor add a splash of sweet grapefruit and lime juice. Meyer lemon juice would be another excellent choice. Flecks of fresh mint add sparkle to this luxurious winter treat. This shortcake is not too sweet, only a minimum of sugar is added to the shortcake and whipped cream, leaving plenty of room for the citrus flavors to shine.

Citrus desserts are usually all about the zest and juice. With Citrus Shortcake all of the fruit can be used. If your focused on less food waste this year, make citrus salt too. Zest all the citrus before peeling, slicing and juicing and then make this easy recipe.

Making Buttermilk Shortcake

Shortcake Ready to Bake

Citrus and Mint
6 oranges: naval, Cara Cara, blood
1/2 sweet grapefruit
1/2 lime
3 sprigs fresh mint
Buttermilk Shortcake
2C/240 gr all-purpose flour
3T sugar
1T baking powder
1t baking soda
3/4t fine grain sea salt
1T orange zest
1/2C cold, unsalted butter
3/4C buttermilk, more for the tops of the shortcakes
1T demerara or regular sugar
Whipping Cream
1C whipping cream
1T sugar
1t vanilla extract
  1. Zest one of the oranges, reserve for making the shortcakes. Cut the rind and white pith from the oranges. Slice the citrus and place in a bowl. Toss with grapefruit and lime juice. Mince several leaves of mint and add to the bowl . Reserve a sprig of mint to garnish the finished shortcakes.
  2. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Heat the oven to 425°.
  3. In a medium sized bowl sift or shake through a sieve the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the orange zest to the bowl. Cut the cold butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter work the butter and zest into the flour. Combine until the butter is coated with flour and resembles very large crumbs.
  4. Add the buttermilk to the bowl with the flour mixture. Gently mix to combine, just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix. If the mixture remains dry in places and does not come together, add more buttermilk, a tablespoon at a time. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and gather the dough together in a ball. Give the dough a few gentle kneads to form a cohesive ball and then pat into flattened circle. With a flour dusted rolling pin or your hands gently flatten the dough into a circle that is 1” high. To make seven shortcakes use a floured 3” in diameter pastry cutter. Cut out the biscuits by pressing straight down, without twisting the cutter. Place them on the parchment covered sheet pan two inches apart. Gently reform the scraps the scraps to make more biscuits.
  5. Brush the tops of shortcakes with buttermilk and then sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the biscuits are fluffy and golden brown on the edges. Remove from the sheet pan to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whipping attachment add the cream. Begin to whip the cream on low speed, gradually increasing speed as the cream thickens. When the cream is the consistency of thick yogurt gradually add the tablespoon of sugar while the mixer is rotating. Then add the vanilla. Once the sugar and vanilla are incorporated, stop the mixer and check to see if the cream is ready. For shortcakes the cream should form soft cloud like pillows that will drape across the shortcakes and flow down the sides onto the plate. If stiffer whipped cream is desired, continue beating the cream for another minute and check it again.
  7. To serve the shortcakes cut them in half. Place the bottom half on the serving plate and place 2-3 layers of citrus slices on top of the shortcake. From the bottom of the bowl, spoon some of the citrus juice on top of the fruit. Place a generous scoop of whipped cream on top of the citrus topped shortcake. Then place the top of the shortcake on top of the cream, garnish with mint leaves.

Citrus Shortcake

14 Replies to “Citrus Shortcake”

  1. Beautiful photos ! So happy whenever I find a recipe that is not overpowered with sugar and is full of vitamins and fresh colours ! Thank you for easy crossing 🙂

  2. Deb, your shortcakes look so delicious. I love what you create with citrus . My husband loves short cakes, his grandmother used to make them for him.

  3. Citrus is one of my favorite things about this time of year. I love every type and variety. The taste and how pretty all of them are — and your shortcake highlights both of those things. Love it!

  4. Deb, just brilliant! Brilliant as an idea and brilliant in color. Love the opening photo!

    Marmalade on a biscuit came to mind when I saw the photos. And I looovve marmalade on my biscuits.

  5. Love to see a variation of the classic strawberry shortcake. The variety of oranges is simply color stunning. And i am sure it tastes more interesting than the classic recipe.

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