Strawberry Shortcake – Official Dessert of Summer

Strawberry Shortcake the Official Dessert of Summer - Doodlewash and watercolor of strawberries and cream on a plate

This dish is famed for being one of the most popular summer desserts here in the States, but I just couldn’t wait that long. It’s a sunny, beautiful day here and it made me think of that classic dessert known as strawberry shortcake. I say classic, because although nobody seems to know when the first one was made, this delicious combination dates back to around 1850 in the United States. Around this time, it quickly became popular to have strawberry shortcake parties to celebrate the coming of summer. Later, this strawberry fever would lead to a wonderful line from Harpers Magazine in 1893, “They give you good eating, strawberries and short-cake- Ohh My!” Yep. That about sums it up.

When I was a kid, the strawberry shortcakes didn’t look like the one I’ve shown here. No, the ones I remember were made with Bisquick™ biscuits, strawberries, and Cool Whip™, which only contains one ingredient that Philippe would ever allow me to eat today. Mostly because this fast food American version is loaded with enough trans fats and high fructose corn syrup to kill laboratory mice on contact. But no child ever worries about these worrisome risks, or even adults at the time. We just knew that you could have a glorious dessert in under 15 minutes. No need to wait for the Cool Whip to thaw completely, because then it was like getting a little ice cream as well!

Looking back, it’s atrocious to think about taking something as wonderful as a strawberry and subjecting it to so many artificial chemicals at once, but the memories still make me smile. Mostly because I remember this dish at large family picnics where cousins, aunts, and uncles were all gathered together, laughing and joking. And we don’t have those picnics anymore. Cousins grew up and moved away and even my parents moved to a different state. Yeah, they left home when I was 18, but that’s another story entirely. But that’s what I love about food. It has a way of preserving memories like nothing else can. And though times just keep changing, I’ll never forgot those lazy summer days, surrounded by family, with my little plate of strawberry shortcake.

You’re all invited to a Doodlewash Dinner Party during the month of May! Just tag your food or drink image #doodlewashdinner and I’ll feature you and your culinary creations in a delicious Doodlewash Gallery at the end of the month! 


About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Pyrrol Red, Gamboge, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pens with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you'd like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
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66 Comments
  1. Sabiscuit 1 year ago

    Too awesome as always, Charlie. I can do this, though. I can resist the urge to indulge in strawberry and cream on rare cheesecake. I have the power.

    • Author

      Glad you have the power…that description sounds delicious!! I want that now!!! 😊😊 Hehe… Thanks so much Sabiscuit!! 💕😃

  2. Susan Feniak 1 year ago

    My lips and tongue are smacking and I am saying ohhh!!! That is one awesome looking doodlewash Charlie! I remember making homemade biscuits, real whip cream and garden fresh strawberries for my Dad. Angel food cake was a close second favourite with whipped cream and strawberries. Sadly none of the above are on the diet these days. Just as well I am sure. 🙂 Strawberries and yogurt aren’t bad. Hahaha!!

    • Author

      Hehe…thanks Susan! 💕😃 Yeah, at least the strawberries can stay!! But yum to angel food cake! That was a close second for me as well!!

  3. Jessica Seacrest 1 year ago

    And now I want this!

  4. Wow! How am I going to control my weight with your wonderful food sketches

    • Author

      All of my culinary doodlewashes are completely calorie free!! Lol Okay…not responsible for what happens after viewing them, of course. 😊 Thanks so much!! 💕😃

  5. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

    Every day of the week is a great day for strawberry shortcake – yummy. And your doodlewash is delightful!

  6. Jacob 1 year ago

    Oh my – it’s times like this when I ponder on the sheltered life I’m living as I don’t think I’ve ever though to put these wonders together and try this. Outrageous! The doodlewash looks absolutely sensational Charlie – it’s going to be a month of daily cravings, as I suspected!

    • Author

      Thanks Jacob!! Glad you liked this and what???? Another thing to add to your burgeoning list of things required by Charlie to immediately do next? You’ll thank me for this one. I promise!! Hehe 😉

      • Jacob 1 year ago

        Oh, I’d added it before even seeing the doodlewash – the title was enough! 😉 I can’t wait to give this one a go!

  7. Jodi 1 year ago

    such a good point – we sure do take wonderful, perfectly delicious fruit and turn it into…. well…. extra yumminess! LOL! Gorgeous doodlewash! Certainly an extraordinary shortcake! Is Philippe busy cleaning up from your healthy dinner while you are painting this decadence?! 🙂

    • Author

      Haha!! Thanks Jodi! 💕😃 Glad ya liked this one! I do my doodlewash at the kitchen counter while Philippe is cooking right after we get home from work. It’s a race to the finish as I have to complete it before he makes a plate. Hehe… He doesn’t have to cook AND clean, that would be terribly unfair! 😊Lol I do all the cleaning up in the kitchen after dinner and then serve the espresso. 😉

      • Jodi 1 year ago

        sounds perfect! I have a sweet little vision in my head of you two – and I love it! 🙂

  8. Teri C 1 year ago

    What a perfectly delicious looking shortcake. What? It’s not the real thing? I can’t eat it? It’s a painting? Well darn!

    • Author

      Hehe…thanks Teri!! 😃💕 It’s much for diet friendly as just a doodlewash! Lol Love this stuff though…I would eat way too much of left unchaperoned! 😊

  9. Strawberry shortcake reminds me of summer and fun 🙂 love this post and I also appreciate you listing the colors used

    • Author

      Awww thanks so much Margaret! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this one! Definitely a fun summer treat! and yes, I’ve been trying to include my colors this year with each doodlewash. Made me realize out of my little 18 colors palette I’m only using about 10 of the colors. Hehe

  10. yummycookiesss 1 year ago

    wonderfull… ilike it

  11. Sharon Mann 1 year ago

    I love everyone’s comment. Is there going to be a Doodlewash cookbook at the end of the month! We used angel food cake with our strawberries. Beautiful dessert today!

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon!! 💕😃 Not sure on the cookbook…I’m good on illustrations but can rarely get Philippe to write down his awesome recipes. Lol

  12. Nancy 1 year ago

    True, it is the ultimate summer dessert and a favorite in this house as well. We have an added bonus now because the farm my son works at grow strawberries so he can bring them home fresh picked (and discounted 50%)! We just had them on shortcakes for Sunday dessert only we made them with those spongey little individual cakes that probably contain no real food just like the cool whip! Yummy painting!

    • Author

      Thanks Nancy!💕😃 Oh wow…half-priced, fresh picked strawberries?! That would be like living in a dream!! And those spongy cakes are delicious even if they aren’t food! Lol What a yummy Sunday dessert! 😋

  13. Carol 1 year ago

    Triple-decker strawberry shortcake? Yum, yum! Glad we know a lot more about what we eat nowadays so we can make healthier choices, but those chemicals sure were tasty back in the day 🙂

  14. Jill Kuhn 1 year ago

    Wow! Charlie! You make painting food look like a piece of cake! 💕🍰 Shortcake that is… 😍 Hehe! And I agree so many wonderful memories are attached to good food and friends! 🍷 Cheers friend!

    • Author

      Hehe!! Thanks Jill!! 💕😃 This month has been fun so far!! I love food so much! It’s a wonder I’m not elephant-sized 😊😊glad ya liked my shortcake!!

  15. M. L. Kappa 1 year ago

    So, did You persuade Philippe to make you a healthy one?

  16. Rebecca 1 year ago

    Well said, and well painted. 🙂 Roll on summer!

  17. nimitode 1 year ago

    Wow fantastic!

  18. debiriley 1 year ago

    you have outdone yourself! gorgeous!
    and I’d love some.. What magic in your story! I loved it Charlie. You said it exactly as it was; and how it now is for so many of us. We long for those days!
    And Thank YOU, your strawberry shortcake certainly made us remember 🙂

    • Author

      Aww thanks Debi! 😃💕I’m thrilled you like this. It was really a wonderful time back then… chemicals included! Lol So happy you enjoyed this post!

  19. memadtwo 1 year ago

    Wonderful meditation on families and food. I myself can’t believe all the chemicals I ingested as a child…(K)

    • Author

      Thanks Kerfe! 😃💕 Yeah… I try not to think about the amount too much… hoping my reversal in eating habits will repair much of the damage. 😉Hehe

  20. Cathe 1 year ago

    I love this post and the thought of strawberry short cake. My family’s version was angel food cake, vanilla ice cream and strawberries. Your doodlewash is so enticing.

    • Cathe 1 year ago

      Sorry I must have doubled my love for this post with duplicate comments!

    • Author

      Thanks Cathe! 💕😃hehe.. We had that version as well!! Yum… ugh… it’s morning and I’m craving dessert! hehe… wait… that actually happens all the time. 😊

  21. Charlie! I may have to ban myself from your site this month! Wow so lifelike! I really do hope you wind up illustrating a cookbook. Maybe you and P could get together and use his original recipes? WOWZA! Beautiful stuff! (PS I loved the line about subjecting wonderful fruits to all those chemicals. I used to love cool whip but holy goodness the GMOs and junk in it! Wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole now but it is beautiful in your painting!). 💜💜💜💜💜

    • Author

      Awww thanks Laura! 💕😃 But NO… you can’t hide from me because I will track you down! LOL I’ve actually found it hard to do these as it’s making me hungry all the time. I need you beside me to get through this month, sis! hehe 😊 I keep floating the idea of a cookbook to P, but he hasn’t taken me up on it yet. I guess people would want photos though in the end to see if they did it right. Hehe… as for chemicals and junk, yeah it’s amazing how jacked up our food got by corporate greed. We were in Paris and found whipped cream in a can that just had whipped cream in it. Turns out, you don’t have to destroy food to make it easier to eat!

      • Lol!!! Down with Monsanto and corporate greed. How do these people sleep at night?! I want what they’re taking to make that happen lol! Oh how I love you, Charlie! Amen and amen!!!!!

  22. Mmmm, so yummy, this reminds me of summer days strawberry picking, one for the pot, one for the mouth…and so it went on, lol until we felt sick, and did not want to see a strawberry again ( well just until that evening) I remember one ‘ pick your own’ used to weigh people before they went into the fields of red gold, funny really, it never made a difference really, I think it made us want to eat more.

  23. Teresa Robeson 1 year ago

    I never had this growing up, but I like to make my own from scratch if we have a bumper crop of strawberries. 🙂 Yours looks so scrumptious!

  24. Birgit Winter 1 year ago

    I want to eat this. Right now. Just came home from work, I’ really too tired to cook and I’m hungry. This sweet something would fit perfect! 🙂

    • Author

      Hehe… thanks Birgit! 😃💕I need to watch myself with the dessert doodlewashes… I’m getting a huge sweet tooth lately. This is perfect too tired to cook dessert though!😉

  25. Tom Merriman 1 year ago

    That’s the pull with certain foods, Charlie… the memories they bring back!

  26. anniedrawsthings 1 year ago

    Yum! Looks so beautiful and refreshing!

    • Author

      Thanks Annie!! 💕😃Glad ya liked it! I love strawberry shortcake! Gonna be trying to sneak a lot of these in over the summer! Lol

  27. Snehal Kank 1 year ago

    Woow it’s too awesome and yummy 😋 delicious illustration Charlie 😍😋

  28. The Leaf Diary 1 year ago

    Charlie, looking at your deserts and food illustrations really make one mouth’s water 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks! 😃💕Hehe…then mission accomplished! I think I’m going to gain weight this month. It’s making me hungry all the time sketching these things! 😊🐷

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