Real shortcake, the cake base that gave the name to strawberry shortcake, in no way resembles the spongelike packaged cakes promoted by markets when strawberries are in season. If you'd like to try your own, Exchange readers offer the following: RICH STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE (6 Servings) 2 cups sifted flour 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup butter or margarine 1 beaten egg 1/2 cup light cream Soft butter (optional) 4 cups sweetened sliced strawberries 1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in 1/2 cup butter or margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine egg and 1/2 cup light cream. Stir in liquid, adding only until dough starts following fork around bowl. On a lightly floured board, pat or roll dough to half-inch thickness. Cut with round cutter. Bake on ungreased baking sheet in hot over (450 degrees) until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Split shortcakes and butter if desired. Spoon berries between and over top. Serve with whipped cream.

Mrs. J.D.C., Severna Park

To M.E., who asked about real shortcake: You can find the recipe in many books, but the definition of a shortcake is really a baking powder biscuit with extra sugar and an egg added. It is either baked in two layers, or baked and split in two.

J.H.D. SHORTCAKE SOUTHERN STYLE (6 Servings) 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup sugar 5 tablespoons lard 2/3 cup milk Few drops vanilla

Sift dry ingredients together. Work in lard. Add vanilla to milk. Add milk to dry ingredients to make a soft dough. Knead only until dough handles easily. Pat into shape and bake in an ungreased round, 9-or 10-inch layer pan for 15 to 18 minutes at 425 degrees. While still warm, the cake should be split and filled with sliced strawberries, then covered with the top layer and perhaps some whipped cream or topping.

I.R., Sylacauga, Ala. COCOA BROWNIES 4 tablespoons cocoa 2 cups sugar 1 1/2 cups flour 2 sticks (1 cup) margarine 4 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 cup nut meats

Combine dry ingredients. Melt margarine and add to dry mixture. Mix well. Then add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla and nuts. Bake in a 9-by-13-inch cake pan (that has been greased and floured) at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Mrs. B.C. RECIPE REQUEST

I would like to hav the recipe for making light textured chocolate cake with chocolate chips in it. It is supposed to be baked in a ring mold or Bundt pan and is served without frosting. I tasted one at the Lafayette School fair last year.