Why hide the glories of strawberries beneath puffs of whipped cream? My newest strawberry shortcake recipe lets the berries shine on their own, with just a hint of sugar to draw out the juices and the perfect fruit-to-cake ratio. Skipping the whipped topping saves money to spend on organic strawberries. No whipping cream or eggs means no cholesterol and much less fat. This is my best version yet of a family favorite -- a bargain at $1.45 a serving using organic ingredients.
See my video for how to clean strawberries, make and optionally freeze strawberry sauce, and put the strawberry shortcake together.
Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
Active time: about 30 minutes. Total time: about an hour. Makes eight to twelve servings. Vegan, heart-healthy, cholesterol-free.
1 1/2 cup white whole wheat or all-purpose flour (180 grams)
1 1/2 cup sugar (300 grams)
1 tablespoon finely-ground flaxseed (7 grams)
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil or spread (14 grams), at room temperature
1/4 cup dried, unsweetened coconut (20 grams)
1 1/2 cup water
shortening and flour for greasing and flouring the pan
2 pounds of fresh strawberries, a little less than 3 pints (900 grams)
1/2 cup sugar (100 grams)
- Cake. Heat oven to 375°F. Grease and flour an 8 x 8-inch pan or a muffin tin that holds a dozen muffins.
- Put flour, sugar, flaxseed, and baking powder into a medium bowl and stir with a fork to blend. Mash in coconut oil. (Alternately, put all of this in a food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade and pulse a few times, then put into a bowl.)
- Put coconut and 1/2 cup water into empty food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade and process for about 30 seconds to make a rough homemade coconut milk. Stir coconut milk into flour mixture just until well combined and no dry parts are left. Pour batter into the pan and bake immediately for 30 minutes. Cake is done when tiny air bubbles appear on the top in the center as well as the edges and the cake pulls away from the side of the pan. (The toothpick trick doesn't seem to work for egg-free cakes.) Put the pan on a wire rack and let cool thoroughly before cutting.
- Strawberries. Wash strawberries well. Remove tops and any bad spots. Crush or puree about half the strawberries in a blender or food-processor with the stainless-steel blade and stir in 1/2 cup sugar. Slice remaining berries. Set aside a strawberry slice to garnish each serving; stir rest in with crushed strawberries. Taste and add more sugar if needed.
- Putting it together. Cut cake into serving-sized pieces (8, 9, or 12), then use a serrated knife to cut each piece in half horizontally. Put bottom piece on serving plate or in a bowl. Top with strawberry sauce. Put top piece on strawberry sauce. Add more strawberry sauce and garnish with a strawberry slice. Serve within a few minutes. Refrigerate any extra strawberry sauce and use within 4 days or freeze.
Assuming 9 servings per cake. We cut it into 12 servings for family feasts where everyone has already eaten quite a bit. Cutting it into 8 or 9 servings reduces the temptation to have seconds, so in the long run the cake lasts longer and is healthier.
- Substitutions: use 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut drink instead of the dried coconut and water. Use plant-based buttery spread or a neutral oil such as sunflower seed or canola in place of the coconut oil.
- Try this cake with other juicy fruit, such as peaches.
- I keep tinkering with this recipe because it's at the top of the request list every spring. The original inspiration came from my beloved mother-in-law. Get a version close to hers (but with white whole wheat flour) in Wildly Affordable Organic and an earlier vegan version in Fifty Weeks of Green.