This is my new plant-powered version featured in Fifty Weeks of Green, with extra strawberry sauce but without the whipped cream or eggs. It's based on the my mother-in-law's recipe, which was the best strawberry shortcake I’ve ever had. She crushed some strawberries to release their juice and fragrance. The tender cake absorbs the liquid. Her classic version is in my book Wildly Affordable Organic. My version keeps her strawberry trick but makes the rest so healthy you can have seconds.
Let the berry juice hide the whole-grain flour and flaxseed in the cake. I was surprised that I didn't miss the whipped cream! Both versions are terrific make-ahead desserts for company or special occasions because you can get all the parts ready then put the layers together just before serving. It even travels well.
Active time: about 35 minutes. Total time: about an hour. Makes twelve servings. Vegan, heart-healthy, cholesterol-free.
2 tablespoons finely-ground flaxseed
6 tablespoons water
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk (homemade or So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk beverage)
1 tablespoon coconut spread (14 grams)
1 1/2 cup sugar, divided (300 grams)
1 cup white whole wheat or all-purpose flour (120 grams)
1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
shortening and flour for greasing and flouring the pan
2 pounds of fresh strawberries, a little less than 3 pints (900 grams)
- Cake. Make flaxseed "eggs" by mixing ground flaxseed with 6 tablespoons water in a microwave-safe container, then microwave on high for 40 seconds. Stir with mixture with a fork to get an eggy texture, then cool to room temperature.
- Heat oven to 375°F. Grease and flour an 8 x 8-inch pan or a muffin tin that holds a dozen muffins. Microwave coconut milk and coconut spread in a microwave-safe container until milk begins to steam, about 90 seconds on high.
- Put 1 cup sugar, flour, and baking powder in a mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer on low for about 30 seconds, until well combined. Add flaxseed eggs and hot coconut milk. Beat on low until dry ingredients are dampened, about 15 seconds, then on high for 45 seconds. Pour batter into pan and bake immediately for 30 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean. The cake will not be very tall. Put the pan on 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 the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Slice remaining berries. Set aside 12 slices for garnish; stir rest in with crushed strawberries. Taste and add more sugar if needed.
- Putting it all together. Cut cake into 12 pieces. For each serving, use a serrated knife to cut cake in half horizontally. Put bottom of cake on serving plate or bowl. Top with strawberry sauce. Put top of cake on strawberry sauce. Add more strawberry sauce and garnish with a strawberry slice. Refrigerate any extra strawberry sauce and use within 4 days or freeze.
Tips and notes
- The original recipe calls for all-purpose flour and eggs. Now I use white whole-wheat flour and flaxseed, which produces a slightly denser, slightly darker cake.
- Strawberry sauce freezes well. Make a double batch and freeze one to enjoy next winter.
- Thanks so much to my mother-in-law, Catherine Watson, for making her delicious recipe for years and for her permission to share it. Mother, I wish you were still here!