When I was little, my family had a go-to, easy dessert for special occasions in the summer: Spongy, store-bought shortcakes piled high with real whipped cream and strawberries. I’ve never found a gluten-free store-bought version, but came across a recipe that looked similar in Heather Christo’s excellent cookbook Pure Delicious, and knew I had to give them a try.
The version below is slightly modified from Heather’s, including some shortcuts like using store-bought vegan whipped cream instead of homemade. I recently made these for my husband’s summer birthday celebration when I needed something quick and easy to make with fresh strawberries, and they were a huge hit.
The cakes are more akin to scones than spongecake, but the flavor is delicious and the perfect compliment to sweet, fresh berries and vegan cream.
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- medium bowl
- small glass bowl
- Parchment paper or foil
- Food processor or blender
- 4 cups strawberries, sliced
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 6 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk, plus a bit more for brushing the tops of the shortcakes before baking
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
- ½ cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
- ½ cup sugar plus a bit more for sprinkling onto the tops of the shortcakes before baking
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp xanthan gum (unless your flour already includes xanthan gum, in which case you can omit this)
- ½ tsp salt
- 6 tbsp cold, soy-free, nut-free vegan butter (I use Soy-Free Earth Balance), broken up into chunks
- soy-free, nut-free, vegan whipped cream, such as So Delicious
Make the strawberry topping:
- Place strawberries, 1 tbsp sugar and lemon juice into a medium bowl, stir to combine and set aside at room temperature.
Make the vegan buttermilk:
- Place the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar into a small glass bowl, stir gently to combine and set aside to allow it to thicken.
Make the shortcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
- Place gluten-free flour, shredded coconut, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt into a food processor or blender.
- Pulse to combine ingredients.
- Add vegan butter chunks and pulse until incorporated into dry ingredients.
- Pour vegan buttermilk mixture into the food processor and pulse until a slightly sticky dough forms.
- Put a bit of gluten-free flour onto your work surface and carefully turn the dough out onto the surface.
- Push dough together and shape into a disc about two inches high and eight inches wide.
- Using a sharp knife dipped in water, slice the disc into six equal wedges.
- Carefully transfer the wedges to your lined baking sheet, then brush the tops with a bit more coconut milk and sprinkle with a bit more sugar.
- Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly brown and cooked through.
- Allow cakes to cool for about 15 minutes, then split horizontally and fill with vegan whipped cream and strawberries. Serve!