Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake Cake (Paleo, Dairy Free)
Strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite warm weather desserts. It’s so refreshing and light and the whipped topping makes it so refreshing. With strawberries in season, I had to make a homemade version that is paleo, dairy free and refined sugar free. This is the perfect refreshing paleo dessert for warm sunny days! Or any day in my opinion.
WHAT IS IN THIS GLUTEN FREE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE CAKE?
Oat Flour or Coconut Flour
Maple Syrup or Honey
Oat Milk, or Non-Dairy Milk
Full Fat Coconut Milk
Unrefined Powdered Sugar
SUBSTITUTION SUGGESTIONS & SWAPS
1. Almond and oat flour is the best combination for the gluten free strawberry shortcake cake. The oat flour can be substituted for coconut flour. You can try an all purpose gluten free flour in replacement of both the almond and oat to make this nut free, but it hasn’t been tested yet. It may come out a bit drier, but I’m sure it’ll still taste delicious!
2. To make this cake vegan, just the eggs will need be replaced. I do not suggest egg replacers here like flax eggs or chia eggs. This is already a dense cake and it’ll make it more dense. I think the best sub for eggs would be aquafaba eggs (about 3/4 cup total of aquafaba for this recipe). If you try it, let me know in the comments below!
3. You can swap the oat milk in this recipe for any plant-based or dairy milk.
4. If you are not avoiding refined sugars, you may substitute the unrefined powdered sugar for traditional powdered icing sugar.
5. If you are following a low histamine diet and are avoiding strawberries, I suggest blackberries or blueberries as a lower histamine swap.
6. You can substitute the coconut oil in this gluten free strawberry shortcake cake for any neutral oil like grapeseed oil.
7. The full fat coconut milk in the whipped cream cannot be substituted. But you can use full fat canned coconut cream.
THE FIVE MINUTE COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM
Do this step first! Refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight. Placing it in the freezer to speed it up does not work for this whipped cream. Once the can is fully chilled, scrape off the cream and save the water for a smoothies or for a later time. Add powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla. Beat for 3-4 minutes and you get a nice, light and fluffy coconut whipped cream!
THE FIVE MINUTE STRAWBERRY COMPOTE FILLING
Don’t be intimated by making this filling. You literally just heat and smash the berries on the stovetop, add a touch of sweetener and some tapioca starch to gel it up into a jam. It takes just about 5 minutes.
WHAT KITCHEN TOOLS ARE NEEDED FOR PALEO STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE CAKE:
Two 8” or 9” cake pans
Hand mixer or stand mixer
Small saucepan and potato masher
HOW TO MAKE UNREFINED POWDERED SUGAR FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM:
To make your own unrefined powdered sugar, place any granulated sweetener in a high speed blender for 30-60 seconds. I prefer to use coconut sugar because it is my go to low glycemic sweetener but you can use any granulated sugar, even monkfruit. Keep in mind coconut sugar has a caramel-y flavor and will alter the flavor and color just a bit.
HOW IS THIS GLUTEN FREE STRAWBERRY CAKE STORED?
If you want to prep the cake ahead of time, the cake by itself can be stored on the counter for 2 days vented with tin foil. Once it’s assembled with the coconut cream and strawberries, it should be kept in the fridge covered for up to 7 days. Then, you can slice it up and store individual pieces in an airtight container for up to 3 months. It freezes well, just defrost at room temp.
WHY BAKE WITH ROOM TEMPERATURE INGREDIENTS?
It ensures your baked goods will mix well and even. Baking is chemistry and baking likes room temp ingredients! In this recipe, the coconut milk will coagulate and create lumps in the batter if the ingredients are cold.
1. To warm eggs to room temp: place cold eggs in a small bowl with warm water and let sit for 3 minutes
2. To warm milk to room temp: Warm in microwave for 15 seconds or over stovetop until just warmed
WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN THIS GLUTEN FREE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE CAKE:
THE VANILLA ALMOND CAKE
3 cups of almond flour
3/4 cup oat flour or coconut flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 eggs, room temp
1 cup non-dairy milk, room temp
1 cup melted and cooled coconut oil, or neutral oil
STRAWBERRY JAM FILLING
1 1/4 cup of diced/chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen
2 tsp tapioca starch, plus 2 tsp of warm water
1 tbsp+ of maple syrup, or any sweetener
THE COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM
1 can of full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1/4 cup of unrefined or traditional powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh whole strawberries for topping
HOW TO MAKE THE PALEO STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE CAKE:
MAKE THE VANILLA ALMOND CAKE:
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line two round baking cake pans with parchment paper, either 8” or 9”. Spray the edges with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together almond flour, oat or coconut flour, baking powder and sea salt until well combined. In another medium bowl, whisk together coconut sugar, vanilla, almond extract, eggs, milk and melted and cooled coconut milk. *note, if the eggs and milk are cold, the coconut oil will coagulate and will create lumps in the batter. To warm the eggs to room temp, place in a bowl of warm water for 2 minutes, and gently warm the milk before mixing.
3. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk well until fully combined and no lumps remain. You may also do this with a hand mixer or stand mixer for a fluffier texture.
4. Carefully pour the batter evenly between the two baking pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the tops spring back when touched and a toothpick comes out clean with just a few crumbs.
5. Let cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edges and flip over to a cooling rack to cool. The cakes should pop out easily.
MAKE THE STRAWBERRY FILLING
1. Make the filling. Boil down strawberries on stove with a splash of water. Once they’re hot, smash them until puréed.
2. In small bowl, mix together the tapioca starch and hot water until dissolved. Add in this tapioca water and the maple syrup/sweetener to the strawberries and mix well. Taste and make more sweet if needed.
3. Take off stove and let cool, it’ll gel up like jam. I didn’t strain mine, I kept the seeds/skins but strain if you’d like!
MAKE THE COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM:
I suggest to make this first because you do have to refrigerate the can of coconut milk overnight prior, and it firms up nicely after it’s whipped and chilled.
1. Refrigerate a can of full fat coconut milk overnight. Freezing the can to speed up the process does not work! Must be fully chilled.
2. Once chilled, scrape the coconut cream off the top of the can (the hard white part), and discard the water, or save it for smoothies or other recipes.
3. Add the coconut cream to a bowl, along with the powdered sugar and vanilla.
4. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat on high until it gets light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Overmixing may cause it to fall flat. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
1. This is an easy, simple cake to assemble. Once FULLY cooled, spread a thick layer of the strawberry jam (the thicker the better as the cake will absorb a lot of it) over the top of one of the cakes, leaving a little room on the edge.
2. Spoon a layer of coconut cream over the strawberry layer. Spread with the back of the spoon carefully, trying not to smear it together with the strawberry.
3. Top with another layer of whipped cream (and strawberry jam if you prefer!) and top with more fresh cut strawberries.
4. Slice up and enjoy!
1. This is a more dense almond flour cake. The taste and texture go well with the strawberries and whipped cream but it’s very moist!
2. Coconut milk will coagulate and will create lumps in the batter if it is mixed with cold ingredients. To warm the eggs to room temp, place in a bowl of warm water for 2 minutes, and gently warm the milk over the stove or in the microwave before mixing.
3. You will have leftover strawberry jam. I suggest keeping this in the fridge for serving the cake, spreading more on top as the cake will absorb a lot of the jam in the middle!