I hate to admit it, but lately, I’ve felt some resistance to baking. In this crazy-busy season of life, a packed calendar and thoughts of a dirty, flour-covered kitchen have kept me from whipping up some of my favorite baked goods. Baking has felt like too big of a mess for what you get out of it. Of course, that was before I took this gluten-free strawberry shortcake recipe for a spin.
These shortcakes are nothing short of magic. They re-instilled in me a love of slowing down and enjoying the process of creating something from scratch. After winging this recipe, I watched in awe as the dough rose in the oven and formed into beautiful little biscuits. Warm and browned, I sliced one in half and watched the steam rise up before taking my first bite, (slathered in butter, of course).
Being gluten-free for years, it had been forever since I’d enjoyed an actual shortcake. When I sunk my teeth into these fluffy delights, the taste and texture had me floored. While I was unsure how this gluten-free strawberry shortcake recipe would turn out, the final result was better than I even imagined.
By combining gluten-free flour with just a handful of staple ingredients, this gluten-free shortcake recipe yielded biscuits that were crispy and browned on the outside while staying delectably light inside. They contain just a hint of sweetness and make a great vessel for your favorite toppings like whipped cream, ice cream, and any sweet fruit. Believe it or not, this gluten-free strawberry shortcake recipe is also dairy-free, nut-free (besides coconut), and egg-free. Score! Now let’s bake.
What’s the difference between cake and shortcake?
Time to dig into a hot debate! Shortcakes are very different in appearance and texture than regular cakes. Shortcakes closely resemble biscuits and are more crumbly and crispy to the touch. While a regular cake is more light, spongey and moist, a shortcake should be a bit more dry and firm with just a hint of sweetness. My secret hack for making these shortcakes is using 4-inch round cake pans in lieu of a baking sheet. I’ve found that by using the round cake pans, they hold together better and maintain the perfect shape. I usually prefer to make four or five larger biscuits using this method.
Tips for Making This Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
Gluten-free flour is an excellent substitution for traditional flour in this shortcake recipe. I prefer to use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour because it holds together better than others I’ve tried and has a neutral flavor. The arrowroot starch in this recipe holds the shortcakes together, and the baking powder allows them to rise beautifully. Just be careful as you slice your shortcakes in half as gluten-free shortcakes tend to be more delicate.
How To Make the Vegan Buttermilk Mixture
Traditional shortcake recipes use buttermilk and butter, but these ingredients can be easily modified to fit vegan and dairy-free diets. By combining coconut milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract, you’ll get a dairy-free buttermilk mixture that works wonders in these shortcakes. I also prefer to use vegan butter in this recipe instead of coconut oil, because I find the former better mimics the shortcakes’ classic flavor. By cutting the vegan butter into small squares and mixing it into the dry ingredients, you’ll allow for small pockets of butter to ooze into the shortcakes as they’re baking.
How To Make Homemade Dairy-Free Whipped Cream
Because shortcakes are dryer in texture, they’re best enjoyed with a moist, sweet topping. Instead of regular whipped cream, this recipe calls for dairy-free whipped cream which can be easily made using three ingredients: canned coconut milk or coconut cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. By letting the coconut milk chill overnight, you’ll be able to scoop out the thick concentrated coconut mixture at the top of the can.
You’ll need an electric mixer to beat the coconut cream with sugar and vanilla extract until it resembles the light and velvety texture of regular whipped cream. If you’re short on time, vanilla ice cream also makes a great substitute in this recipe. My favorite vegan brand is Nadamoo.
What’s the best way to cut strawberries for a gluten-free strawberry shortcake?
Last but not least, the star of this recipe: strawberries! You can use any type of fruit for these shortcakes (peaches, you’re up next), but I can’t resist ripe, spring strawberries. For this recipe, you’ll slice the strawberries in half and mix them in a bowl with powdered sugar to enhance their natural sweetness. For larger strawberries, I’d slice them vertically into three or four flat slices. Then, you’ll chill the bowl of strawberries in the fridge for at least an hour to help them reach peak flavor.
More Gluten-free Dessert Recipes to Try
This gluten-free strawberry shortcake recipe is a must-bake, but if you’re on the hunt for more delicious gluten-free desserts, give the following recipes a try.