June means it's strawberry season around here. The dainty white flowers that have decorated the maturing strawberry plants throughout the spring have finally started to fade and give way to clusters of small, bright red fruits. In the blink of an eye, there soon will be patches full of ripe juicy strawberries ready for the picking. In honor of this harmonious time of year, I've put together this recipe for strawberry shortcake. It has all of the classic components of the beloved dessert but with a twist. This strawberry shortcake is grain, dairy and refined-sugar free, and still as tasty as ever.
When I first sat down to write this post I was struck by an interesting thought: what are the essential components of a strawberry shortcake? It seems like a basic enough question, yet I'm fairly confident you could ask it to a room of people and everyone's responses would be slightly different. Some people are used to eating it as strawberries and canned whipped cream atop one of those little sponge cake cups that you can buy at the grocery store. For others it is more of a homemade scone-like dessert topped with berries and butter. Then there are those who would consider strawberry shortcake better served as a layered parfait in a bowl. To set things straight, I did a little research on the subject and discovered some interesting little tidbits to share.
According to culinary historians, the term "shortcake" gets its name from the addition of shortening or butter to a dough to make it tender or biscuit-like. This tradition was started in Europe and goes back at least as far as the early 1500s. The idea of combining shortcake with strawberries to make a dessert however, seems to be an American tradition. The first printed recipe for "Strawberry Cake" appeared in the 1847 Lady's New Receipt-book by Miss Eliza Leslie. This original version called for slicing biscuits in half and filling them with mashed strawberry and icing to make a "delicious and beautiful cake."
Throughout the latter half of the 19th century the United States was said to be taken over by a "Strawberry Fever." With the completion of the trans-continental railroad, this sweet berry could be easily exchanged between coasts. Strawberries apparently filled railroad cars and markets, packed with ice for the long distance hauls. Needless to say, strawberry shortcake became one of the favorite desserts of the time and many different variations emerged.
Yet despite all of the creative embellishments that have been added to this recipe since its simple begins in the 1800's, the key ingredients have remained: strawberries, cream and some kind of sweet, delicious cake.
So with this history in mind, I present you with a grain-free strawberry shortcake. Clean, tasty and healthy, it could even be called the "future" of the strawberry shortcake. But then again...I could just be getting ahead of myself.
Grain-Free Strawberry Shortcake with Coconut Flour
By Kayla- Radiant Life
Makes 12 mini cakes*
Shortcake3 tablespoons butter or ghee, melted
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups strawberries, sliced
Preheat oven to 400° F
Grease a mini-muffin tin using butter or coconut oil.
In a medium sized bowl, blend together wet ingredients: butter, eggs, honey, and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine coconut flour, baking powder and salt. Add coconut flour mixture into wet ingredients, whisking until there are no lumps. Pour batter into greased muffin tin, dividing it evenly between all 12 cups. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Serve topped with fresh strawberries and whipped coconut cream. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and sliced almonds as desired.
*For larger shortcakes, pour batter into 6 cups of a standard muffin tin and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes. If dairy is not an issue, regular homemade whipped cream also works well.
Recipe inspired by Bruce Fife's Cooking with Coconut Flour. If you are looking for a good coconut flour cookbook, I recommend checking it out!