Strawberry Shortcake with Mixed Berries {paleo}

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Strawberry Shortcake with Mixed BerriesDedication: This recipe is dedicated to Sommer Collier, the food stylist (read: wizardress of food) and food blogger over at A Spicy Perspective.

Strawberry Shortcake with Jam & Mixed Berries
{Paleo-style with Whipped Coconut Cream}

I’ve paid my dues
Time after time
I’ve done my sentence baking trials
But committed no crime
And bad mistakes cakes
I’ve made a few
I’ve had my share of sand almond flour
Kicked in my face
But I’ve come through…

And we (here, at Wicked Good Kitchen) mean to go on and on and on and on…

Feeling like a champ, guys. And, I’ve been chomping at the bit to share this cake with y’all! And, yes…Queen’s awesome rock anthem, We Are the Champions, was playing in my head when I reached sweet grain-free baking victory!

Invariably, the first fruit dessert I make to usher in the spring and summer seasons is Strawberry Shortcake. This usually takes place in April or May when California Strawberries make their way to our local markets and the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs begin. And, since we are total dorks and hockey-loving freakazoids, we like the fact that the red and white color combination of classic Strawberry Shortcake matches our favorite team’s colors, the red and white of the Detroit Red Wings. It also reflects our complexions as we go from ghost-like pale white during nail biting OT games to beet-red in a fit of rage yelling at the TV over bad calls or whenever our beloved wings start playing like, as The Big Lug says, “Dead Things”. But, I digress.

As you can imagine, in our household, the hockey playoff season and Strawberry Shortcake go hand in hand. The Big Lug loves me for it and I enjoy making it for him. (Ha! I make it just as much for me. Shhh! Just don’t tell him that.) Strawberry Shortcake is irresistible, isn’t it? It really does start to feel like summer once you indulge in the first bite of the season.

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At our house, we make Strawberry Shortcake several different ways depending on our moods. We either go for a classic buttery biscuit with a flaky-dense crumb (either cut or drop style) or a tender, moist butter cake or angel food cake. I’ve even made Strawberry Shortcake with chiffon cakes. We love it all ways. However, when the mood strikes, I have even gone fancy schmancy about it with an impressive layered wonder that always garners plenty of oohs and ahhs. And, for Memorial Day or Independence Day, I like to create a red, white and blue color scheme with fresh whole berries to make classic Strawberry Shortcake look festive and patriotic.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me well that I would place a paleo-ized version of my classic layered Strawberry Shortcake high on my list of priorities to create. And, I am proud to say that I have finally accomplished this challenging feat. Hooray!

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Let me tell you, during my testing trials last week, it took several batches of grain-free batter to not only narrow down the exact amount needed for this layered cake, but also the baking technique to prevent over-browning of the cake with proper baking times. I won’t even tell you about the epic failure—that is, the cake that overflowed, over-browned and stuck like anodized (galvanized?) material to the “premium non-stick guaranteed not to stick” pretty scalloped baking pans despite the fact they soaked overnight. (I really should have taken photos to share with y’all. It was quite comical!)

And, yes. I should have known better about that whole “guaranteed not to stick” and “effortless release and cleanup” business. Both gluten-free and grain-free cake baking creates very sticky batters. But, I gave these pans a shot. (I was totally taken in by their beauty and shape, I tell you!) For conventional baking, I am sure these pans are very effective. If you care to know, initially, I visualized my Strawberry Shortcake to look like this celebration cake over at Williams-Sonoma: Celebration Layer Cake Pans.

Fixing the Problem of Over-browned Grain-free Cakes

In grain-free baking, when nut flours are used, the over-browning of cake batter is an all too common problem. Since many eggs are used in the cake batter, along with a touch of coconut flour, over-baking can cause a significantly dense or tough and chewy cake. For my layered Strawberry Shortcake, known for its tender yellow butter cake, an over-browned and tough cake simply would not suffice. It is not only bad for color and eye appeal, but bad for taste and texture. It was “game on” and I was driven.

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When faced with such paleo baking challenges, what is a determined baker to do? Press on and persevere. Reach deep down and bring forth all the tools, tips, tricks and techniques in your culinary arsenal or “batterie de cuisine”. (Yes, “batterie de cuisine” is not solely reserved for kitchen tools! The term also applies to one’s range of skills as to technique. Don’t believe me? Look it up. Ha!) And, if this doesn’t work, pretend you work for Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen to create the consummate recipe for an especially pleasing if not totally irresistible Strawberry Shortcake for their readership. This particular scheme is often in my kitchen playbook.

When baking these cakes last week and over this past weekend, I employed a combination of techniques. Not only does the recipe call for the batter to rest prior to baking (just as I called for with my Paleo Carrot Spice Layer Cake with Cashew-Coconut Buttercream), which provides the grain-free flours the opportunity to absorb the free liquids for a moist and tender crumb, but insulating the cake pans was key in producing a grain-free yellow cake worthy of standing up to the classic version of yellow cake. Seriously. Honestly, I kid you not! Would I ever mess with your head? Or your taste buds for that matter? Nevah! (In my best Daniel Stern voice a la Marv in Home Alone 2.)

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To create an insulated environment for the cakes, I simply used insulated cake strips and then placed the two insulated 8-inch round cake pans on doubled-up half-sheet baking pans prior to baking. (Alternatively, you could use a large insulated baking sheet that will accommodate both cake pans.) This way, the cakes were insulated along the sides as well as the bottom where over-browning occurs. (See image below.)

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It was in Rose Levy Beranbaum’s cookbook, The Cake Bible, where I first learned of these magical baking strips, way back in 1988, when I first started to bake cakes seriously. I am telling you, these things rocked my baking world! The cake strips really worked to bake cakes evenly for tiering which is so important when baking special occasion cakes—especially wedding cakes. This meant no more slicing off domes from cake layers. Amazing invention, cake strips. (See image below for the classic “over-browning” of grain-free cake layers when not properly insulated before baking. Sadly, this creates a tough, chewy exterior which is not desirable.)

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As for doubling-up on the baking sheets, I call for this whenever cookies are made with nut flours. (See our recipe for Paleo Almond Double Thumbprint Heart Cookies where I explain this tip.) So, I thought to myself, why not place the cake pans directly onto the insulated baking surface of doubled-up baking sheets to prevent over-browning?

To my utter delight, this play from the ol’ playbook paid off in spades. My cake layers emerged from the oven gloriously (read: sans the typical over-browning). The clouds had parted and I could hear Freddie Mercury’s soaring vocals of We Are the Champions off in the distance. (Check out the image below. A perfectly baked grain-free cake!)

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We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions of the World

Yes, I did the proverbial grain-free baking sweet victory jig! As I mentioned above, here at Wicked Good Kitchen, we are feeling like true champs this week. As Freddie sang, “We’ll keep on fighting, till the end.” And, really, there was “no time for losers”. No loser cakes—not with Memorial Day weekend fast approaching! Because, my paleo friends, my wish was to present you with the very best of the best. This is what you strive for each and every day from yourselves in your paleo lifestyle. Excellence. And, you simply would expect nothing less than a stellar paleo-ized Strawberry Shortcake from an experienced baker. Moreover, you deserve this indulgence for working so hard and sticking to your program. You really do!

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OK, now let me tell you what to expect and why our Strawberry Shortcake with Jam and Mixed Berries is wicked good.

Expect a cake that will make you famous within your circles. Once you bake and share this cake, be forewarned. You may be asked to make it for special occasions or any and every occasion. Be prepared. Expect a cake that will truly ROCK your paleo dessert world. Our paleo yellow cake is just as moist and tasty as the traditional yellow cake you were once so very fond of.

Strawberry Shortcake with Mixed Berries by WickedGoodKitchen.com

Our Strawberry Shortcake with Jam and Mixed Berries will not disappoint. A small piece will do of this nutrient-rich cake which means you eat less. Bonus! Another added bonus is our recipe was designed so there is no need to cut fragile cakes horizontally from two to four layers. Second bonus!

The soft, creamy, billowy and melt-on-your-tongue Whipped Coconut Cream is just as sexy and pleasing as the dairy whipped cream you once longed for in a special dessert. You will be emitting yummy sounds, guaranteed.

Our strawberry filling is just not sliced strawberries macerated in sugar found in typical Strawberry Shortcake recipes which sometimes makes the cake too soggy. No. Here, at Wicked Good Kitchen, we like our Strawberry Shortcake oozing with juiciness but without dreaded sogginess. We like to layer our Strawberry Shortcake with the finest strawberry jam spiked with a small dose of Grand Marnier® for a slight hint of orange to enhance the flavor of the fresh juicy berries. In fact, we like to use our own homemade paleo jam, Strawberry Ginger Jam. Yum.

And, to top it all off, we embellish this cake with a little flourish of food styling with mixed fresh berries and mint leaves as garnishes to create a patriotic appearance—ideal to mark the occasions of either Memorial Day or Independence Day, the Fourth of July. You will be proud of your cheffy self and others will hail you a rock star!

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So, indulge…and, do so without guilt or worry. Our Strawberry Shortcake with Jam and Mixed Berries is miraculously within your program for treats. Honest!

To Sommer… This one is for you, girl! Thank you for your support. I shall never forget your kindnesses and hospitality as a newbie food blogger. Yours were the very first blog comments I received from the food blogging community as I launched my blog, back in December, and I thank you for all the encouragement. Recently, I have been posting a series of recipe dedications and yours had to wait until late spring, for a summery beauty worthy of the cover of Southern Living Magazine. Only a true Southern Belle of summer cakes, brimming with Southern gentility, would do for you. May you have a beautiful summer, girlfriend! xo

Enjoy and have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend celebration, y’all!

xoxo,

spatsign

 

 

 

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Strawberry Shortcake with Mixed Berries {paleo}

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: Makes one 8-inch 4-layered cake; about 12 servings.

Strawberry Shortcake with Mixed Berries {paleo}

Ingredients

  • For the Shortcake Layers
  • 2 cups (224 grams) blanched almond flour, such as Honeyville® Farms
  • 1½ cups + 3 tablespoons (216 grams) arrowroot starch, such as Bob’s Red Mill®
  • ½ cup (56 grams) organic coconut flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill®
  • 1¼ teaspoons (6 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (4.8 grams) baking soda
  • 1¼ teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon sea or regular table salt)
  • 8 large eggs (mine weighed 428 grams total w/o shells)
  • 1½ cups + 3 tablespoons (about 560 grams) organic light agave nectar
  • ¼ cup (56 grams) organic virgin coconut oil, melted, plus extra for pans
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) organic ghee, melted
  • 4 teaspoons (20ml) pure vanilla extract, such as Nielsen-Massey®
  • For the Strawberries & Strawberry Jam Filling
  • 2 pounds (908 grams) fresh strawberries, sorted, rinsed, hulled & sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 recipe (1 cup) Strawberry Ginger Jam, recipe by Wicked Good Kitchen™
  • Or, 1 cup favorite no sugar added strawberry jam, such as Polaner® All Fruit®
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) Grand Marnier® Orange Cognac, optional
  • For the Whipped Coconut Cream
  • 4 (13.5 ounce/400ml) cans full-fat coconut milk, chilled 8 hours or overnight
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) organic granulated cane sugar or honey crystals, optional
  • For the Cake Adornments
  • 1 cup fresh whole blackberries
  • 1 cup fresh whole blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh whole raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh whole strawberries
  • Fresh mint leaves, optional
  • Special Equipment
  • Two 8-inch by 1½- to 2-inch round cake pans
  • Two insulated cake strips, such as Wilton® Small Bake Even Strips (Set of 2)
  • Two half-sheet baking sheets or one insulated baking sheet
  • Five wire cooling racks, the fifth being used to flip cake layers right side up
  • Metal Angled or Offset Icing Spatula, such as Ateco® or Wilton®, helpful
  • Metal Icing Spatula, such as Ateco® or Wilton®, helpful

Preparation

Prepare the Shortcake Layers: Arrange oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 325º F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with wax paper circles and grease paper lining. If using insulated cake strips, don’t forget to prepare the pans per manufacturer’s directions. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer and large bowl, beat eggs on medium speed until blended and bubbly. Add agave nectar, melted coconut oil and ghee, and vanilla; beat on medium speed for approximately 2 minutes. Mixture should be bubbly on top. Reduce speed to low (stir) and gradually add flour mixture blending until no lumps remain and well combined. Scrape down bowl as necessary with rubber spatula. Allow mixture to stand for a full 5 minutes. This will allow the flours to absorb the liquids. The batter will be noticeably thicker. After letting the batter stand, give it a good stir.

With a rubber spatula, scrape and pour batter into two prepared pans, dividing evenly (about 1½ cups or about 375ml per pan). Smooth tops evenly with rubber spatula. Place pans on doubled up half-sheet baking sheets and carefully place in center of rack in oven.

Bake in center of preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 5 minutes. (Waiting any longer will just cause the cake to stick to the pan.) Immediately, run a thin metal spatula around the perimeter to loosen cakes from sides of pans. Invert onto wire rack (I like to grease my nonstick wire racks with coconut oil to prevent sticking). Turn right side up onto wire racks (using an additional rack to flip); cool completely. Meanwhile, wash and dry the pans, grease and line them as above, and repeat to bake the remaining batter. Should you have a tiny bit of remaining batter left over, consider baking a small cupcake separately.

Prepare the Strawberries & Jam Filling: In a medium bowl, have sliced strawberries ready for cake layering. You will need about 4 cups; 1 cup per layer. In a small bowl, place the jam. If desired, stir orange liqueur into the jam blending well. You will need 1 cup; ¼ cup or 4 tablespoons per layer. Set aside until ready to assemble cake.

Prepare the Whipped Coconut Cream: Carefully open chilled cans of coconut milk without shaking to disturb the contents. Scrape the thick coconut cream, about ¾ cup per can, into chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Reserve the remaining coconut water for another use. With mixer speed on low, add preferred natural sweetener and mix until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium-high, then high, and continue to beat until the coconut cream holds soft peaks, about 3 minutes. You will need about 3 cups; about ¾ cup per layer.

Assemble & Ice the Cake: Place one cake layer onto serving plate, platter or cake pedestal or stand in the center. With icing spatula, spread about ¾ cup of the Whipped Coconut Cream over top of cake to cover; then spoon and drizzle ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) of Strawberry Jam Filling on top. Place about 1 cup of fresh sliced strawberries over the jam filling with some around the perimeter to peek out, if desired, for a pretty presentation. Repeat this process for two more cake layers.

For top layer, place final cake layer on top and spread with ¾ cup Whipped Coconut Cream over top of cake to cover; then spoon and drizzle ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) of strawberry jam filling on top. Arrange several whole strawberries on top of cake in center and place remaining sliced strawberries decoratively on top around them—perhaps even some standing upward on end.

To Decorate the Cake: Adorn cake with fresh mint leaves and whole berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries), on top and sides of cake as well as at the base of the cake on the cake plate.

To Store the Cake: Keep cake covered and stored in refrigerator until ready to slice and serve.

To Slice & Serve the Cake: Slice the chilled cake with a thin sharp knife. Use a cake server to transfer slices of cake to dessert plates. Serve immediately or allow cake slices to sit out at room temperature to soften.

Notes

Tips:

For the Shortcake Layers:

Shortcake layers may be baked one day in advance. Keep covered in plastic food wrap at room temperature until ready to assemble.

For the Whipped Coconut Cream:

Whipped Coconut Cream may be made one day in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Only use full-fat coconut milk. Do not use “Cream of Coconut” which is pre-sweetened with additives.

Keep as much coconut milk out of the cream as possible for best results.

Use a heavy-duty stand mixer that can whip at high-speed for 3 minutes.

Use granulated or powdered natural sweeteners for best results. Liquid natural sweeteners such as agave nectar, honey or maple syrup will prevent the coconut cream from whipping and holding to soft peaks.

Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com

http://wickedgoodkitchen.com/strawberry-shortcake-with-mixed-berries-paleo/

Visual Step-by-Step for Making Shortcakes

Including Recommended Brands

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Comments

  1. Wow, I’m so honored! And I can’t believe a paleo dessert looks this good!! This cake is utterly amazing. :)

    • My pleasure, m’lady! The honor is well deserved. Once again, I sincerely appreciate all of your support. It has meant so much to me. Have a swell Memorial Day weekend, my friend! xo

  2. What gorgeous photos! Your Strawberry shortcake looks amazing! I’m just finishing doing a whole30 and my mouth is watering at the thought of this delicious dessert! I’m amazed it’s Paleo, I need to look into Paleo recipes!

    • Thank you, Jayne! You are like me…loving cake, berry preserves and healthy eats! Congrats on completing your whole30 journey! (I need to do one of those soon.) You are going to LOVE this cake! Tastes even better than classic Strawberry Shortcake, in my book. All the flavors come out and sing! Enjoy, my friend! xo

  3. Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful! I love berries, cream and cake. And I’ll be right over. ;)

  4. This is the prettiest shortcake, I love the fresh berries!

  5. Gorgeous!!!! And I love those bake even strips. Worth every penny :) PINNED

    • Aww…thank you SO MUCH, Aimee! Greatly appreciate the Pinterest love on the awesome Berrylicious board. You ROCK, girlfriend! xo

  6. O-M-G… you outdid yourself, here, lovely!!! I am in awe of this gorgeous cake, girl!

  7. Oh my good lordy, Stacy! This is ABSOLUTELY the most beautiful shortcake I’ve ever seen, no lie. It looks sensational! I cannot believe that such a stunning creation is even edible, haha. Fabulous job on this one!

    • Aww…thank you, m’lady! It is always a good day when I see your smiling face in my comments section with such kind words. Honestly, you just made my day. Thanks for stopping by! xo

  8. Another killer dessert, you really know how to make them shine!

  9. Talk about amazing, Stacy. You have such a talent! I am in awe of how beautiful this cake is and your photography is stunning!! I can’t believe it’s Paleo. Wonderful!

    • Thank you, Sally! I truly appreciate the compliments as they mean so much coming from an avid, talented baker like yourself! You just made my day! xo

  10. Good lord god! Look at that delicious monster! All that fruit makes it healthy right? I want to plant my face in it.

  11. Stacy, this cake is gorgeous! I love the coconut cream. I didn’t realize you could whip up coconut milk like whipped cream (:

    • Thank you, Caroline! Yes, you certainly can…but, just whip the coconut cream that rises to the top, chilled firm. It’s not unlike how cream rises to the top of milk. One day you must try it! Thanks for stopping by and also for inviting me to pin on your fabulous dessert board at Pinterest! *mwah!* xoxo

  12. I think I pinned this cake at least 10 times in the past week. I absolutely LOVE IT! It’s gorgeous! And it’s paleo?! WoW!!

    • Thank you, Kate! I saw you pinned it once on the sweet tooth board at Pinterest. Thanks muches for the support! *mwah!* xo

  13. Hahaha! You are definitely a champion for converting this delicious recipe into paleo! Go ahead and walk a little taller, you deserve it!

    This looks great!

  14. The strawberry shortcake looks so irresistably good! It sounds like the perfect dessert to kick off the spring/summer season (:

    • Thank you, Monica! You are a sweetheart! Thanks for stopping by and also for inviting me to pin on your fabulous dessert board at Pinterest! *mwah!* xoxo

  15. This cake is a beauty! (Love that it’s paleo too!)

  16. This looks so fresh and delightful! Love the recipe!

  17. Stacy your photos are just stunning! And the details you post and all the info, so helpful and informative for everyone! I wish I had a stack in front of me right now!

    • Aww…thank you SO MUCH, Averie! You are THE BEST. Appreciate the compliments as well as your support and encouragement. Hey! Guess what shipped today? Amazon just shipped your first and newly published cookbook, Peanut Butter Comfort! So, I will be receiving it and baking from it soon. Swoon! *mwah!* xo

  18. What a beautiful summer dessert! Can’t wait to make all the use of in-season berries soon :) Thank you for sharing! Lovely blog.

    • Thank you for the compliments, Irina! Summer desserts are a must with fresh berries. Happy baking!

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