There are two different styles of cake that are typically used to make Strawberry Shortcakes. The more traditional is a not-too-sweet biscuit. However, in recent years, the spongecake has emerged as a common companion to fresh-cut strawberries and whipped cream.
This petit gateaux is a spongecake in texture, but tones the sweetness way down. And, instead of being a vanilla cake, the cake itself has a delightful strawberry flavor (thanks to the use of freeze-dried strawberries as a nutrient-dense flour substitute) and a festive pink tinge. It is a light and airy cake, delicious plain or “dressed up” for Valentine’s Day.
Serving Suggestions: While the recipe below is for the cake itself, it seems unfair to just say “serve with fresh berries and whipped coconut cream”. Here’s how to make whipped coconut cream. You’ll want to either buy full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream and you’ll want the kind with guar gum as an ingredients (note that coconut cream is not the same thing as creamed coconut, coconut cream concentrate or coconut butter). Emulsifiers like guar gum can be gut irritants and I normally avoid them. However, the texture of whipped coconut cream is reliant on the guar gum to work. Stick the can in the fridge overnight (don’t shake first). Carefully pull the can out of the fridge, open it, and scoop the thick top part into the bowl of a standing mixture (either toss the watery stuff at the bottom or save for soups or smoothies). You’ll probably want 2-3 cans of coconut milk or 1 can of coconut cream for a good amount of whipped coconut cream for this recipe. Whip the cold coconut cream in the bowl of your standing mixture for 2-3 minutes. Add 1-2 Tbsp of honey if desired to sweeten. Refrigerate until ready to serve. If you include high quality full-fat dairy in your diet, you could of course use whipped cream instead.
Substitutions: I thought this cake worked best using chestnut flour, but I also did a variation with blanched almond flour which worked extremely well as well. I only tried this recipe with freeze-dried strawberries, but I think it would work with other freeze-dried fruit if you wanted to mix up the flavor. I’m also on a cultured grass-fed ghee kick, but you could just as easily use butter, palm shortening, lard, or coconut oil. Unfortunately for those with egg allergies, it’s just not possible to replicate the effect of beaten egg whites in baking.