Remember Strawberry Shortcake? She was one of my childhood favorites, along with Shera, My Little Ponies, GI Joe, Star Wars, and Care Bears. There was something so enticing about the faint chemical strawberry scent of her hair, her massive bobbleheadedness, and magical world where everything smelled and tasted delicious. My friend had a Strawberry Shortcake bedspread and sheets and I was so envious. I wanted to dream of Berry Bitty City and play with Strawberry and all of her friends, and I was pretty sure I could only do that if I was lulled to sleep under all those magical sheets and blankets.
I didn’t realize for a long time (really, way too long) that Strawberry Shortcake was a real thing. I don’t even remember having actual strawberries until we moved to Texas when I was in elementary school. And I definitely don’t remember eating strawberry shortcake until I was in second grade at the school Field Day.
That shortcake was…not amazing. It was made with the store bought spongy, yellow mini-cakes baked into little flat-top basins to hold the strawberries and whipped cream. The strawberries were glazed and tasted like my Strawberry Shortcake doll smelled. A spoonful of Cool Whip completed the dish and it was…not my favorite thing I’d ever had. I really wanted it to be.
Eventually, I outgrew my love of Strawberry Shortcake and her friends and mostly avoided the dessert for many years after that. It wasn’t until college that I tried it again at a swanky resturant at the urging of my best friend.
It was one of the most mind-blowingly delicious things I had ever tasted. The shortcake was more like a biscuit, and everything was fresh and texturally spot on.
I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve spent ten years trying to recreate that shortcake.
This is the closest I’ve come. I didn’t realize until I eliminated gluten from my diet that the shortcake I had tried so hard to replicate most likely was made using almond flour. Once I unlocked that piece, the rest was a breeze.
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 2 cups blanched almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
- 2 eggs*
- 3/4 cup butter, cold and cubed, or melted coconut or avocado oil
- 1 scant cup cassava flour (wheat flour can be substituted)
- 2 Tbsp raw honey, or other sweetener
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- Combine the almond flour, cassava flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl.
- Add butter to the flour mixture and cut into flour until the butter is in tiny pieces.
- In a small bowl, combine eggs, vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Whisk until fully incorporated.
- Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until barely combined.
- Spoon mixture onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, or bake in lined muffin tins.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
- Pile with strawberries and whipped topping of your choice.
*If you want to make this egg-free, go for it! To replace two eggs, I used 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds, 3 Tbsp water, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar.
Now that I know what strawberry shortcake can be, I’ll never go back. I still miss my Strawberry Shortcake doll, though, and secretly wish for a daughter so I can justify buying all the Strawberry Swag.