This is the easiest vegan strawberry shortcake recipe. It features tender vanilla cake (rather than biscuits!), lightly sweetened fresh strawberries, and your favorite vegan whipped cream—store-bought or homemade. The shortcakes are easy to assemble, fluffy and tender, and a guaranteed crowd pleaser!
As soon as strawberry season rolls around each year, I rush to make these simple vegan strawberry shortcakes. They’re delicious, pretty, and really fun to assemble.
While the cake in this recipe is made from scratch, the shortcakes call for store-bought vegan whipped cream. This helps to keep the assembly process streamlined and low-stress.
I look forward to summer all year because it’s prime time for vegan fruit dessert recipes. This shortcake is one of my favorites by far, and it has stolen the hearts of many of my friends, too!
Strawberry shortcake is basically a mix of strawberries and whipped cream that have been layered between layers of shortcake.
What’s shortcake? Good question. It’s a chemically leavened, sweet baked good. Shortcake is similar to a quick bread, but whereas quick breads can be savory, shortcake is sweet.
There are two ways to make shortcake. One is with biscuits, which can be split to make a top and a bottom. The other is with an actual sponge cake.
I like both approaches. But I live for vegan cake recipes, so it’s no surprise that my favorite vegan strawberry shortcake recipe features vanilla cake.
The cake that I use in this recipe is a simple vanilla sheet cake. It’s baked on a sheet pan instead of in a square or round cake pan, so that it’s thin and good for stacking.
You can bake the cake in two quarter sheet pans or a single half sheet pan. After you bake the sheets, you can use a biscuit cutter to make rounds of cake: about twenty-four in total. If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, you can slice the sheet cake into squares and stack those instead.
As you cut out the strawberry shortcake rounds, it’s nice to save your cake scraps! I do the same when I level cakes for a layer cake.
Crumbled cake scraps are a nice treat on top of plant-based yogurt, maybe with some fresh fruit.
What makes this strawberry shortcake recipe relatively easy is the use of store-bought vegan whipped cream.
Homemade whipped cream is great, but recipes become more accessible when you’re not making everything from scratch. Me? I care a lot about making the vanilla cake by hand. But store-bought, vegan whipped cream is pretty great, and I’m happy to use it here.
There are a few whipped cream options available in grocers. I like the So Delicious CocoWhip, and 365 by Whole Foods has a plant-based whipped topping, too.
Some strawberry shortcake recipes call for mixing the strawberries with a good amount of sugar. I’ve found that tossing quartered strawberries with a tablespoon or two of maple syrup is perfect for achieving mild sweetness.
If you use fresh, in-season strawberries, you really don’t need to do much to make them cake-ready!
Honestly? I don’t recommend frozen strawberries for this recipe. Because the strawberry shortcake is simple, each of the ingredients shines.
This is especially true of the fruit. Part of why it’s not necessary to sweeten the strawberries heavily is because seasonal, fresh fruit is so vibrant on its own.
In addition, frozen fruit can become very soggy as it defrosts. This is OK if you add frozen fruit to a lot of baked goods, and I do that often. I make my blueberry buckle, blueberry banana oat bake, and vegan cherry cobbler with frozen fruit all the time.
But for making vegan strawberry shortcake, fresh, seasonal strawberries really are best. Trust me on this one!
Absolutely! It’s easy to make this strawberry shortcake recipe gluten-free, if you need to avoid gluten in your diet.
I recommend using the same amount of a gluten-free, all-purpose flour blend. My favorite is King Arthur’s Measure for Measure blend, which is especially good for cakes and quick breads.
You can store the fully assembled strawberry shortcakes in the fridge for about one day. After that, they start to get a little mushy, thanks to the whipped cream center.
If you’d like to make the shortcakes ahead of time, you can bake the cakes up to two days in advance of assembly. Wrap each sheet cake in saran wrap and leave it at room temperature.
Meanwhile, the strawberries can be prepared one day before assembly and refrigerated until you’re ready to use them.
If it’s the height of strawberry season where you are, and you’re looking for a few more strawberry themed vegan desserts or treats, here are few of my favorites:
Hope this easygoing vegan dessert finds its way to your table sometime in the summer, while berries are fresh!