This recipe for cheater's vegan strawberry shortcake cups from Crazy Easy Vegan Desserts by Heather Saffer will come to the rescue when you need dessert, pronto. No one would ever guess that it actually starts with vegan boxed cake mix. Adding some unsweetened applesauce tenderizes the crumb and contributes magical homemade flavor, while a layer of graham cracker crust will have everyone oohing and ahhing.
Cheater’s Vegan Strawberry Shortcake Cups
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons palm shortening, melted
6 vegan graham crackers, crushed
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
One 15- to 17-ounce box vegan, gluten-free vanilla cake mix
¼ to ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
One 7-ounce can non-dairy whipped cream
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1. Preheat the oven according to the directions on the boxed cake mix. Line a cupcake pan with liners.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the shortening, graham crackers and brown sugar until it’s sandy and clumps together when you pinch it. Firmly press 2 tablespoons of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Refrigerate while you make the cake batter.
3. Make the cake mix following the directions on the box, using ¼ cup applesauce in place of each egg (up to 2 eggs total). Scoop the batter into the liners over the graham cracker crusts. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
4. Top each cake with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.