Jammy strawberries, ethereal whipped cream and buttery shortcake—what more could you ask for in a dessert? Here, the classic strawberry shortcake is transformed into a plant-based treat, thanks to chef Seizan Dreux Ellis and the Love Is Served cookbook.
“It doesn’t get more divine than individual jars filled with light gluten-free cake layered between coconut-cashew whipped cream and strawberry chia jam,” he writes. “These are perfectly transportable, making them great for picnics and potlucks.”
Thanks to the chia seeds, the strawberry jam comes together in all of 45 minutes—normally you would need to reduce the fruit for much longer, but here the chia seeds soak up the juices and set the jam. “It may be a bit looser than you’re used to,” Dreux Ellis continues, “but it drapes perfectly over the layers of this confection.”
Reprinted with permission from Love Is Served: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes from Southern California by Café Gratitude with Seizan Dreux Ellis. Published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 2020.
Old-Fashioned Vegan Banana Cake with Creamy Cashew Frosting
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for the pan
½ cup almond milk
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¾ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Cashew Whipped Cream
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours and drained
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup coconut oil, melted
½ cup almond milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup cashew whipped cream
Chopped fresh strawberries
1. Make the shortcake: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease 4 cups of a muffin pan with coconut oil or cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside for a few minutes.
3. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda and mix to combine. Stir in the almond milk-vinegar mixture. Add the vanilla and the 3 tablespoons coconut oil and continue mixing until just combined.
4. Fill the greased cups in the muffin pan each about ¾ full, making sure the batter is evenly distributed among the cups. Bake until golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool the shortcakes in the pan.
5. Make the strawberry-chia jam: Slice the strawberries in halves or quarters, depending on their size. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the strawberries are softened but not completely disintegrated, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in the chia seeds and cool in the refrigerator to set, 25 to 30 minutes.
6. Make the cashew whipped cream: In a blender, combine the cashews, sugar, salt and 1½ cups of water and blend until smooth and creamy. Add the coconut oil and continue blending until the mixture is completely combined. This will yield about 2 cups of whipped cream.
7. Assemble the jars: In a medium bowl, stir together the almond milk, maple syrup and salt.
8. Cut the cooled shortcakes horizontally into equal halves. Briefly soak the bottom half of a shortcake in the almond milk mixture and place it at the bottom of one of 4 jars or cups. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the strawberry-chia jam onto the shortcake and top with 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream. Soak the top half of the shortcake in the almond milk and crumble it gently with your fingers into the jar. Add another layer of the jam and whipped cream. The jam and whipped cream are soft enough that they should spread out by themselves, but you can tap the jars gently to encourage them to spread out and create an even layer.
9. Garnish with chopped strawberries, if desired. Repeat with the remaining shortcakes. Store in the refrigerator overnight, if desired.