The quintessential summer dessert, Naturally Red, White, and Blue Berry Shortcake is simple to make with stunning results. Naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free, this recipe is a must for your next summer gathering!
Holy cow, you guys, this cake!
I mean, seriously.
Don’t you just want a giant slice right now? I kind of do. Like right now.
The good thing is that this glorious, homemade shortcake can be yours in the very near future.
It’s about as a simple as these things can be, made by layering two batches of Vanilla Bean Sea Salt Coconut Cream between two batches of One-Bowl Honey Cornmeal Cake and then showered with handfuls of fresh, juicy, ripe berries.
Done and done.
When it comes to summer entertaining I’m a firm believer in desserts that involve local fruits and berries. I’m also a firm believer in keeping things simple because I’m not much of a baker, and because I just don’t want to fuss around.
That’s one of my life mottos. Less fuss. More cake.
In that spirit, my go-to summer desserts are usually fruit crisps, and I’ll admit to making Maple Oat Mixed Berry Crisp more times than I can count.
But I also have a soft spot for strawberry shortcake. Because, who doesn’t like shortcake? It’s one dessert I know everyone will be trilled to devour.
The thing that makes shortcake tricky, however, is that several of my family members are avoiding dairy these days. And do you want to know where you can find a lot of dairy? In almost every single dessert.
Berry shortcake especially. It’s basically half whipped cream. So if you’re avoiding dairy it’s kind of a no-go.
Of course I needed to come up with a workaround because we simply cannot be without it. So I developed a base layer of the cake, and then swapped in coconut cream for the whipped cream, and bam. Heaven on a plate.
If you’ve never made coconut cream, be sure to follow the instructions in the recipe carefully and make sure you’re starting with a chilled can of full-fat coconut milk.
And before you buy the can, give it a shake. It should feel like it has a solid mass of cream inside. If it feels super liquidy, it probably won’t whip up, so put it back in favor of a can with more substance.
I recently made this Naturally Red, White and Blue Berry Shortcake for Father’s Day and it was a huge hit. It was my brother-in-law’s first Father’s Day, and it was so fun to celebrate the occasion with him, my sister, new niece, and parents.
My brother-in-law made ribs and my sister made corn, slaw, and potatoes, and we ate outside at their farm at the big picnic table, shooing away their free-range chickens who were trying to poach our corn.
I decided to take the photos of the shortcake for this post while we were there, even though I knew I probably should have done it at home, on my photography background, with better lighting and styling.
The thing is though, in this Internet world of perfect Pinterest food photography, sometimes I think it’s nice to see the real thing.
So this is the real thing, styled by Elle, who proudly added all the berries herself, and held by Andrew, who as you can imagine was less than thrilled at having to hold the rather heavy cake while I tried capture the correct angle.
The things we do for love.
There are berries out of place and coconut cream falling everywhere. It’s not perfect. But guess what? I think you still probably want to eat it.
There’s beauty in the real.
There’s also delicious in the real. So gather some friends and family and make this one asap. Now, let’s make some Red, White, and Blue Berry Shortcake!
RECIPE & KID-FRIENDLY ADAPTATIONS
1 | If you don’t want to make a double-layer cake, simply prepare one batch of the cornmeal cake and coconut whipped cream. The results will still be show-stopping.
2 | Use whatever fresh fruit or berries you like and have available. Fresh peaches, cherries, blackberries, nectarines; really any sweet summer fruit would be great atop this cake.
3 | If you don’t like the flavor of coconut cream or prefer not to use it, freshly whipped heavy cream sweetened with maple syrup will work will in its place.
4 | Alternatively, make a batch of each (coconut and regular whipped cream) and allow guests to serve themselves depending on their dietary preferences.
THIS RECIPE IS . . .
Naturally Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Naturally Sweetened, Nut-Free, and Vegetarian
Naturally Red, White, and Blue Berry Shortcake
Bake the cornmeal cakes according to recipe instructions. Allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, prepare the coconut whipped cream according to recipe directions. Refrigerate until ready to use, for up to 3 days.
When ready to assemble, place one cornmeal on a plate or cake platter, flat-side up. Scoop half the coconut cream on top, smoothing to cover the entire surface of the cake. Sprinkle with half the blueberries and half the strawberries.
Top with the second cornmeal cake, again with the flat side facing up. Top with the remaining coconut cream, smoothing to cover the entire surface. Place the remaining strawberries and blueberries on top.
Serve immediately, or allow to chill in the fridge for up to 30 minutes.
Use whatever fresh fruit or berries you like and have available. Fresh peaches, cherries, blackberries, nectarines; really any sweet summer fruit would be great atop this cake.
If you don't like the flavor of coconut cream or prefer not to use it, freshly whipped heavy cream sweetened with maple syrup will work will in its place.
Alternatively, make a batch of each (coconut and regular whipped cream) and allow guests to serve themselves depending on their dietary preferences.