Summer is quickly approaching and this Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake Mini Cake makes an easy, and pretty, summer dessert! This small batch mini cake features two layers of light and moist cake with fluffy Whipped Coconut Cream and delicately sweetened fresh strawberries.
Mini Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake
Is it just me, or is strawberry shortcake the epitome of summer desserts? There probably is a good reason for that. Strawberries are typically at their peak in the summer. And strawberry shortcake may be just one of the easiest desserts on record.
Ok, maybe the easiest, but it comes pretty darn close.
This recipe for Strawberry Shortcake Cake, elevates the classic dessert.
- Mini Layer Cake – We are turning the strawberry shortcake into a delightfully pretty mini layer cake. This is a 6-inch cake which can serve 4 to 6 people. Depending on how big you like your cake slices.
- Gluten Free Cake – We’ll talk about the flour blend we use in a second. What is most important is that this gluten free mini cake is moist and tender.
- Lightened Whipped Cream – In keeping with my love of using canned coconut milk, we are using it to make dairy-free Whipped Coconut Cream.
- Delicately Sweet Strawberries – Fresh strawberries are key for strawberry shortcake. And to keep their natural flavors intact, we are sweetening them slightly with honey.
- Light Summer Dessert – There is a time and a place for a rich chocolate cake with fudge frosting. However, for summer, it is nice to have a lighter dessert in your repertoire. That doesn’t always have to be ice cream!
Gluten Free Mini Strawberry Layer Cake
The flour blend for this mini gluten free cake can be considered Paleo – because they are grain free. As with a few of my other gluten free recipes – like the Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins and Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes, – I am finding that the texture of gluten free baked goods turn out best when there is a blend of flours used.
Paleo/Almond Flour Blend
- Blanched Almond Flour
- The base in the flour blend. Almond flour produces a light and fluffy cake-like bake. Which makes it a great option for cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and even gluten free cookies. I will always recommend a blanched, super-fine almond flour. This means the flour is ground as fine as it can be (before turning into butter), and the skins are removed.
- Arrowroot Starch/Flour
- Flour and starch are used interchangeably in the package titles. Arrowroot aids in the tender texture we like in baked goods. It also adds structure to the crumb.
- Coconut Flour
- Ground from dried coconut meat, coconut flour is super absorbent. It should be blended with other flours as it does not work well as a 1:1 swap. Its absorbency allows swapping granulated sugar for liquid sweeteners – like maple syrup or honey. I also find it counter-balances other wet ingredients in the recipe.
- Tapioca Starch/Flour
- Another where flour and starch are used interchangeably in package titles. Tapioca adds a little more chew to the baked good – where normally we’d get that from gluten in all-purpose flour. And I have found in baked goods, it gives a ‘crisp’ exterior.
What You Need To Make Strawberry Shortcake Cake
- Fresh Strawberries
- Whipped Cream – Either my recipe for Whipped Coconut Cream, or any whipped cream of your choice.
- Blanched Almond Flour
- Arrowroot Starch/Flour
- Coconut Flour
- Tapioca Starch/Flour
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda – We need both for the lift/rise of the cake, and texture.
- Granulated Sugar – I have started using Organic Cane Sugar. Which is easily found in any grocery. It is not processed like white table sugar.
- Unsalted Butter
- Sour Cream – I have only tested the recipe with sour cream. Greek yogurt may also work.
- Milk – Any kind of milk you prefer. I use Unsweetened Coconut Milk.
- Vanilla Extract – or – Vanilla Powder – I have become fond of Vanilla Powder because it has a more intense vanilla flavor. Though, it is on the pricey side. Pure vanilla extract still works too.
- Eggs – Two eggs for this recipe.
- 2 – 6-Inch Round Cake Pans
- Parchment Paper
- Hand Held Mixer – or – Stand Mixer – An exciting discovery I made is that I can still use my KitchenAid stand mixer for small batch baking. There is a 3-quart mixing bowl that fits on tilt-head mixers and works with the standard attachments. Yay!
- Mixing Bowls
Questions and Tips For Making Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake Cake
Probably not. The texture and ratios would likely need to be adjusted, as I find 1:1 gluten free flour to be much drier than the almond flour blend I use.
I have not tested this, and cannot say how the cake would turn out.
Sure! You will just want to watch your bake time – the cupcakes may not take as long to bake. You may only have enough batter to make a half dozen or so cupcakes.
Adding whipped egg whites to cake batter adds to the rise of the cake, and makes the cake light and tender. You can skip this step if you prefer, but keep in mind the cake may not turn out as light and tall.
I haven’t tested this, but think greek yogurt can work.
No. These are simply the ingredients I like to (mostly) bake with these days. Unsweetened coconut milk is what I drink at home. The organic cane sugar is something I am incorporating more into my baking because it is not processed like white table sugar. And the vanilla powder – well, it just has a stronger vanilla flavor. You can swap in any milk, granulated white sugar, and vanilla extract – if you prefer.
My go-to lately has been the store brand from Target. It has a light flavor, whips up light and fluffy, and I find the cans usually have a higher ratio of coconut solids to liquid. Which is what we want, since we are beating the solids to make the whipped cream.
Nope! You can leave the natural if you prefer!
I recommend covering the cake with a cake dome and refrigerating. This is because of the whipped cream.
More Mini Cake Recipes For Summer
- Mini Pineapple Carrot Cake
- No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake
- Mini Blueberry Angel Food Cake
- Honey and Orange Mini Bundt Cakes
- Mini Orange Creamsicle No-Bake Cheesecake
Strawberry Shortcake Layer Cake – Gluten Free
- 3/4 cup blanched almond flour
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch/flour
- 3 tablespoons coconut flour
- 3 tablespoons tapioca starch/flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (I use Organic Cane Sugar)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons milk, any kind (I use Unsweetened Coconut Milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 8 ounces fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional – to sweeten the strawberries)
- Whipped Coconut Cream (optional)
- Prepare the strawberries – Slice or chop the strawberries, add to a small bowl, and sweeten with a little honey (optional). Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line the bottom of the cake pans with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit. Lightly grease and flour the cake pans.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot starch/flour, coconut flour, tapioca starch/flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Measure out the liquid ingredients into a liquid measuring cup – Add the sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract to a liquid measuring cup.
- Separate the eggs – In a medium mixing bowl, or 3-quart bowl for your stand mixer (see Notes), add the egg whites. Then, add the egg yolks to the liquid ingredients in your liquid measuring cup. Whisk/stir together the wet ingredients in the liquid measuring cup until thoroughly combined.
- Whip the egg whites – Using a hand held mixer with the whisk attachment (or stand mixer), beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they reach stiff peaks. Transfer the beaten egg whites to a different bowl and set aside. This way, you can use the same mixing bowl to finish the cake batter.
- In the same mixing bowl you used to beat the egg whites, add the butter and sugar. Use a hand held mixer (or stand mixer), and beat on medium-high speed until the mix is light and fluffy.
- Add 1/2 of the wet ingredients to the butter/sugar mix. Beat on medium speed until just combined. Reduce the speed to low and spoon in 1/2 of the dry ingredients – beat until no dry streaks remain. Add in the remaining wet ingredients – beat until just combined. Finish with the remaining dry ingredients and beat until no dry streaks remain.
- Fold the egg whites into the batter – Add 1/2 of the egg whites to the mixed cake batter. Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter until mostly incorporated. Add the remaining egg whites and continue to gently fold until no egg white streaks remain.
- Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 23 – 25 minutes, or until the cakes are springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Note – High altitude bakers – your cakes may not take the full time to bake. Start checking at 23 minutes.
- Cool the cakes in the pans set on a wire cooling rack for at least 10 minutes. Then, invert the cakes onto the wire rack and carefully remove the parchment if it stuck to the cakes. Flip right side up and allow the cake to cool completely on the rack.
- Prepare the whipped cream – While the cakes are cooling, make the Whipped Coconut Cream, if using. Otherwise, store-bought whipped cream works. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the cake.
- Assemble the cake – Place one of the cakes on your serving platter. Top with half of the whipped cream and strawberries. Place the second cake on top, and repeat. The cake is best enjoyed the day it is baked. Enjoy!
- 3-Quart Mixing Bowl – If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer (with tilt-head), I have found the 3-quart mixing bowl is a great option to make small batch recipes. The regular size attachments work with the smaller bowl.