Continuing with the desserts suggested by the Facebook blog followers, @vintagebakerblog, I took a stab at vegan baking. Surprisingly it turned out delightful!
A few friends of mine are vegetarian or vegan, so it is nice to branch out and bake or cook something that they can eat. It was also a great way to challenge myself and test my skills.
I have been baking non-vegan strawberry shortcakes for a few years and honestly the vegan version tastes almost identical, aside from the light coconut flavor. The coconut flavor adds to the summer time feeling that this dessert brings.
As you will see in the ingredient list, agar agar powder is optional when making the coconut whipped cream. The powder will help stabilize the whipped cream, so that it will stay fluffy. I ended up not using it, but next time I would probably do so.
The recipe makes about 7 shortcakes, and although delicious, I do not need to eat 7 shortcakes. I packaged the desserts up and gave away most of them to my sister (vegetarian), a friend (vegetarian and dairy-free), a co-worker, and then saved one each for my boyfriend and I. Everyone enjoyed them!
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Vegan Strawberry Shortcake with Coconut Whipped Cream
2 Cups Strawberries, sliced
2 Cups All Purpose Flour Unbleached
1/2 Cup Organic Cane Sugar
1/2 Cup Unrefined Coconut Oil, solid and chilled
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil, melted
2 Teaspoons Turbinado Sugar
Coconut Whipped Cream:
1 14 Ounce Can Coconut Cream, refrigerated for 24 hours
4 – 6 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon Agar Agar Powder, optional
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the flour, cane sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and whisk together. Add the solid coconut oil and using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the coconut oil into the dry ingredients until the mixture begins to form fine crumbs (it will look like wet sand).
Combine the almond milk and the vanilla extract in a small bowl, whisk together. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until the mixture forms a soft dough and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. If your dough is to dry and crumbly, add additional almond milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
Turn the dough out onto a parchment paper lined surface sprinkled with flour and shape into a circle that is about 6 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Using a 2 inch round pastry cutter or a drinking glass, cut the dough into 7 circles. Gently place each circle onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush the dough circles with melted coconut oil and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops and edges are lightly golden.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
While the shortcakes are cooling, make the whipped cream. Chill a large mixing bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes. Remove the coconut cream from the refrigerator and remove the lid. The cream should have separated from the coconut liquid. Scoop out the thickened cream into the bowl from the freezer. Dispose of or repurpose the liquid in another recipe.
Beat the cream for 30 seconds with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Then add the vanilla extract, powdered sugar and agar agar powder, if using, and mix until creamy and smooth – about 1 minute. Add additional powdered sugar for a sweeter whipped cream.
To assemble, using a serrated knife, cut the shortcakes in half. Divide the strawberries between the cake bottoms and top with a dollop of the whipped cream. Place the cake tops on top and serve. Enjoy!
*For sweeter strawberries, I macerated them with 2 tablespoons of cane sugar. To do the same, place the sliced strawberries in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of cane sugar, mix, and allow them to sit for 20 minutes.
**The coconut whipped cream will last in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Recipe courtesy of The Mostly Vegan Blog