Friday, June 6, 2014

Tropical Berry Shortcakes with Coconut Whipped Cream

Tropical Berry Shortcakes with Coconut Whipped Cream

 "Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did." 
 (Dr. William Butler, 17th Century English Writer referring to the strawberry)

Yum With a near 2,000 year history, the strawberry has stood the test of time .  A symbol of Venus, the Goddess of Love, the strawberry's heart shape and deep red color continue to evoke thoughts of love and romance today.  Legend has it that if you break a strawberry in half and share it with the opposite sex you will fall in love with each other.

Shortcake, on the other hand, hails from Europe.  Technically a biscuit, true shortcake uses baking powder for leavening with the remaining ingredients including flour, shortening of some sort, cream, and a little sugar for sweetness.  Crumbly in texture and similar to scones, shortcakes are usually prepared round.

Miss Eliza Leslie
But who put the strawberries and shortcake together?  While no one is exactly certain, food historians agree that the Strawberry Shortcake is an American creation.  Most certainly created earlier, the first recorded Strawberry Shortcake recipe can be found in Miss Leslie's Ladies Receipt Book, published in 1847, and Strawberry Shortcake parties are said to have been popular in the 1850's to celebrate the coming of summer.

Today Strawberry Shortcakes continue to be an American Tradition, however evolution brings us everything from the traditional versions to healthier whole grain versions to mixed berry versions to berries over Angel Food Cake versions.  What doesn't change though, are the berries.

Strawberries, some sort of biscuit or cake and whipped cream... the essence of summer.  When approached by a representative of Driscoll's Berries to create my version of a Strawberry Shortcake in celebration of National Strawberry Shortcake Day, saying "Yes!" didn't take much thought.

With an over 100 year history of their own, Driscoll's is a brand widely trusted and available in our local stores.  It was 1904 when friends Joseph "Ed" Reidter and R.O Driscoll first began growing strawberries in the Pajaro Valley in California.  Today Driscoll's heritage of family farming continues with Miles Reiter, Ed's grandson, at the helm of the company and Eric Reiter, Ed's great grandson continuing the business of strawberry farming in California.

Tropical Berry Shortcakes with Coconut Whipped Cream

Strawberry Shortcakes, with their topping of luscious whipped cream and butter filled biscuits had become a thing of the past for our family when my kids became lactose intolerant a few years back.  However, working on a vegan version, we've brought dairy free coconut oils and creams into the picture bringing this Vegan Tropical Berry Shortcake that brought oohs and ahhs from around my table.

I won't say that this post didn't come without a bit of work though.  Leaving my baskets of fresh organic Driscoll's berries on the counter as I finished up errands, I returned home to empty baskets and a very happy teenage boy.  Satisfied that he was making healthy choices, we purchased round two of the luscious berries the next day and set to making the biscuits.

Using coconut oil for the shortening, these biscuits bake up beautifully tender and become positively irresistible with a light sprinkle of turbinado sugar before they baked.  I know the irresistibility for a fact as I left the freshly baked biscuits on the counter to cool only to return to less than half the batch remaining as a certain hungry husband commented at how wonderful these "awesome muffins" were.

Vegan Biscuits

On to round 3.  Choosing my time carefully, I decided a Monday morning while the kids were at school and my husband off to work seemed an optimum choice.  Restraining myself to only eating a few of the berries, I set a mixture of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and good ole strawberries into a bowl with a sprinkle of sugar and a handful of diced mango.  The biscuits came together in no time, and filled the kitchen with heavenly aromas of freshly baked good as they set out to cool.

But how to top our creation in a dairy free yet still traditional way?  Vegan Coconut Whipped Cream is the answer.  Silky smooth and lending a lovely coconut, tropical touch to our Berry Shortcakes, our Strawberry Shortcake version attained the status of a "smash hit" and has graced our table not less than three times since its creation.

Our thanks to Driscoll's for coupons and berry inspiration... without it Strawberry Shortcake would have remained something our family looked at from afar, but with a little evolution we have a version our whole family can enjoy.  What's your take on Strawberry Shortcake?

Tropical Berry Shortcakes with Coconut Whipped Cream

Tropical Berry Shortcakes with Coconut Whipped Cream
Light and airy shortcakes come together with sweetened organic berries and a dollop of whipped cream for a sweet summer tradition.  Change up the berries to your taste for your own personal version.

1 package Driscoll's Organic Strawberries, sliced
1 pint Driscoll's Organic Blueberries
1 pint Driscoll's Organic Blackberries
1 pint Driscoll's Organic Raspberries
1 cup chopped mango
2-3 tsp granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup milk (we used non-dairy rice milk)
turbinado sugar

Coconut Whipped Cream (Liv Life Recipe)

Mix berries and mango together in a medium bowl with sugar and allow to stand for at least 30 minutes.  May be done a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.
Vegan Coconut Whipped Cream

Preheat oven to 425º.

Place the flours, baking powder, brown sugar and salt into a medium bowl and stir.  Cut in the coconut oil until mostly worked into the flours.  Add the milk and stir with a light hand just until incorporated.

Dump onto a lightly floured surface and knead 2-3 times.  Pat and then roll into a 3/4-inch disc and cut into desired shapes (traditional is round... we use a drinking glass to cut).

Place rounds onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat (or sprayed with cooking spray) and brush lightly with milk.  Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and place into the preheated oven.

Bake until golden brown, 10-13 minutes (ours were done at the 12 minute point)  Cool.

To create Berry Shortcakes, split the biscuits and spoon sweetened berries onto the bottom portion.  Top with whipped cream, then replace the top of the biscuit.  Enjoy!

Note:  Liv Life received coupons for Driscoll's Berries and a small gift card for other ingredients to put this recipe together.  All thoughts and opinions are my own... Driscoll's has been a part of our life for as long as I can remember.  I can wholeheartedly recommend Driscoll's Berries (we prefer the organic versions) and am happy to spread the berry love!


  1. Just beautiful shortcakes! With fresh berries.. and coconut whipped cream sounds amazing!

  2. Oh my, that looks really good, and I love the vegan coconut whipped cream addition, delicious!

  3. Oh my goodness gracious!! This looks amazing Kim! I loved that whipped cream from the other day and I cannot resist a good biscuit. Seriously, it is impossible.

  4. How fun to learn the history behind this! :-) Mmm, it all looks so delicious. :-)

  5. So funny Kim that it took three attempts to get these together. It sounds like the way things happen around my house. So glad you finally made them though, they look fabulous and I love your combination of berries and mango.

  6. Mmmm.....yummy!!!! Love your tropical twist too! I surprised my kids and their sleepover friends the other weekend with strawberry shortcake for breakfast (with Driscoll's berries!), and they were super happy campers :-) I've never tried making coconut whipped cream-another project for my summer cooking bucket list! Have a wonderful weekend!


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