3 Secrets for Gluten-Free Vegan Shortcakes
Gluten-free baking is tricky. Gluten-free and vegan baking can be even trickier! All the rules change. I have never produced so much sub-par, sometimes inedible food before!
After making gluten-free vegan shortcakes seven times in the last three weeks, I finally have made some that are not only edible, but palatable, and downright delicious! I served them to guests yesterday topped with strawberries from my garden and whipped coconut cream. They passed the guest test! And now the recipe is ready to share with you. Most of the guests didn’t even realize that this delectable dessert was gluten-free (nor did they care–except for one guest).
I first tried deglutenizing a vegan recipe that worked well from Vegan for Everybody: Foolproof Plant-Based Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and In-Between by America’s Test Kitchen. This is currently my favorite cookbook!
The problem is: gluten-free flours don’t absorb fats like their glutenous counterparts. The result: dense, greasy blobs bearing more resemblance to hockey pucks than to shortcakes.
I finally had success when I veganized a recipe from The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook Volume 2: New Whole-Grain Flour Blend, 75+ Dairy-Free Recipes by America’s Test Kitchen. I substituted unsweetened coconut yogurt for dairy yogurt. Instead of the egg, I added ¼ cup more yogurt.
Here are the three secrets that I discovered in experimenting with this recipe:
Secret #1: Use a scale for measuring the flour.
This is a universal secret for all gluten-free baking. Measuring by weight is more accurate than using a measuring cup. Invest in a digital scale to weigh the flour in order to get the most reliable results. If you are in the market for a scale, I recommend this one that is user-friendly and accurate: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale with Pull-Out Display, 11-Pound
Secret #2: Let the batter rest for 30 minutes.
Gluten-free flours need extra time to absorb moisture. This is true for all gluten-free flours. Get into the habit of letting gluten-free batters and doughs rest for 30 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. This step is especially important for this whole-grain blend which includes ground golden flaxseeds.
Secret #3: Use part whole grains
Gluten-free flour blends are notoriously low in nutritional value. By using a flour blend that contains at least 40% whole grains, you have more protein, less starch, and more nutritional value. The higher protein content creates a better structure when the shortcakes rise. I substituted America’s Test Kitchen’s whole-grain gluten-free flour blend containing teff flour, brown rice flour, ground golden flaxseed, and sweet rice flour. For a vegan version, this worked better than all-purpose flour blend based on white rice flour and starches.
Give me your feedback.
If you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out for you. I haven’t tried other flour blends with this recipe. I also have not tried using coconut oil instead of vegan butter. If you try any of these variations or do other tweaks, I’d love to hear from you.
Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcakes with Coconut Whipped Cream
- 3 pints strawberries stemmed
- 4-6 tablespoons sugar
- 255 g whole-grain gluten-free flour blend 2 cups
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons powdered psyllium husk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk yogurt
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1-2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Coconut Whipped Cream
- Mash one-third of the strawberries in a bowl with a potato masher or fork. Stir in sugar. Cut remaining strawberries in quarters (halves for small strawberries) and stir into mashed strawberries. Cover and set aside for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours. Or refrigerate up to 6 hours ahead. Taste and adjust sweetness before serving.
- Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, psyllium, salt, and baking soda together in a mixing bowl. Mix in butter with a pastry blender or fork until lumps are about the size of a pea. Whisk yogurt, oil, and lemon juice together in a bowl. Stir yogurt mixture into flour mixture until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 450° F. Place a rimmed baking sheet inside a second one and line it with parchment paper.
- Using a heaping ¼ -cup spring-loaded scoop or a greased ¼ -cup measuring cup, drop 8 scoops of dough close to each other on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake 15 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking, until bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes.
- Split each shortcake in half horizontally and place in individual bowls. Using a slotted spoon, place strawberries on top, then dollop with whipped cream. Serve immediately.
Sweeten strawberries with stevia and reduce sugar. Gluten-Free Biscuits: Reduce sugar to 1 teaspoon. Omit sugar on top.