Strawberry Shortcake Parfait layers a lightly-sweetened traditional shortcake, fresh strawberries, and vanilla whipped cream. Low in sugar and vegan, this makes for a healthier-than-usual dessert. You can layer this recipe in a wine glass for a dinner party or romantic dinner dessert. Or make it in mason jars to bring to a picnic or a potluck or just surprise someone with a treat on their doorstep or in their lunch.
This recipe makes 10 strawberry shortcake parfaits.
Table of Contents
(click the links below to skip to the section you’re looking for)
- Vegan Shortcake Recipe
- Vegan Whipped Cream Recipe
- How to Assemble Strawberry Shortcake Parfaits
- Ingredient Substitutions
♫ Listening to ♫
Strawberry Shortcake by Melanie Martinez
The term shortcake was first documented in 1588 in London as a lighter and crunchy shortbread. Then in 1845-1847, an American cookbook recipe called strawberry cake layered shortcakes with strawberries and royal icing. I don’t know about you, but a hard biscuit with royal icing kind of reminds me of those oatmeal cookies made by Mother’s back in the day. Luckily, baking soda and baking powder became a thing shortly thereafter, and someone (probably a brilliant female) decided to swap out the royal icing with whipped cream.
My kiddos went to a Waldorf school. They celebrated every Mayday (May 1) with strawberry shortcake, and all the kids danced around a maypole. So, for years, every Mayday I went to the farmer’s market and bought a flat of organic strawberries. I sliced the strawberries during the mayday festival while I watched the kids dance. It was my annual tradition for the longest time. But if you’re not pagan or a hippie, you can make this on June 14 for Strawberry Shortcake Day instead.
This recipe is a modified version of my strawberry shortcake hors d’oeuvres recipe. I’ve never made a trifle, but I imagine these to be like easy mini strawberry shortcake trifles.
(jump to the substitutions section to see ingredient details and suggestions for substitutions)
To save time, skip making the shortcake and use store-bought vegan vanilla cake in its place. It won’t be a traditional strawberry shortcake, but it will still be delicious.
- 3 cups (390g) unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (12g) baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon (1-2g) salt
- 5 tablespoons (65g) cold coconut oil or vegan butter or margarine
- 5 tablespoons (82g) organic, raw, or vegan sugar*
- 1 cup (225g) nondairy milk
How to Make Vegan Shortcake
prep time for dough: 6 min | prep time for cutting out 2 trays of shortcake biscuits: 12 min | bake time: 14 min
Use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook to save time and effort.
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl: 3 cups (390g) flour, 1 tablespoon (12g) baking powder, ¼ teaspoon (1-2g) salt, and 5 tablespoons (82g) organic, raw, or vegan sugar.
Cut in 5 tablespoons (65g) cold coconut oil or vegan butter or margarine (I like earth balance) by adding little pieces at a time and mixing until the biscuit dough is crumbly.
Slowly add 1 cup (225g) nondairy milk while mixing, until all the dough is a uniform consistency.
There are quite a few different ways you can handle this next step. Here are some options.
- Drop dollops of shortcake dough onto your baking stone or baking sheet.
- Press the shortcake dough onto a lightly floured cutting board or a lightly-floured silicone rolling mat. Aim for a thickness of about ½ inch, Cut out shapes using a biscuit cutter or a cookie cutter. I chose the biscuit cutter that was the same diameter or slightly smaller that my mason jars. If you want to make mini strawberry shortcake parfaits, you could choose to layer yours in shot glasses and serve them with cocktail forks.
- Press the biscuit dough into a parchment-lined baking pan, and then cut out the shortbread biscuits using a biscuit cutter after it bakes.
I like option 2 the best, so I did that for these photos, but I have also had success with the other methods.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, depending on your oven. My oven runs hot, so I bake my dolloped shortbread biscuits and my cutout shortbread biscuits for 13 minutes. After 8 minutes, I rotate the pans so the sides that were at the front of the oven are now at the back of the oven. Then I bake for another 5-6 minutes after rotating. (If you’re trying option 3, bake a pan filled with shortbread for 25 minutes.)
Remove from the oven and transfer to cooling racks. I ended up with 20 shortcake biscuits.
prep time: 10 min
To wash the strawberries in advance, rinse them in a large bowl filled with mostly water and a splash of vinegar. Leave them in the bowl of vinegar water for at least a minute before rinsing them, drying them, and storing them in a tupperware in the fridge.
Rinse 2 pounds of strawberries.
Remove the stems from the rinsed strawberries by cutting a V shape in the top. Compost the stems.
Slice 5 of the best looking strawberries in half in the direction so that the V you cut in the top will be the top of the heart. These will be the ones you garnish the tops of your parfaits with.
Slice the rest of the strawberries and transfer them into a bowl with a lid, if you have one.
Sprinkle the sliced strawberries with 1-2 tablespoons of vegan sugar. See the substitutions section below for more info on vegan sugar. This step is optional.
Cover and chill until you’re ready to assemble your strawberry shortcake parfait cups.
(jump to the substitutions section to see ingredient details and suggestions for substitutions)
To save time, use store-bought vegan whipped cream instead of making your own. See the FAQ section below for brands of vegan whipped cream that I recommend.
- 2 cans of coconut cream, chilled in the fridge overnight
- 2 tablespoons vanilla
- ½ cup vegan or organic powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
How to Make Vegan Whipped Cream
prep time: 5 min
Whisk the contents of 2 cans of coconut cream, 2 tablespoons vanilla, ½ cup powdered sugar, and ½ teaspoon xantham gum using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a handheld electric hand mixer. Stop whisking as soon as the consistency is smooth and light and fluffy.
Chill the whipped cream until you’re ready to assemble your strawberry shortcake parfaits.
prep time: 10 min
Cool the shortcakes completely before starting to assemble. As soon as you assemble them, they will start to get soggy, so try to assemble right before serving.
Assemble the strawberry shortcake parfaits by placing a shortcake in the bottom of each glass.
Top each shortcake with a layer of strawberries. Then add a dollop of vegan whipped cream.
Repeat these layers again until your glass or jar is full.
Garnish the top with the strawberry hearts you made before you sliced all your strawberries.
If you make this strawberry shortcake parfait recipe, snap a pic, post to instagram, and tag me @vegandollhouse. I love to see your creations! You can also message me through instagram or email me if you have any questions about the recipe. I check IG more than email, so if you’re in a hurry, use IG messaging.
Is there a way to make this strawberry parfait even healthier?
This strawberry shortcake parfait is already quite healthy for a dessert (it has 60% of your daily recommended Vitamin D!). For an even healthier version, you can replace the vegan whipped cream in this recipe with vegan vanilla yogurt. Not only will yogurt be lower in fat, but it also has probiotics which are great for digestion. Some of my favorite brands of vegan vanilla yogurt are So Delicious, Kite Hill, and Forager.
What brands of vegan whipped cream do you recommend?
To save time, use store-bought vegan whipped cream to make strawberry shortcake parfaits. Here is a list of brands of whipped cream that I like. If it’s not on this list, you might not want to buy it, because I’ve tried some brands that are quite bad.
- So Delicious Coco Whip is like a vegan version of cool whip. You can find it at Sprouts, Smart & Final, and Raleys in the freezer section.
- 365 Non-dairy Plant-based Whipped Topping is the Whole Foods generic brand of vegan whipped cream that is also similar to cool whip. You can find it at Whole Foods and 365 stores in the freezer section.
- Non-Dairy Reddi Wip comes in almond or coconut. You can find it at FoodsCo and Target in the refrigerator section.
What is the best way to store strawberry shortcake parfaits?
The best way to store strawberry shortcake is before you assemble it. Store the sliced strawberries for up to 3 days in a container with a lid in the fridge. Store the homemade vegan whipped cream in a container with a lid in the fridge. If you’re using store-bought whip, follow the storage instructions on the package. Store the shortcakes in a ziplock bag in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How many calories are in strawberry shortcake?
These strawberry shortcake parfaits are 317 calories for each jar.
How long does strawberry shortcake last?
If you store each strawberry shortcake ingredient separately in airtight containers in the back of the fridge, they should last a week. You can make them last up to 3 months by freezing them.
- Flour: I use unbleached, all-purpose flour for almost everything, but you can use other flours if you prefer. If you avoid gluten, replace the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend to make these strawberry shortcake parfaits gluten free.
- Baking Powder: Keep in mind that baking powder does expire, so it works best if it’s fresh/newish. I use non-aluminum baking powder because my memory is already terrible, and I don’t want Alzheimer’s Disease. But if all you have is regular baking powder, that will work. If you’re out of baking powder, you can replace the tablespoon of baking powder in this recipe with 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
- Butter: My favorite kind of vegan butter is the Organic Whipped Earth Balance. If you avoid soy, you can replace the vegan butter or margarine in this recipe with an equal amount of cold coconut oil.
- Sugar: If you don’t have vegan sugar at the store you shop at, you can use organic sugar or raw sugar or even brown sugar. Just be careful of conventional granulated sugar, because it’s sometimes not vegan. If you avoid sugar, you can replace the sugar in this recipe with maple syrup, agave, or cassava syrup.
- Vanilla: Do not substitute imitation vanilla for the real vanilla extract in this recipe. Imitation vanilla is often made from something that comes out of beaver butts. I can’t make this shit up.
- Coconut Cream: Coconut cream can be found at Safeway, Sprouts, Target, and Walmart, but you can also buy this organic coconut cream from Amazon. If you prefer using canned coconut milk, replace the 2 cans of coconut cream in this recipe with 4 cans of full-fat coconut milk. When you take them out of the fridge, just use the solid part only from the can, and save the liquid for making smoothies or coconut curry. Another option is to use vegan whipping cream.
- Xanthan Gum: The xanthan gum in this recipe is optional. The purpose of it is to make the whipped cream more stable at room temperature. However, the strawberry shortcake is just as delicious if you leave this ingredient out.
* I use mostly organic ingredients when I cook. I realize that not everyone has the disposable income to buy only organic ingredients. So, I only specify organic on the ingredients that matter: when buying the organic (or non-GMO) version is the only way to ensure that an item is vegan.