Coconut, Strawberry and Rhubarb Shortcake

Posted by in Dessert, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian


Dessert during a holiday dinner is always bit of a fuss around our house. It begins with a debate; my mother representing the butter, flour and chocolate-filled minority and my sister and I on the plant-based, coconut oil-defending side. Our parents, though supportive of our nutritional needs, yearn for the days when a Trader Joe’s frozen chocolate cake was the go-to for celebratory desserts. Not a thing against good ol’ TJ’s but, I’d like to think we can do better.

I will admit that some quinoa flour-based cakes have gone awry… That is not the case on this one. Sweetened with dates and laced with hints of coconut; a contented, lighthearted glow will appear on the faces of those seated at the dinner table after serving this cake.



Coconut Shortcake Loaf

  • 1/2 c earth balance vegan butter
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, room temp
  • 1/2 c each: coconut flour, brown rice flour, gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 c medjool dates, pitted, soaked in warm water, and pulverized
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • the zest of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan. Combine the flours, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

With an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until they hold soft, firm peaks. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the vegan butter, applesauce and date until dates are well mashed and incorporated. Beat in the egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest.

Slowly add the flour mix to the wet ingredients. In three parts, fold the egg whites into the batter. This will require some oomph – don’t worry if the egg whites seem to deflate. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.

Set loaf aside to cool and prep the Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

  • 1/3 c water
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 3 c hulled and halved ripe strawberries
  • 5-6 cleaned and diced rhubarb stalks
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1/2 c shredded or flaked coconut

In a medium sauce pan, add all of the ingredients except the coconut. Over medium heat, stirring every few minutes, allow the fruit to soften and break down. When sauce has thickened a bit, reduce heat to low-medium and cook until the the water has reduced down and the fruit sugars have caramelized – about 30 minutes.  If sauce is too tart, sprinkle with a bit of coconut sugar.

Once the loaf has cooled enough to be handled, run a knife around the edges and remove from the pan. Slice into 10 or so pieces and set each on a dessert plate. Spoon the Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce over each then sprinkle with the remaining coconut flakes and a bit of oat granola if you wish. Now eat!