Strawberry Shortcake Cups

Makes 12 to 14 cups

Remember that little doll dressed in a pink and white dress with strawberries all over it? She even smelled like strawberries. Well, I played with my beloved Strawberry Shortcake doll often when I was a child—so often that, to this day, if someone mentions strawberry shortcake, I think of that doll rather than the delicious summery dessert stuffed with fresh strawberries and fluffy cream. These tasty, bite-size versions of that classic dessert are the perfect size to share with a pint-size friend or doll, if you wish.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons palm shortening, melted
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 6 sheets vegan graham crackers, crushed
  • 1 (15- to 17-ounce) box vegan, gluten-free vanilla cake mix
  • ¼ to ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 (7-ounce) can nondairy whipped cream
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

Directions

Preheat the oven according to the directions on the boxed cake mix. Line a cupcake pan with liners.

In a small bowl, stir together the melted shortening, brown sugar, and crushed graham crackers until a crust-like mixture forms. Firmly press 2 tablespoons of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Refrigerate while you make the cake batter.

Make the cake mix following the directions on the box, using ¼ cup applesauce in place of each egg (up to 2 eggs total). Scoop the batter into the liners over the graham cracker crusts. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

Top each cake with whipped cream and sliced strawberries and serve at once.

Note: In order to keep your shortcakes intact, take the time to cool them completely. But they’ll taste just as good if your patience wears thin and you dig in while warm. (And, frankly, I wouldn’t blame you if you can’t wait!)

Reprinted with permission from “Crazy Easy Vegan Desserts” © 2018 by Heather Saffer. Published by Sterling Epicure. Photography © Sterling Publishing cp., Inc. This creative cookbook features 75 unbelievably indulgent gluten-free and vegan desserts. Saffer provides alternatives to buttermilk, eggs, milk, flour and butter that won’t make you cringe or wait hours to prepare ingredients. You’ll find recipes prepared in less than 20 minutes, ones with only three ingredients and others that require no baking at all.

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