Whole Wheat Strawberry Shortcake

DessertBakingShortcakeStrawberryYogurt

Sweetened strawberries set on a fluffy biscuit and topped with light cream, but with a healthy twist. Whole wheat flour and yogurt up the nutritional value and give us one more reason to eat strawberry shortcake.

Photography Credit: Alison Bickel

When I think about strawberry shortcake, the word that comes to mind is wholesome. It’s a quintessentially American sweet that conjures up images of grandmothers patting together biscuit dough and whipping cream by hand.

But just because it’s wholesome doesn’t mean there isn’t room to make it a touch more healthy. This is exactly what I had in mind when I came up with these Whole Wheat Strawberry Shortcakes.

A Healthy Spin on Strawberry Shortcake

A few little tricks give these shortcakes a healthier spin on the standard recipe.

  • The biscuits have less butter and more whole-grain flour than your typical recipe.
  • The whipped topping is equal parts Greek yogurt and heavy cream.

This means fewer calories and less saturated fat. The same goes for the whipped topping, which is also made with yogurt (and the beneficial “good” bacteria that comes along for the ride).

Serving them open-faced keeps the calories in check. All that being said, they remain a scrumptious treat. You can even serve leftover shortcakes for breakfast, warmed in the oven and spread with a favorite jam.

Two plates with healthier strawberry shortcake set on a table with white linens. Shortcake is piled with sliced strawberries and whipped yogurt topping. A wire basket of strawberries is to the left of the plates.

WHAT’S THE BEST WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR?

This recipe is pretty flexible in terms of the type of flour you use. Standard whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, and white whole wheat flour will all do the job.

Make sure your whole wheat flour hasn’t been sitting in your cupboard for too long, since it can go bad sooner than white flour. (Tip: store it in the fridge or freezer for longevity). If you don’t have whole wheat, just use all-purpose flour instead.

And if you’re looking to make this gluten-free, use a standard cup-for-cup gluten-free all-purpose flour, like this. It should yield good results, though you might not get quite the same rise.

Two plates with easy strawberry shortcake set on a table with white linens. Shortcake is piled with sliced strawberries and whipped yogurt topping.

WHY USE GREEK YOGURT WITH WHIPPED CREAM?

In addition to the nutritional upside of using yogurt in place of heavy cream, it also makes the topping more stable.

You can confidently whip it several hours or even a day ahead and it will stay reasonably fluffy until dessert time. It also adds a mild tangy flavor, which plays off the berries quite deliciously. You need a thick, Greek-style yogurt to make this work. If you can’t find Greek yogurt, make your own using this simple method.

SWAPS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

One of my favorite ways to play around with shortcake is to experiment with other fruits. Frozen raspberries, for example, are excellent when left to thaw and then spooned onto shortcake.

This also means you don’t have to wait for strawberry season to make it. Since raspberries are a tangier berry, you’ll want to bump up the sugar a bit. You can also swap in other berries or try this with sliced stone fruits, such as peaches, plums, and nectarines.

Close up view of healthy strawberry shortcake on a plate. A fork has sliced strawberries, whipped yogurt topping and shortcake on it.

MAKE AHEAD TIPS FOR STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

Strawberry shortcake is an excellent make-ahead recipe. If you prep it early in the day, store the strawberries and yogurt cream in separate containers in the fridge until ready to serve.

You can make the shortcakes a day ahead of time and store them in a covered container at room temperature. Reheat them just before serving in a 350°F oven until they’re good and warm. Leftover shortcakes are excellent split in half and heated until crisp in a toaster oven, then slathered with jam.

MORE GREAT STRAWBERRY RECIPES

Whole Wheat Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

  • Prep time: 35 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 shortcakes, 8 servings

Ingredients

For the strawberries:

  • 16-ounces strawberries, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For the shortcakes:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons milk (whatever you have in the fridge)

For the yogurt whipped cream:

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt (use nonfat or full-fat if you can’t find low-fat)

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F.

2 Macerate the berries: Toss together the sliced strawberries and 1 tablespoon sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Sliced strawberries macerating in a small bowl to make easy strawberry shortcake.

3 Mix the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt.

4 Cut the butter into the dry ingredients: Add the butter and use a pastry cutter to incorporate it into the flour. Alternatively, use your fingers to pinch the pieces of butter one-by-one and toss them with the flour until your dough is crumbly, like gravel.

A white bowl with cubed butter, flour and lemon zest to make light strawberry shortcake. The bowl is on a yellow striped linen.

5 Mix the wet ingredients and combine: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, 1/2 cup yogurt, and milk until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir just until the dough comes together in clumps.

A small glass bowl with the wet ingredients for healthy strawberry shortcake. Summer strawberry shortcake dough in a white bowl with a yellow striped towel underneath.

6 Shape the cakes and bake: Turn the dough onto a large, lightly floured baking sheet and firmly pat it into a 5 1/2-inch square. Cut the dough into quarters and separate the four shortcakes so they have room to rise as they bake.

An empty baking sheet on a striped linen. Homemade stawberry shortcake dough in a large square on a baking sheet for an open-faced strawberry shortcake. Homemade strawberry shortcake biscuit dough being sliced into four large squares and set on a baking sheet. Overhead view of unbaked whole wheat shortcakes on a baking sheet for easy strawberry shortcake.

7 Bake the shortcakes: Bake until lightly browned along the bottom, about 25 minutes. When the shortcakes are done, let them cool for at least 15 minutes before using a serrated edge knife to split them in half.

Whole wheat shortcakes for healthier strawberry shortcake on a baking sheet.

8 Make the whipped cream: Put the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract into the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the 3/4 cup yogurt into the whipped cream.

Overhead view of whipped yogurt cream in a stand mixer bowl for a light strawberry shortcake.

9 Assemble the strawberry shortcakes: To assemble, divide the shortcake halves onto 8 small plates. Divide the strawberries among the cakes evenly and top with a generous spoonful of yogurt whipped cream.

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Katie Morford

Katie Morford is the Nutrition Editor for Simply Recipes. She is a writer, registered dietitian, and author of three cookbooks: PREP: The Essential College Cookbook, Rise & Shine: Better Breakfasts for Busy Mornings and Best Lunch Box Ever, which was nominated for an IACP award. Her work has been featured in Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens, Health, Real Simple, Oprah, Parents, Self, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the New York Times, among others. Katie lives in San Francisco with her husband and three daughters.

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Two plates with easy strawberry shortcake set on a table with white linens. Shortcake is piled with sliced strawberries and whipped yogurt topping. A wire basket of strawberries is to the left of the plates.Whole Wheat Strawberry Shortcake