When it came out, we asked Nicole, a prolific cook and guest blogger, to test The conscious cook, by chef Tal Ronnen (of Oprah fame). She sampled split pea soup, whole grain penne with San Marzano tomatoes, and vegan blackberry shortcake with cashew cream. And according to Nicole, “This cookbook is awesome. It really, really impressed me! But she was particularly taken with the recipe for the shortcake, which we were allowed to reproduce. Today we update this recipe!
Vegan blackberry shortcake with a chef’s special touch
Chef Tal Ronnen is known for his innovative use of ingredients. Her creations are wonderful, and I recommend trying the recipe as is, at least the first time. Even so, you may want or need to make substitutions. Here are some suggestions based on the Ingredients FAQ.
What can I use instead of spelled flour?
The vegan shortbread cookies themselves are made with white spelled flour to increase the nutritional content, but you can substitute another wheat flour, if you prefer. Regular spelled flour, whole-wheat pastry flour, or even all-purpose flour are great options.
Black Pepper in Shortcakes? Is it mandatory?
Black pepper adds warmth, intriguing spice and makes this traditional summer dessert perfect for the cooler times of the year. But if you’re not ready for this bold twist, you can just omit it. You can choose to add a splash of vanilla or use a vanilla creamer instead.
I can’t find unsweetened cream, what should I use?
I keep Shelf-stable Nutpods available only for this purpose. They have a full line of unsweetened plain, vanilla, and a great selection of flavors. But if that doesn’t work for you, you can simply substitute light canned coconut milk. If you only have regular canned coconut milk, you can use half coconut milk half water.
Can I skip the basil?
Basil is wonderful with summer fruits, but you can technically ignore it. If you do, there’s no need to steep the sauce for this vegan blackberry shortcake. You can use it once it has cooled down to warm up.
Can I use strawberries instead of blackberries?
Absolutely! Technically, you can use any berry or even diced summer fruits, like peaches. But the black pepper in the shortcakes goes really well with the strawberries, if you’re feeling adventurous.
Special Dietary Notes: Vegan Blackberry Shortcake
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free/dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.
For nut free vegan blackberry shortcake, use a dairy-free, nut-free alternative to whipped cream. See our guide to dairy free whipped toppings for options.
Vegan Blackberry Shortcake with Cashew Cream
Author: Tal Ronnen
Type of recipe: Dessert
- 6 cups fresh blackberries or 2 bags (12 ounces) frozen blackberries
- ½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 sprig of fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon light agave nectar, or to taste
- 3 cups white spelled flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 7 tablespoons very cold dairy-free butter sticks, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 cup unsweetened dairy-free creamer, plus more for brushing
- Place half the blackberries, lemon juice, salt and sprig of basil in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently to break up the berries, for about 8 minutes, until the berries are tender and broken down.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let the sauce infuse for at least 20 minutes, and up to overnight (in the refrigerator).
- Remove and discard the basil, then pour the sauce into a blender. Puree, then sweeten to taste with agave nectar and add more lemon juice if needed.
- Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into the saucepan.
- Gently stir in the remaining whole blackberries.
- When ready to serve, heat the sauce in a saucepan over low heat until the sauce is hot and the berries are thawed (if using frozen). Alternatively, chill the sauce in the refrigerator, covered, and serve cold.
- Preheat your oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the ½ cup sugar, salt and pepper.
- Add the sticks of butter and cut with a pastry blender, fork, or whisk, until fairly even pea-sized crumbs form.
- Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the cream or coconut milk. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, stir gently to obtain a soft, slightly sticky dough, being careful not to overwork.
- Place the dough on a floured work surface and roll out to 1 inch thick.
- Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into 2½ inch rounds and place them about 1½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Gently squeeze the scraps together and cut out more slices.
- Brush the tops of the circles with cream and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Bake the shortcakes in the middle of the oven until golden brown, about 12 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking.
- Remove the shortcakes to a wire rack to cool.
- Gently stir the cinnamon into the whipped cashew cream.
- Layer the shortcakes and top with hot or cold blackberry basil sauce and cinnamon-whipped cashew cream.
Portion: 1 shortcake + sauce calories: 357 Big: 11.3g Saturated fat: 2.4g Carbohydrates: 61.5g Sugar: 22.4g Sodium: 193mg Fiber: 11.6g Protein: 7.8g
More Vegan Summer Cakes
Hot Fudge Sundae Cake (vegan, optionally nut and soy free)
Blueberry Raw Cheesecake (vegan, gluten-free & soy-free)
S’mores Cooler Cake (vegan, possibly gluten-free and nut-free)