Sugar-Free Strawberry Shortcake with Lemon Zest

StrawberryShortcakeThere are just some days that I just WANT a semblance of dessert, regardless of how well I have done with my nutrition. On hot summer days or for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, I want to have a dessert I can look forward too AND not feel completely bad about myself afterwards 😛

I was in this pickle a few days ago when my boyfriend was turning the ripe old age of 26; we are both living a life of eating clean-ish, healthy lives (mostly at my insistence…and now he is hooked too :-P), and I wanted to find a treat that would befit a birthday king, without the fanfare of added sugar.

Enter the strawberry shortcake

Now there are three main parts of the strawberry shortcake lemon zest dessert:

Top Level: Heavy Whipped Cream topped with lemon zest

Middle Level: Strawberries, marinated in lemon juice and cinnamon

Bottom Level: Cinnamon-Nutmeg Whole Wheat Oatmeal cake

You’re itching to start. So, let’s get to it!

What you need for the bottom layer cake:

  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of oatmeal
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
  3. Pour the mixture into a well-oiled pan and place in oven for 10-15 minutes, or until browned
  4. Remove from oven and let cool for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Retrieve the final container for the shortcake (mason jar or a regular pint glass is fine), and with the glass rim, cut out a piece of cake from the pan, remove the newly formed circle piece, and set aside.

whipped-cream-354174_1280What you need for the whipped cream layers:

  • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream, whisked until smooth mounds form
  • cinnamon (to taste)


  1. Add cinnamon to the whipped cream and mix well to taste

fruits-320124_1280What you need for the strawberry layer:

  • 12 Strawberries, sliced length-wise
  • 1/2 lemon’s worth of juice
  • cinnamon (to taste)


  1. Place strawberries into a bowl with lemon and cinnamon and mix together with spoon. (Note, I did not add any sugar here, because I am banking on the sweetness of the strawberries and the earthy spice of the cinnamon to take care of that for me. However, if you really have a hankering for more sweetness, I would add a drop or two of stevia leaf).

CakeGeneral Instructions on Assembling your ShortCake

  1. Place your circle cut-out of the oatmeal cake into the bottom of your designated container.
  2. Take a spoonful of your whipped concoction, place and spread a dollop onto your shortcake layer in the container. Next you need to add your strawberry layer!
  3. Add a layer of your strawberry mix atop the whipped cream layer in the container. You now have three layers!
  4. Repeat step 2 and 3
  5. Add lemon zest and a dash of cinnamon and serve!

In the world of eating cleaner, this dessert is probably going to take getting used to. It is very delicious, but as one who was born eating sugar-laden cookies and cakes, this version of a strawberry shortcake is less intense in sweetness…however, it is pretty delectable AND close to as natural as you can get with a cake dessert 🙂

What healthy strawberry shortcake versions have you tried? Thoughts on this recipe or if you tried it? Comment and share!

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