This Gluten-Free Vegan Strawberry Sponge Layer Cake is moist and fluffy, rich and creamy, and filled with sweet, summery strawberries.
I’ve been having so much fun making (and eating) sponge cakes recently, and when I saw some really cute, tiny strawberries at the supermarket the other day, I just couldn’t resist buying them to make a delicious creamy sponge layer cake.
Strawberry sponge layer cakes are really popular in Japan, where it’s known as strawberry shortcake. The Japanese version has a really light and fluffy sponge and is filled with sweet, airy whipped cream. This cake here was inspired by the flavours of the Japanese version, but is slightly different as I’ve used coconut cream and the texture of the sponge is slightly denser, and the overall taste is richer.
I used my go-to gluten-free, vegan and refined sugar free sponge recipe – it’s tender, a little fluffy, and perfectly sweet. For the cream, you can use either coconut whipped cream or a thick coconut yogurt. I also added some strawberry jam in between the layers for extra sweetness and strawberry flavour. You can use a refined sugar free jam if you like (I used a naturally sweetened shop-bought one), or homemade chia jam would also work well I think.
What’s great about this recipe is how easy it is to make, requiring just one bowl for the sponge mixture, and easily accessible ingredients. It’s absolutely perfect for summer, as you make use of all those beautiful, seasonal strawberries. If you don’t like strawberries or can’t get hold of them, other fruits would work also well. I’d love to try this cake with something like mango or persimmon too!
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!
- 8 tablespoons coconut oil (or sub olive or vegetable oil)
- 200ml (4/5 cup) milk, any kind
- Juice of 1 lemon*
- 8 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 150g (1 1/4 cup) ground almonds
- 150g (1 1/4 cup) gluten-free flour (or sub plain flour if not gluten-free)
- 2 teaspoons baking power (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 x 400g (14oz) tin coconut milk**
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: 2-3 tablespoons strawberry jam (refined sugar free if necessary)
- 200g (7oz) fresh strawberries, chopped into smaller pieces
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees (350 degrees)
- Place the coconut oil in a large bowl and melt over a saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave (skip this step if not using any other oil)
- Once melted, add the milk to the same bowl along with the lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and ground almonds
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda
- Mix well, adding a tiny splash more milk if it's looking too dry
- Transfer mixture between two small greased baking tins lined with baking paper
- Bake in oven for around 15 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean
- Once out the oven, immediately remove cakes from baking tins and transfer onto a wire rack to cool
- You'll need to keep your tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight for the rich creamy bit to separate from the watery bit at the bottom. Make sure it is full fat coconut milk, otherwise this separation won't happen and you won't be able to make this cream!
- Open the tin upside down - the coconut cream will be at the bottom and you can just pour off the watery liquid (save this for adding to soups or smoothies)
- Place the thick, creamy part into a bowl
- Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract
- Use an electric whisk (or a manual one and a lot of elbow grease) to whip up the coconut cream until light and fluffy
- Once the sponges have cooled completely, place one sponge on a large plate or cake stand, and cover with half of the cream
- Spread the strawberry jam over this layer of cream and add half of the chopped strawberries
- Place other sponge on top and use remaining cream to cover the top
- Cover with the remaining strawberries
- Best when fresh, but keeps well covered in the fridge for up to a few days
- *The lemon juice is crucial as its acidity needs to react with the alkali bicarbonate of soda to make the sponge fluffy. If you don't want to use lemon juice, substitute with 1 tablespoon vinegar instead
- **You can alternatively use 200g (7oz) thick coconut yogurt