Chocolate Frosty Strawberry Cake, Gluten Free

This might look retro-familiar to some of you. Back in the old days the original recipe was called Frosty Strawberry Squares and was perhaps first published by Better Homes & Gardens or Sunset Magazine. Depends on who you ask.

It was a really fancy schmancy dessert then and no one much gave two thoughts that it was prepared with raw whipped egg whites. And the humorous part is that while we all ate raw egg white willingly back then, we traded out real heavy cream for fake whipped topping because we thought it was better for our health. Long live the old days.

My lemon-loving mother-in-law made this regularly during strawberry season when we were young-things first married.  And then it was our turn to take over the recipe. We carried on with enthusiasm making the dessert regularly. But I’m pretty sure the last time we made Frosty Strawberry Squares was two children and three gazillion cats ago.

I never really enjoyed the brown sugar walnut crumble part of the dessert and now I’d never make anything with raw egg whites. This revision makes the crumble very chocolate and cooks the egg whites a lot like how you start Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

You don’t have to use a springform pan but it does make a pretty presentation for the table if you are having guests mother-in-law for dinner. Un-spring it while the thing is still frozen and then serve it after it gets a wee bit soft for best flavor. Otherwise you will need a hacksaw to cut through the frozen tundra of berries.

You can absolutely use fresh strawberries in place of frozen. Just be sure to slice them up small enough so when the dessert freezes and you serve it almost frozen, the berries are not giant pink ice cubes. The crust is crispy at first and seems like an odd texture combination, but it will cooperate and soften once frozen and somewhat thawed.

Here’s to retro comebacks. At least for good food. But I draw the line at big hair and shoulder pads.

 


Chocolate Frosty Strawberry Cake, Gluten Free
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The chocolate crust is almost identical to the GF Oreo recipe. The frosty strawberries are topped with more dark chocolate cookie crumbs, a bit of whipped cream and some freshly sliced berries. Be sure to buy unsweetened whole frozen strawberries. Thaw the finished dessert slightly before serving for best flavor. This is definitely a modern update for this retro dessert.
Ingredients
Cookie Crust
  • 130 grams GF AP Flour (1 cup) (66 grams superfine brown rice flour plus 32 grams each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch)
  • 25 grams almond flour (1/4 cup)
  • 25 grams teff flour (2 heaping tablespoons)
  • 60 grams unsweetened cocoa (1/2 cup)
  • 50 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 50 grams light brown sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon espresso instant powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 115 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (1 stick)
  • 1 whole extra-large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Framboise
Filling
  • 130 grams granulated sugar (2/3 cup)
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 extra-large egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 400 grams frozen unsweetened whole strawberries, thawed and split as follows: 160 grams pureed (heaping ⅓ cup) and 240 grams thawed and sliced thin (1 heaping cup)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 480 grams chilled heavy cream, whipped (2 cups)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon Framboise
  • remaining ⅓ chocolate cookie crumbles
Topping
  • whipped cream
  • fresh sliced strawberries, one per serving
Instructions
Cookie Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a springform or 9x9 baking pan with parchment. Line a small sheet pan with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, almond flour, teff, cocoa, granulated sugar, brown sugar, espresso powder, and salt. Set aside. Melt butter and cool for a few minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and Framboise and mix thoroughly. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a fork until well incorporated. Press about ⅔ of the mixture into the springform or 9x9 pan. Place the remaining dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Break into even sized crumbs. Bake both at 350 for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 325 and bake about 12-15 minutes longer or just until the crumbs and crust are not glossy any longer. Cool completely before proceeding. The crust and crumble will be crisp.
Filling
  1. Zest the lemon into the granulated sugar and mix with fingertips. Let mixture sit about 15 minutes before proceeding - can be done in advance.
  2. In a double boiler over barely simmering heat, whisk the egg whites with the lemon sugar and salt until it reaches 160 degrees. It should turn white.
  3. Move mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on high until glossy peaks form and the bowl is cool to the touch. Add the 160 grams (heaping ⅓ cup) of strawberry puree and lemon juice while it is whipping but after peaks have formed. Using a spatula place scrape that mixture into a large bowl. Wipe out stand mixer bowl and place the cream in it. Whip on high until peaks form. Remove half the whipped cream and set it aside for the topping, covered in the refrigerator. Add the vanilla and Framboise to the whipped cream remaining in the stand mixer.
  4. Scrape the cream in the stand mixer into the bowl with the egg white strawberry mixture. Fold until completely incorporated. Add the remaining 240 grams (heaping 1 cup) of thawed sliced (thin) berries and fold those in.
  5. Pour mixture on top of the cooled crust in the springform pan.
  6. Top with remaining cookie crumbles. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until about 20 minutes prior to serving.
Topping and Serving
  1. Plan to remove the cake from the freezer about 20 minutes before serving. Immediately, while frozen solid, run a knife around the edge of the pan. Loosen the springform and remove the collar-side. Slice and place on serving plates. Let the plates stand for a little while until ready to serve and top with a generous dollop of remaining whipped cream and sliced fresh berries.

Comments

  1. Hi Lisa,

    Thank you for this delicious-looking recipe. I’d love to try it for guests this weekend, but I don’t think I can find the special flours. I live in Stockholm, Sweden, and although we have gluten-free flours, most tend to be buckwheat or almond flour. Instead of the various flours that you use, I wonder if I might get decent results by using 180g of almond flour?

    Also, for both the cookie crust and the filling, I wonder if I might be able to substitute honey for the two sugars? I realize I’m altering the recipe here, but I’m trying to cut back on the processed sugars and use mostly honey as my sweetener.

    Thank you advance for any advice. I really appreciate it. And I really enjoy your blog.

    Kristin

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Kristin –

      I don’t have any problems with folks changing the recipe to tailor it to their own tastes, but I always encourage them to try the original recipe as written first so they know how the components behave together and it comes out similar to what they see on the blog. But here’s what I might do if you cannot find rice flours (you sub out more rice flour for the teff).

      If you change the flours and the sugars I’m afraid it will end up being an entirely different recipe. Nothing wrong with that, but it won’t look and taste the same. First – about the flours. Almond flour has way different properties than regular rice flours in texture and fats so it will not behave the same way if you sub out all the flour for almond. No rice flours available? If not what I might do is use a brownie recipe for the crust and crumble (see the index for Mom’s Brownies) – brownies use almost no flour and you could use almond flour – but cut back on the butter by a tablespoon or so.

      Next – if you sub out honey for granulated sugar in a recipe it changes the ratio of liquids to dry so you’d have to adjust liquids to compensate. In a cookie base or brownie it would make the end result more like cake than cookie or brownie. In the strawberry filling, it might overwhelm the flavor of the berries and it will make it rather soupy as it melts. Honey itself is a pretty powerful flavor and you have to make sure that where you use it, it doesn’t leave the other flavors in the dust, so to speak.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Kristin says:

    Hi again Lisa,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and informative reply. I appreciate your taking the time to answer!

    I’ve got the cake in the freezer, and I think it’s going to be super delicious. As you suggested, I used the brownie recipe as the base (with almond flour) and I went with your recipe with the sugar (although I used “raw” granulated sugar) instead of the honey.

    I did have trouble getting the sugar/egg whites up to 160 degrees. Mine got up to about 151 and wouldn’t budge, so I stopped then.

    I have another quick question: you say in the filling directions that we should add the vanilla and the framboise to the whipped cream — do you possibly mean the lemon juice? In the ingredients for the filling, there’s no vanilla/framboise — just the lemon juice…

    Thanks again. Can’t wait to try the cake tonight with friends.

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Kristin – so glad the brownie worked for you. And thank you – I did manage to leave that out (sorry)! Add the lemon juice to the strawberry puree/whipped egg whites. Then add the vanilla & Framboise to the whipped cream that remains in the bowl before combining it with the strawberry mixture. It is supposed to pick up on the flavors in the cookie crust with just about half the amount. I updated the recipe. Glad you found that – much appreciated. Enjoy!

  3. Wow. A fantastic cake. Really impressed and everyone loved it. I made the mistake, however, of not freezing it long enough prior to dessert time… so it was a bit pudding like. But, the leftovers today were perfectly frozen and ice-cream like. I think I’ll make it again for Midsommar this coming weekend. A strawberry-topped cake is a must.

  4. This cake is absolutely gorgeous. It looks so rich and delicate at the same time. I wish I could download that slice from the screen right now and taste it :-).
    I’d like to invite you to check out our new recipe sharing website RecipeNewZ (with Z). We’ve only been around for 2 months, but we already have recipes from hundreds of blogs, and it would be great see some of your posts there too!