This easy shortcake recipe is my favorite! If you love strawberry shortcake, but don’t always want to make the shortbread part, this recipe was made for you. I used Maria Crackers that soften overnight, just like in an icebox cake. And the flavors! This shortcake recipe combines strawberries and guava, two flavors that work so well with whipped cream. It’s also very pretty and can be dressed up in so many ways!
Strawberry Shortcake Icebox Cake
I almost called this recipe an icebox cake, because that’s pretty much what makes this Maria Crackers and whipped cream dessert work. But my main motivation was to make an easy shortcake recipe. So, I used the idea of an icebox cake and adapted it to make mini shortcakes topped with strawberries and guava marmalade. They look so pretty and remind me of a naked cake with the layers exposed.
Maria Cracker Layers
I grew up eating these sweet Maria Crackers that are a lot like a graham cracker, just thinner and little more delicate looking, which works for this recipe. Just like in an icebox cake made with chocolate wafers, the cookie softens when it’s layered with the whipped cream and becomes a thin cake.
The flavor of the Maria Crackers is subtle and complements the guava and strawberries. In fact, Maria Crackers with cream cheese and guava is a popular Cuban snack. That’s why the flavors work so well in this recipe. I just swapped the cream cheese for whipped cream and added strawberries.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been on a Maria Crackers desserts binge. This is my third Maria Cracker recipe this week! You’ve got to check out the Dulce de Leche S’mores and Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches.
You should be able to find Maria Crackers where other crackers are sold in your local grocery store. If not, you can buy them online (affiliate link).
Guava Marmalade Enhances The Strawberries In this Cake
Strawberry shortcake is really good on its own. Whipped cream, cake and strawberries is such a classic! But the guava marmalade kicks it up a notch, as they say. Guava intensifies the strawberry flavors and adds a little sweetness. I don’t add too much sugar to the whipped cream, so the cake is not overly sweet.
Guava marmalade is sold in cans, and you should be able to find it with the canned fruits or the international section of your local grocery store. If you can’t find it, you may be able to buy it online. You can also make it by melting guava paste with a splash of water. If you want to see how to do this, check out my Guava Bars Masa Real recipe.
Your Basic Strawberry Shortcake
I like to keep the base of the shortcake simple. Just Maria Crackers and whipped cream. It looks very pretty this way and that gives you the option to dress it with different fruits. Of course, strawberries are perfect on this cake. But you can also try it with mixed berries, mango, pineapple or nectarines. You can also use different compotes, like cherries.
There’s another reason why I like to keep the cake base simple. Because the cake has to sit overnight to give the Maria Crackers a chance to soften, you don’t want to add the fruits or the compotes too early. The fruit will lose its freshness and look a little wilted. So it’s best to let the cake soften before topping.
How To Keep The Layers Straight
The first time I made this dessert, I ended up with leaning shortcake towers. You need to gently press the layers together and make sure each layer is even so they will set in a straight little stack. Also, 3-4 layers is best to keep your stacks from leaning. This recipe yields either 5 shortcakes with 4 layers of whipped cream or 6 shortcakes with 3 layers of whipped cream.
My son taught me a simple technique for making these stacks with a cellophane cake collar . You cut the sleeves to fit the circumference of the Maria Cracker and tape the ends together. Then you layer the crackers and whipped cream in the collar and gently press down on each layer to make sure the whipped cream layer is level.
If you don’t have or want to buy cellophane cake sleeves, you can still accomplish a straight stack. You just need to gently press the stack and fill in the gaps by running your finger around the cracker and evening out the whipped cream. Make sure it’s level before you add the next layer. Also, end with a cracker layer… and don’t add whipped cream to the top layer. You’ll add the whipped cream and fruit at the end, so the top layer looks fresh and beautiful.
Three Strawberry Toppings
What I love about this easy shortcake recipe is that you can top the shortcake different ways. The main cake is just whipped cream and Maria Crackers. But you can dress up the strawberries in different ways, to suit your tastes. Here’s three ways to go with strawberries.
- Fresh sliced strawberry on top of a whipped cream cloud with a drizzle of guava marmalade. This is simple to make and tastes so extra 😉
- Add a sprinkle of sugar and a splash of Cointreau to sliced strawberries. Then, layer the berries on top of a little mound of whipped cream and drizzle the guava marmalade. I really like the flavor of the orange liqueur with the guava and strawberries!
- Make a simple compote with strawberries, guava and Cointreau. I’m partial to the compote because the flavor burst is intense but remains balanced by the whipped cream.
However you decide to top these cute little shortcakes, you’ll end up with a very elegant little shortcake that’s easy to make and super yummy! The perfect summer dessert for any occasion!Print
This easy shortcake recipe is made with Maria Crackers, guava marmalade, and strawberries. The little shortcakes are elegant, unique and delicious!
Strawberry and Guava Compote
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons guava marmalade
- 1 tablespoon Cointreau Liqueur
- Pinch salt
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla (vanilla paste is preferred)
- Pinch salt
20 Maria Crackers
Kitchen tool or glassware that’s narrower than the Maria Cracker that you can use to gently press down the Maria Cracker (I used a stemmed wineglass). This is only if you’re using the cellophane cake collar .
Strawberry and Guava Compote
- Slice off the caps and thinly slice the strawberries lengthwise.
- Heat up a stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Once heated, add the strawberries.
- Add a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of sugar. Cook for about 2 minutes. The water released by the strawberries and the sugar will start to form a syrup.
- Add the Cointreau and the guava marmalade. Cook until the syrup gets thick, another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool. If you want, you can place in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling.
- Place the bowl and the whip attachment in the freezer for a few minutes. This will make it easier to make the whipped cream.
- Once it’s very cold, remove from the freezer and add the whipping cream. Start to beat on high and while it’s beating, add two tablespoons of granulated sugar and two teaspoons of vanilla paste. Beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
- You need the whipping cream to be stiff to hold the layers in place. If the cream is too soft, the layers will slide and the shortcake stack will be slanted.
- Take the cellophane cake collar and roll it into a tube to the same circumference as the Maria Cracker. Tape the ends to form a cylinder.
- Place a Maria Cracker on the bottom of the cylinder, add two tablespoons of whipped cream. Place another Maria Cracker on top and use the wineglass or other narrow tool to gently and evenly press down on the cracker until there’s no air between the cracker layers and the whipped cream is evenly distributed.
- If you don’t have the cake collar, you can gently press the layers evenly and run your finger around the edge to redistribute the whipped cream evenly. Fill in any gaps with a little extra whipped cream.
- Repeat twice if you want 3 layers of whipped cream. End with a Maria Cracker as the top layer. You can also add a fourth layer of whipped cream. In that case, the yield will be five cakes, instead of six.
- If you’re using the sleeve, you’ll remove the sleeve by gently pressing down on the cracker stack (to keep the layers together, pull the plastic cake liner sleeve up and off). But be careful, if you press too hard, you’ll mess up the stack once the collar is off.
- Place the stacks in a covered container in an even layer. Refrigerator 4 hours or overnight.
- Reserved the remaining whipped cream for serving.
Just Before Serving
- Add a tablespoon or two of whipped cream on top and add with the compote over the cream. Use a dessert spoon to make a slight indent in the whipping cream, so the compote remains mostly in place. It’s OK to have a little bit drizzling down the side. Actually, it’s even better that way.
This recipe yields 6 shortcakes with 3 layers of whipped cream. If you want to build a taller shortcake stack, the yield will be 5 shortcakes with 4 layers of whipped cream.
Topping Options: If you don’t want to make the compote, you can top the shortcakes with sliced strawberries and a drizzle of guava marmalade. Or, you can add a tablespoon or sugar and a tablespoon of Cointreau and mix. Then, top the cakes with whipped cream and the strawberries in the syrup.
Garnish with extra strawberries and a mint leaf. Also, add some blueberries along with the strawberries for the 4th of July.
- Serving Size: 6
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