I love mini dessert recipes, and this easy Strawberry Shortcake in Mini Mason Jars uses a Duncan Hines French Vanilla shortcake that bakes up in 18 minutes! It's topped with slightly sweetened fresh strawberries and layered with silky smooth cream cheese whipped topping. This dessert is fresh, light, and lovely any time of year.
Strawberry Shortcake Base
Boxed cake mix works perfectly for the strawberry shortcake base recipe. I enriched it with an extra egg and a small box of cheesecake pudding mix, making the cake texture exceptionally spongy and light to soak up with sweet juice from the fresh strawberry. I used Duncan Hines French Vanilla but the Classic White cake mix would work perfectly fine. Subbing in a boxed mix fits my schedule these days, and it's just as delicious as a homemade shortcake base.
Layer of Fresh Strawberries
Pick up a few containers of fresh strawberries, chop them up and add a bit of sugar to pull out the fresh juices. Adding a bit of bright lemon will balance the sweetness. Let the mixture rest a few minutes, and you'll have a lovely strawberry topping with a natural syrup that you can use on just about anything. It looks gorgeous in the little mini mason jars. Feel free to cut back on the added sugar or substitute in a spoonful of honey or a replacement sweetener. Spoon it over ice-cream, pancakes, and yogurt. Or freeze it in small zip lock bags and add it to smoothies.
Cream Cheese Whipped Filling and Topping
Stabilized whipped topping is my go-to for any dessert recipes where I need a structured texture that holds its shape for both filling and piping. It's a fantastic filling for cakes, layered desserts, donuts, and eclairs, and it's a dream for piping. Pick your piping tip, squeeze out a layer in the mini mason jars, and add a dollop on top. It will stay solid and hold its shape for hours, even on top of the fresh strawberries. I recommend a stand mixer for this stabilized whipped cream because it does a better job of whipping out any lumps. Also, refrigerating the whipped topping is essential to keep it fresh.
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Mini Mason Jars and Serving Options
If you have little jelly jars or mason jars, then they'll work perfectly for single servings of this Strawberry Shortcake recipe. I love the convenience of making things ahead of time and having them set out, ready to eat. Little bowls or glasses will also work great. If what you have available is a cake pan - then use that! Just bake the cake and apply the whipping topping as a frosting, then add the strawberries on top of that. It would make for a gorgeous fresh cake.
If you're looking for easy cake desserts, you might also like Sunshine Pineapple Cake!
Strawberry Shortcake in Mini Mason Jars Recipe
For the Shortcake Base
- 1 box Duncan Hines French Vanilla Cake Mix (or Classic White)
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup water
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 box cheesecake pudding mix (3.4 oz, instant)
- 2 containers fresh strawberries (2 lbs)
- ¼ cup sugar (or less)
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
Cream Cheese Whipped Filling & Topping
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¾ cups powdered sugar
- fresh mint leaves
- strawberries (sliced in half)
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a half sheet cake pan (jelly roll pan) with parchment and spray with non-stick baking spray. (or use two quarter sheet pans). See notes below.
- In a medium bowl, add the cake ingredients and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and beat again on medium-high for 2 to 3 more minutes until the batter is light and fluffy.
- Bake according to the pan you're using. A shallow jelly roll type cake pan will bake more quickly, about 15 -18 minutes. See notes below. When a toothpick comes out clean, remove and allow to cool.
- Chop the strawberries into roughly ½" pieces. Reserve a handful to use as garnish.Add the sugar and the lemon zest. Stir to fully incorporate and set aside until needed.
Cream Cheese Whipped Filling
- Using the whisk attachment, whip the cold cream cheese until smooth. This will take a few minutes. Slowly add the heavy cream. I add it in 3 portions. Whipping on medium to medium-high speed until thoroughly incorporated to prevent lumps. When all the cream is used, and the mixture is soft peaks, add the powdered sugar and beat again until incorporated. Refrigerate the whipped filling/topping.
- Place pieces of cake into the bottom of a mason jar, add strawberries (with a little bit of juice), then the whipped filling. Using a piping bag makes this easier.If you want to add layers, repeat with another layer of cake, strawberries, and top with a dollop of whipped topping. Add a strawberry and a mint leaf for garnish. Enjoy!
Thank you to Duncan Hines for sponsoring this Strawberry Shortcake in Mini Mason Jars recipe! All opinions are my own and I only feature products that I would personally recommend and purchase myself. I appreciate your support for A Food Lover's Life!