Strawberry Shortcake in Mini Mason Jars using Duncan Hines French Vanilla cake mix that bakes up in 18 minutes! It's topped with slightly sweetened fresh strawberries and layered with silky smooth cream cheese whipped topping.
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 1/2" 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!
Depending how you plan to serve the shortcake base, a shallow baking pan might work best for a thinner cake base. Or, you can use round cake pans or a 9x13 cake pan and cut the cooled cake into pieces to fill the mason jars.