Recipe Redux: Lemon Olive Oil Shortcakes with Basil Balsamic Strawberries and Sweet Ricotta Cream

24 Apr Recipe Redux: Lemon Olive Oil Shortcakes with Basil Balsamic Strawberries and Sweet Ricotta Cream

Lemon Olive Oil Shortcakes

As the weather warms and ripe strawberries in season spring forth on produce stands, strawberry shortcake seems like the perfect short-and-sweet ending to many a meal. And it can be, as long as you’re mindful of the basic components used when creating your fresh finale.

Packed with vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber, strawberries can increase good cholesterol, lower blood pressure and may even prevent cancer.  This healthy fruit is one ingredient worth incorporating into our recipe repertoire this spring and summer.

Sadly, though, the classic strawberry shortcake made with pound cake and whipped heavy cream tips the scales with its saturated fat and cholesterol content.  Eating pound cake, which got its name from its ingredients- a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs and a pound of flour- will do just that, pack on the pounds.

Not to worry. It’s Recipe Redux to the rescue! Still delicious, now more nutritious, Lemon Olive Oil Shortcakes swap butter for lemon olive oil, serving to lighten up the shortcakes, drastically cutting their fat content without sacrificing flavor.  Standing in for the whipped heavy cream is part-skim ricotta blended with honey and vanilla extract, a healthier option to use as a filling. And tossing fresh strawberry slices and thin ribbons of basil  into a balsamic reduction slightly sweetened with brown sugar updates the classic creation, adding additional layers of flavor and complexity to the delicious dessert.

This month’s Recipe Redux: Still delicious, Now More Nutritious, Lemon Olive Oil Shortcakes with Sweet Ricotta Cream and Basil Balsamic Strawberries will satisfy your sweet tooth without weighing you down. Enjoy!

Healthy highlights of this month’s Recipe Redux: Lemon Olive Oil Shortcakes with Sweet Ricotta Cream and Basil Balsamic Strawberries include:

  • Lemon Olive Oil- a healthy dietary fat, when used in moderation, can lower the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol.
  • Part Skim Ricotta– lower in fat than heavy cream, a good source of calcium and protein.
  • Balsamic Vinegar– contains polyphenols which may prevent heart disease and cancer, rich in calcium, iron, manganese and potassium.
  • Strawberries– packed with vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber, can increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower blood pressure and may provide protection from certain types of cancer.

Recipes and food photography by Sydne George.

Lemon Olive Oil Shortcakes

Recipe Redux: Lemon Olive Oil Shortcakes

(makes 12 small shortcakes)

Make Sweet Ricotta Cream:

1 cup part skim ricotta

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend ricotta, honey and vanilla in blender until smooth.


Make Lemon Olive Oil Shortcakes:

3 egg yolks

¼  cup sugar

1/3 cup lemon olive oil  (available at Wines by Wednesday)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

½  cup cake flour

2 egg whites

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


1. Beat egg yolks with sugar.

Beat egg yolks and ¼  cup sugar until pale yellow and thickened, about 2 minutes.

Add 1/3 cup lemon olive oil and lemon juice. Mix to blend.

2. Cake flour + Lemon zest

In a medium bowl, add lemon zest to flour and stir to combine.

Fold flour mixture into egg yolk mixture.

Wash and dry bowl and beater for electric mixer.

3. Beat egg whites to soft peaks.

Beat 2 egg whites until foamy about 2 minutes.

Add salt and  2 tablespoons  sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

Fold egg whites into yolks.

4. Fold yolks into whites.

Spray muffin tin (I found one with square-shaped muffins at Albertson) with baking spray (nonstick spray with flour).

Fill muffin cups a little more than half full with lemon olive oil cake batter.

5. Lemon Olive Oil Cake Batter

Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake in preheated oven  10-12 minutes, until light golden brown and set.

Cool muffin pan on cooling rack until cakes are cooled.

Run table knife around edges of cakes and remove from pan.

Make Basil Balsamic Strawberries:

2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Heat vinegar and brown sugar over medium heat.

Simmer, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved and mixture is slightly thickened.

Add sliced strawberries and basil strips.

6. Basil Balsamic Strawberries

Remove from heat and set aside.

To assemble:

Slice cooled Lemon Olive Oil Shortcakes in half horizontally.

Spoon a tablespoon of Sweet Ricotta Cream on top of bottom half of each shortcake.

Spoon Basil Balsamic Strawberries over Sweet Ricotta Cream.

Top each filled shortcake with shortcake tops.

Lemon Olive Oil Shortcakes


Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at . Sydne’s recipes from “Recipe Redux: Still Delicious, Now More Nutritious” are archived at



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