Love strawberries just as much as we do? Then you’re sure to love these desserts BERRY much.
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Deliciously sweet and a touch sour, refreshingly good, and dyed in gloriously rich red tones. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a strawberry—a fruit that has graced many desserts, jams, and even occasionally, salads.
When we’re talking about strawberries—at least the local variants—one place comes to mind: La Trinidad. Located up North in Benguet, this province promises hectares upon hectares of farmland that’s teeming with strawberry plants. In fact, according to an article by Sunstar, 1775 metric tons of strawberries were harvested annually by around 660 farmers last 2018. That’s a lot of strawberries!
Now, I have always been an avid fan of strawberries. From back when I was a kid, our grocery cart would always have a bottle of cool Magnolia Strawberry Milk (aside from the usual Melon Milk, which is another favorite of mine), a pint of Big Scoop’s Strawberry Ice Cream (yes, the radioactive pink one), along with a pack of Strawberry Chamyto—the local version of Yakult—which has sadly been faced out a long time ago. Strawberry wafers, strawberry Stick-o, and strawberry Pocky? Those were must-have snacks for school!
Now, as both a food blogger and an avid foodie, I have tried my fair share of strawberry desserts—from the highly popular Korean strawberry milk drinks to strawberry shortcakes, strawberry donut sandwiches, and more. And now that it’s strawberry season once again, I think it’s the right time for me to share with you a comprehensive list of 10 strawberry desserts that I’ve seen (some of which I have yet to taste!).
10. Strawberry Donut Sandwich
Donuts are delicious in their own right, but what about a donut that’s cut in two, filled with sliced strawberries and piped jam (or the occasional creamy filling), and finished off with some sugar on top? It’s like a sweet and fruity dessert burger—one that definitely defies classic donut logic. But the way I see it, the Strawberry Donut Sandwich is a tasty approach that could be the next food trend.
A cross between a donut and an Italian bomboloni, as aptly put by mini panaderya Salta! Bakes-to-go, this dessert can be reinvented in more ways than one. Bakeshops like Pufft Donuts, Red Whisk, and Gourmet Cravings, for instance, add strawberry jam to their glazed donut sandwiches aside from the fruit itself for extra strawberry goodness. On the other hand, Salta! Bakes offers their powdered donuts with your choice of creamy custard or a Nutella filling to go with the small strawberries in between. Plus, they bake their donuts instead of deep-frying them as a healthier alternative.
9. Meiji Apollo Milk Tea
I don’t know about you, but back when I was still in school, Meiji Apollo was the “luxury” item among us classmates. It was a status symbol, since it was the most expensive candy in the cafeteria back then. Having a box of this strawberry chocolate meant that you had a big allowance and of course, many clamored for a piece or two of this indulgent snack.
Even until now, this mountain-shaped candy has remained the favorite of adults and kids alike, I included. And who could blame us? The way that the chocolate and strawberry flavors just seamlessly blend together in a creamy mix of sweet, velvety goodness is something unique to this snack. It’s a flavor so addicting that some milk tea shops have adopted it in their menu. Shops like Snaptea and Labestra’s Milk Tea House explicitly call their respective drinks “Meiji Apollo”, though I personally am not sure if they use the actual chocolates in them. However, both shops do incorporate the popular cream cheese element, giving the drink a much richer and creamier consistency, along with a mild saltiness that amplifies its existing sweetness.
On the other hand, Thai milk tea shop Cha Tuk Chak claims that their drink—the Choco Ichigo—is only inspired by Meiji Apollo. But even so, it tastes pretty close to the original. As for Sip n’ Snap Milk Tea? They use actual pieces of Meiji Apollo chocolate in their drink. Now that’s the real deal!
8. Strawberry Tres Leches Cake
A Tres Leches cake, by the very name itself, is a Mexican dessert featuring a sponge cake that’s soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. In fact, some even add whole milk in theirs! The result is saturated sponge cake—one that’s rich and very, very moist. However, some people may find it too heavy or in some cases, the flavors might be one-dimensional: creamy and sweet.
So how can you add a twist to this classic? With fresh fruits—strawberries, to be specific. Strawberries Tres Leches cakes make use of the same elements as a Tres Leches cake, but this time, it comes with slices of strawberries on top. That way, you get a fruity tartness that contrasts with the overall creamy and rich notes of the cake. And whether it’s for sharing or keeping all to yourself, shops like Sweets by Marie, Dessert Pots, Dulcesanti, Begonia Bakehouse offer this bright and yummy treat in aluminum trays of various sizes!
7. Strawberry Pavlova
Who doesn’t love a meringue? These fluffy and (sometimes) colorful swirls of whipped egg white and sugar feature soft peaks—preserved in time. Although it looks hard, this miniature dessert just melts in your mouth in a cascade of sugary flavors. And if you love meringue just as much as I do, say hello to its much bigger cousin: the Pavlova.
Named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, this meringue-based dessert is made with the same ingredients as a meringue and it even comes with the same crisp crust. But compared to a meringue that’s crispy and dry all throughout, a Pavlova has a fluffy, soft, and light interior—much like marshmallow cream. And usually, this cake comes with fruit on top.
And good news for strawberry fans: Strawberry Pavlova exists! Pavlova MNL, for example, offers the classic large Pavlova or even mini strawberry-topped Pavlova, while Pavlova Delight MNL features a more embellished pavlova—one with small pieces of chocolate to go with sliced strawberries. On the other hand, Rise Cafe sells its Pavlova Cups in bite-sized portions for solo enjoyment. And if you want your dessert to have a quirky appearance, Cups by Drei has a two-tiered Strawberry Pavlova, while Rockin’ Rolls by Alyssa makes letter-shaped Pavlova with your choice of fruits!
6. Strawberry Yogurt Drink
A healthier alternative to milk teas—for both health-conscious people and the lactose intolerant folk—yogurt is a gut-friendly, probiotic drink that helps with digestion. Compared to milk, it has a much thicker consistency and a tart, sour taste. Although some prefer to eat yogurt with their choice of fruits and grains (yogurt bowls, anyone?), others like drinking it in easy, handheld cups.
If you’re part of the latter faction, then Yogurt Drinks are your next best bet! Australian yogurt shop Koomi is one of the pioneers of yogurt drinks here in the country, and other franchises followed suit. And for some reason, they all adopted the punny approach when it came to naming their drinks.
That’s why for your strawberry yogurt cravings, you can always check out Yomie’s Straw to My Berry drink, Koomi’s You’re the Berry Best, and Yogost’s Love You Strawberry Much. But if you want something different, Yogost also offers a drink called Berry Zest Friend, which is made with yogurt, strawberry, lemon, and green tea to give it more complex flavors.
5. Strawberry Shortcake
Strawberry Shortcake is a top of mind choice for many if we’re talking about strawberry desserts, which is why it definitely needs to be on this list! At least for me, that is. Although shortcake, by its very name, refers to a crumbly, biscuit-type of base with alternating layers of cream and strawberries, many bakeries, restaurants, and online businesses make theirs with chiffon or sponge cakes instead. That way, it’s softer and more moist.
Soft vanilla cake with a light and fluffy cream in between, and occasional bites of sweet strawberries (the actual fruit, mind you)—that, for me, is an ideal benchmark for a good strawberry cake. Unlike its dense counterpart, I’m more partial for the light and fluffy cake, which is why Mrs. Yulo’s Strawberry Shortcake—nay, tall cake—was often my go-to choice for birthdays.
Mrs. Yulo’s Strawberry Shortcake, however, is best enjoyed frozen. In the freezer, the icing takes on a thick and rich consistency, quite like an ice cream cake. And when paired with the buttery flavors of the cake itself, my word, it is an indulgent treat. But if you’re the type who prefers a light and fluffy cake, Amelia’s Recipes is a definite must-have. Unlike the rich strawberry-and-cream-blended mix of Mrs. Yulo’s cake, this shortcake comes with whipped cream that is not too sweet—thereby amplifying the natural flavors of strawberry and chiffon cake. And it has quickly become my new favorite shortcake!
On a similar note, the Strawberry Shortcake of Sainte Anne Cakes makes use of the same strawberries and cream combination, though their sponge cake is more on the porous and moist side.
4. Korean-style Strawberry Milk
Korean food trends have quickly been adopted by adventurous and curious foodies here in the Philippines. Take for example the whipped Dalgona Coffee and in this case, the Korean-style Strawberry Milk. Unlike most commercialized strawberry milk drinks that come in a thinner consistency and use flavoring instead of the actual fruit, this Seoul Cafe-style milk uses actual strawberries, together with creamier and much thicker milk. The result is a bottled drink with elegant, swirling layers of red and white tones—best enjoyed shaken, of course. And since they make use of purees and jams (sometimes homemade) for the strawberry component, expect it to be much sweeter, but with a subtle sour note that comes and goes. You can even expect to get pieces of strawberries mid-gulp!
Although this was a trend from last year, several online shops still make and sell their Korean-style Strawberry Milk to this day. These include Milkii and Pound Cafe, which serve theirs in plastic, oval bottles, while CinnaNina and the highly popular La Vienne Bakery sells their Strawberry Latte in tall, glass bottles that you can reuse after. On the other hand, Tenth Street proudly uses Australian full cream milk for a richer consistency.
3. Strawberry Nama Chocolate
Royce Chocolates have been a staple pasalubong item, especially when you’re coming from Japan or Hong Kong. It was once a rare treat—that is until they opened several branches in malls across Metro Manila. And what makes these chocolates so in-demand? I’d have to say that it’s the variety of flavors, the rich chocolatey taste, and how it coats your tongue in a smooth, velvety finish, much like a truffle. Plus, Japanese-made chocolates are on a whole other level—from the quality of the chocolate itself, down to the presentation and the packaging. And who could resist their boozy flavors? Not me, that’s for sure!
Inspired by this confectionery, many small businesses have begun making their own take on this boxed chocolate. And with it came different flavors like Matcha, Ube, white chocolate, orange chocolate, and of course, strawberry. Delicacy Studios, for instance, offers sugar-free and keto-friendly Strawberry Nama, while Tsokolat’s decadent version comes with a fine dusting of cocoa powder on top.
2. Strawberry Cheesecake
Cheesecakes are a timeless classic and there are just so many variants—from the no-bake cheesecake to the traditional baked cheesecake, fluffy Japanese cheesecake, and even the indulgent but rich New York Cheesecake. In fact, last 2020, its Spanish version, the Basque Burnt Cheesecake, even became a food trend for some time.
Bringing together the sour-salty elements of these cheeses, along with the sweetness of sugar, the richness of eggs, and in some cases, a buttery crust at the bottom (usually made with crushed grahams), along with your choice of fruits or toppings, a cheesecake is the kind of rich and mellow sort of dessert if you want something more filling.
Strawberry Cheesecakes take on these various forms with ease. Take for example the mini Basque Burnt Cheesecakes of Aby’s Homemade, which come with classic strawberries, dark chocolate and strawberry, milk chocolate strawberry, and white chocolate almond strawberry on top. A paradox of both light and dense in terms of mouthfeel, the subtle smoky taste of the Basque Burnt Cheesecake adds another depth of flavor that goes well with the strawberries. Plus, this cheesecake isn’t too sour like other variants, which makes it a good choice for kids and sweet tooths. On the other hand, Ish offers a large heart-shaped Basque Burnt Strawberry Cheesecake, topped with melted chocolate and sliced strawberries.
Meanwhile, the Strawberry Cheesecake from Sunday’s Cheesecakes is a traditional cheesecake in a personalized size. It even comes with white chocolate and crushed graham on top as an added bonus! As for Cheese & Cake, they have the classic graham crust, baked cheesecake, and strawberry puree topping—a real treat for those who enjoy the classics!
1. Chocolate-dipped Strawberries
And finally, who could forget the actual strawberry fruits themselves? Strawberries on their own have a characteristic sweet and sour taste, a fleshy texture, and a juiciness that makes it a fan favorite for many. It’s the kind of small fruit that you can easily snack on without needing to peel and chop—aside from washing and removing the leaves before eating, of course.
Adding a creative spin to this dessert without compromising on its existing attributes, you get the Chocolate-covered Strawberry. Much like a fondue, sans the messy chocolate and cleanup, this dessert features a hard chocolate shell—sometimes in different colors and designs—with your choice of dark, milk, or even white chocolate. And whether it’s for gift-giving or your personal consumption, there’s no denying how Chocolate-covered Strawberries are a feast for both the eyes and the mouth.
Available shops where you can get these morsels include Chocoberry MNL, a shop that can personalize the color of the chocolate shell, depending on your favorite color or theme. Decadenserye, on the other hand, makes use of simple but elegant elements with its homemade chocolate base in classic, white, or half-and-half variants. As for Berry-Licious, they’ve got quirky themed chocolate-covered strawberries for the young and young at heart, such as dog-shaped strawberries or gold-dusted options.
Honorable Mention: Strawberry Champorado
But wait, there’s more! Aside from the aforementioned desserts, I personally think that Champorado—especially a Strawberry Champorado—should make it to the list. This porridge is usually made with rice and commonly comes in chocolate form (sometimes even in Ube, complete with dried fish or a swirl of condensed milk on top).
A local favorite that can usually be enjoyed during breakfast or merienda, the Strawberry Champorado isn’t a dessert, pre se. Nevertheless, it deserves a spot as an honorable mention because it is the sweet version of lugaw, and therefore just as essential as its savory counterpart. And although my first taste of this Strawberry Champorado was a year ago in Le Monet Hotel in Baguio, you can easily get your own from Karla Kusinera.
What are other strawberry desserts that should have made it to the list?
Cover Photo by Diane Nicole Go