Best Strawberry Cake Recipe

Mary and Brenda Maher

By Brenda & Mary

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Birthday traditions come and go, but one thing remains the same in my family every year: a strawberry birthday cake.

strawberry cake

My husband and kids – their eyes always light up when they see that cake, and let me tell you, it’s not just because I am the one behind the oven. Their strawberry flavor is simply irresistible! 

Why A Homemade, Fresh Strawberry Cake Recipe Is Our Jam

strawberry cake final
  • This light, fluffy sponge cake brings a gentle hug to your taste buds in every bite. And oh, those ripe strawberries! Their natural sweetness feels JUST right and not too overpowering, all thanks to a hint of tartness. What a perfectly balanced, oh-so-refreshing flavor symphony!
  • And let’s get into the aesthetics! The fresh, vibrant strawberries topping the cake add a pop of color that screams celebration. And the best part? You can dress it up or down however you like. Keep it classy yet simple, or go all out with fancy decorations. The choice is yours!
  • How can anyone forget about the topping? It doesn’t matter whether you’re team cream cheese, strawberry buttercream, caramel buttercream frosting, or glossy glazes; it’s the extra-rich cherry on top that takes your treat to the next level. 
  • And hey, who says this cake is only for dessert? I love to pair it with my morning coffee or tea. You can also serve it alongside a light fruit salad or some creamy vanilla ice cream for a meal that hits all the right notes.

How To Make Strawberry Cake

Fresh Strawberry Puree

make wet strawberry

Step 1.

Alright, let’s kick things off with a delicious strawberry puree!

Grab about a pound of fresh, hulled, and washed strawberries. Blend them up until you’ve got a smooth puree. You should end up with a bit more than a cup.

Step 2.

Pour this puree into a saucepan and let it simmer on medium-low heat. Keep stirring every now and then. It should be reduced to about half a cup, which will take some time (around 25 to 35 minutes or even longer), depending on the pan type and how juicy these berries are. 

Once it’s done, let the puree chill completely before tossing it in your cake batter!

Pro tip: I usually whip up the puree a day ahead so it can have all night to chill in the fridge. Remember to take it out and let it reach room temperature before mixing it into your batter.

Cake

Step 3.

Now, onto the cake itself. 

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease two 9” round pans (or a 9×13 pan if you don’t fancy a layered cake) and line them with some parchment paper. This step is very important if you want to remove your cake in a breeze later! 

Next, whisk your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Once everything is all nicely mixed, set it aside. We’ll come back to it in a second.

strawberry cake frosting

Step 4.

Grab your trusty stand or handheld mixer with the paddle attachment. Toss in the butter + sugar, then crank to high speed. Let them dance together for 2 minutes until creamy and smooth. Don’t forget to scrape the bowl’s sides and bottom with a rubber spatula every now and then to make sure everything’s mixed in nicely!

Step 5.

Now, it’s time for egg whites to join the party! 

Beat them in at high speed for another 2 minutes until they’re all cozy with our buttery goodness. Then, toss in sour cream + vanilla extract. Keep that mixer at low speed as you slowly add in your dry ingredients (from Step 3). Mix until everything’s JUST blended – we don’t want to overdo it.

Pour the milk in slowly while the mixer is still on low. We want it to just come together, so don’t go overboard with the mixing. 

Step 6.

Let’s welcome the star of the show: the reduced puree. Whisk in about half a cup and make sure no sneaky lumps are hiding at the bowl’s bottom. Your batter should be slightly thick (and oh-so-tempting, too). Feeling extra? Add a little pink food coloring for that color pop!

Step 7.

Once your batter is ready, divide it evenly between your cake pans and pop them in the oven. They’ll need about 24 to 25 minutes to bake to perfection. To check if they’re done, poke a toothpick into its center. If the toothpick comes out mostly clean, you’re good to go! 

strawberry cake baking

Step 8.

Let those cakes chill completely in their pans on a rack. I know the temptation to dig right in is real, but trust me, it’s worth the wait! After they are entirely cooled down, we can move on to all the frosting fun.

Frosting

Step 9.

Grab your freeze-dried berries and blend them into a fine powder with your food processor or blender. You should end up with about half a cup of crumbly goodness. Set it aside for now!

making dry strawberry batter

Step 10.

Next, use your hand or stand mixer to beat cream cheese (about a minute should do) until super creamy and smooth. Then, mix in the softened butter until everything is well combined.

Step 11.

strawberry cake filling

Add confectioners’ sugar, milk (1 tablespoon), strawberry powder, and vanilla extract. Beat everything together at medium-high speed. 

Want a slightly thinner frosting? Feel free to add another tablespoon of milk. Give it a taste test, and (if necessary) add an extra teaspoon of salt to balance things out. This step should give you about 3 cups of heavenly frosting.

Step 12.

It’s time to frost away! Take out a big serrated knife and gently slice off the top of each cake layer to flatten it out. You can either toss this part away or use it for something fun later on (I usually crumble it over my ice cream!)

Put one cake layer onto a cake stand, serving plate, or turntable, then spread a generous layer of frosting on top of this layer. Place the second cake layer on top and cover the entire cake with the rest of your frosting. Make sure to cover all sides evenly! 

strawberry cake decorating

Serving

Step 13.

Want to know how my cake holds its shape while cutting? I throw it in the fridge for 45 minutes (sometimes even longer) before serving. Don’t skip this part unless you want your cake to fall miserably apart when you slice through it. Enjoy your perfect dessert!

strawberry cake complete

Notes

1. We all hate the soggy bottom layer (from the juicy strawberries) with a burning passion, so here’s what I do: I dust the bottom of my cake pan with a light flour coating after greasing it. You can also add a thin layer of almond flour to the bottom!

2. Sometimes, I brush the top of the cake with a simple glaze made of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract for a beautiful sheen. 

And how can anyone forget the fresh garnish? If you want, top your cake with whole or sliced strawberries and mint leaves (or even edible flowers) for an extra touch of elegance!

FAQs

Can I Substitute Another Fruit For The Strawberries? 

Yes, you can! Strawberries are the classic choice, but other fruits like blueberries, raspberries, peaches, or even cherries can be substituted. Consider the fruit’s size and moisture content when adjusting the recipe!

My Cake Batter Turned Out To Be Too Wet. How Can I Fix It?

A slightly wet batter is okay for strawberry cake. But an overly moist one? That’s not good for the cake’s structure! In that case, add a tablespoon or two of flour; be careful not to overmix.

And that’s my fresh strawberry cake recipe. Happy baking!

Discover More Unique Cake Recipes:

strawberry cake

Strawberry Cake

Who doesn't fall for juicy strawberries lurking in every morsel, bursting with a tangy-sweet symphony? What a delightful contrast to the soft texture of the cake! This combo is just what you need for any spring and summer shindig.
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Course: Cake
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 480kcal
Author: Brenda Maher

Ingredients

Strawberry Puree

  • 1 pound of fresh strawberries, hulled and rinsed

Cake

  • 2 ½ cups of spooned and leveled cake flour
  • 2 ⅓ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ cup softened, unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 5 pasteurized egg whites, room temperature
  • cup plain yogurt or sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 ⅓ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk, room temperature
  • ½ cup reduced strawberry puree, (from step 1)
  • optional 1 drop of pink-color gel

Frosting

  • 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • 8 oz softened, full-fat brick cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup softened, unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt, (for taste test)

Instructions

Strawberry Puree

  • Blend 1 pound of strawberries. Simmer until reduced to about half a cup.
  • Chill overnight if possible.

Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line two 9” round pans or one 9×13 pan.
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set this bowl aside.
  • Cream butter + sugar at high mixer speed. Add egg whites, sour cream, and vanilla.
  • At low speed, mix in dry ingredients (the bowl set aside earlier) and milk. No over-mixing.
  • Add half a cup of strawberry puree and optional gel food coloring.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes.

Frosting

  • Blend freeze-dried berries into powder.
  • Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Add confectioners’ sugar, milk, strawberry powder, and vanilla. Adjust consistency with a pinch of salt if necessary.
  • Frost away.

Serving

  • Refrigerate your cake for 45 minutes (or longer) before slicing it with your cake knife.

Notes

  • To prevent a soggy bottom layer from the juicy strawberries, dust the bottom of your cake pan with a light flour coating after greasing it. You can also add a thin layer of almond flour to the bottom. 
  • Brush the top of this delicious cake with a simple glaze made of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.
  • For an extra touch of elegance, top your cake with whole or sliced strawberries, mint leaves, or edible flowers.

Nutrition

Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 219mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 41g | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @cakegirls or tag #cakegirls!

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Mary and Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher, are the founders of Cake Girls, a Chicago-based online baking shop specializing in cake supplies, party decor, and DIY cake tutorials. They are known for their elaborate and artistic cake creations, which have been featured on the Food Network Challenge and in a reality show, Amazing Wedding Cakes.

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