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strawberry cake recipe from scratch

strawberry cake recipe from scratch

strawberry cake recipe from scratch

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strawberry cake recipe from scratch

This strawberry cake recipe is made from scratch and worth its weight in gold to me as a caterer. I made this cake for a child’s birthday party and it was a major hit! Frost with cream cheese frosting or chocolate ganache for a special treat.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

Beat sugar, butter, and dry strawberry  gelatin together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine flour and baking powder in a large bowl; stir into butter mixture alternately with milk. Blend in strawberry puree and vanilla. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool cakes on a wire rack for 10 minutes; run a table knife around the edges to loosen. Invert carefully onto a serving plate or cooling rack to cool completely.

strawberry cake recipe from scratch
strawberry cake recipe from scratch

strawberry cake recipe fom scratch easy


Leavening agents — this strawberry cake uses both baking soda and baking powder. Make sure they are fresh and replace them if they’ve expired.

Butter — buy unsalted butter to prevent the cake and buttercream from tasting salty as there is salt added to the cake.

Eggs this recipe uses a lot of egg whites to keep the cake light and fluffy. Save the egg yolks for my crème brûlée recipe.

Milk — to add the maximum richness and creaminess to the cake, make sure you use full-fat milk.

Strawberry reduction — reducing a strawberry puree is the secret to a flavorful strawberry cake and frosting. Adding strawberries directly into the batter or frosting does not incorporate the strawberry flavor throughout the cake, and just pureeing strawberries adds too much liquid to the cake and frosting. A strawberry reduction ensures the most flavor.

Cream cheese be sure to use full-fat cream cheese and not the spreadable type from a tub. Cold cream cheese won’t mix well, so make sure to bring it to room temperature.


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed just until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg whites and vanilla. Beat until on medium speed until well combined and very fluffy. Reduce the speed to low.

3. Add the flour mixture in batches to the mixer.

4. Alternate the flour with the milk and the strawberry reduction, mixing just until combined. Stop and scrape down the bowl as needed. If desired, mix in a drop or two of pink food coloring.

5. Divide the batter among the 2 buttered 9-inch round cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is springy to the touch and starts to pull away from the sides of the pans. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth and fluffy. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the powdered sugar alternating with a tablespoon of the strawberry puree. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy. Then assemble the strawberry cake by adding the frosting between the cake layers and the exterior of the cake.

strawberry cake recipe from scratch
strawberry cake recipe from scratch

Homemade Strawberry Cake

This Homemade Strawberry Cake is full of sweet, fresh strawberry flavor! Moist strawberry cake layers are paired with a strawberry cream cheese frosting for the ultimate strawberry cake! The texture isn’t light and fluffy, but instead tender with a tight crumb. You might even find it a little dense, but not too heavy.

Strawberry Cake

  • 3 cups (400g) of quartered strawberries*
  • 3/4 cup (173g) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 79 drops pink food color, optional

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 cups (46g) freeze dried strawberries*
  • 16 oz (452g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (172g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped strawberries


1. To make the strawberry reduction, add the strawberries to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of puree.
2. Add the puree to a medium sized saucepan and cook over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a slow boil, stirring consistently to keep it from burning, until it has thickened and reduced to 3/4 cup, about 20-25 minutes. To measure, pour the puree into a measuring cup. If it’s more than 3/4 cup, add it back to the pan and continue cooking.
3. When the puree has thickened and reduced, pour into a large measuring cup and allow to cool to at least room temperature. This strawberry mixture can be made ahead, if you like, and stored in the fridge.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper in the bottom and baking spray on the sides.
5. Combine the strawberry reduction, sour cream, milk, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl, then separate about 1 cup of the mixture into another bowl or measuring cup. About 1 1/2 cups should remain in the other bowl. Set both aside.
6. In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
7. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the butter about a tablespoon at a time, allowing it to incorporate before adding the next tablespoon. As you add more butter, the mixture will start to clump together a bit a should end up resembling wet sand.
8. Add the larger of the reserved egg mixture (about 1 1/2 cups) to the dry ingredients/butter mixture. Stir on the lowest speed until it’s incorporated, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
9. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds to one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
10. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the remaining egg mixture in a slow stream until incorporated.

strawberry cake recipe from scratch
strawberry cake recipe from scratch

11. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then turn speed back up to medium high and mix until well combined, about 10-15 seconds.
13. Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans and bake 24-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs.

14. Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.
15. To make the frosting, add the freeze dried strawberries to a food processor and grind into a powder. It should give you a little more than half a cup of strawberry powder.
16. In a large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
17. Slowly add half of the powdered sugar and the vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
18. Slowly add remaining powdered sugar and strawberry powder and mix until smooth. Add some salt, to taste. Set aside.
19. To put the cake together, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat. Refer to my tutorial, if needed. Place the first cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round.
20. Add about 1 cup of frosting to the top of the cake layer and spread evenly. Add about half of the chopped strawberries and press into the frosting.
21. Add the second layer of cake, another cup of frosting and the remaining chopped strawberries.
22. Top the cake with the remaining layer and frost the cake with the remaining frosting. Refer to my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake, if needed.
23. Pipe the shell border around the top and bottom of the cake. I used a large closed star tip for the top – Ateco 847. For the border around the bottom of the cake, I used Wilton tip 22.
24. Add a few strawberries on top for decoration and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cake is best when stored well covered and eaten within 3-4 days.

What I love about this Fresh Strawberry Cake recipe

Natural strawberry cake recipes can be very hit or miss. While I love a strawberry cake made with a box mix, Jello, and other add-in ingredients, this fresh strawberry cake recipe is one of my favorites! Ok maybe I’m biased since this cake represents so many good memories but I think you’ll like it too!  It does such a great job of capturing natural strawberry flavor and scent. Plus it’s super moist and fluffy thanks to the sour cream and strawberry reduction added to the batter.

Tips for Making the BEST Strawberry Cake Recipe & Frosting

  1. Don’t overmix- Be careful not to overwork the batter too much. This could result in a dry, crumbly cake as the gluten in the flour is overworked. I like to keep my mixer on a low-medium speed and mix just until the ingredients are combined.
  2. Don’t substitute the ingredients- While it may be tempting to go the all-butter route or the low-fat way, this cake works best with full-fat ingredients. Everything works together in this recipe.
  3. Don’t overbake– Even though this strawberry cake recipe is full of forgiveness ingredients, it’s still important not to overbake the cake layers. Remember cakes continue to cook as they cool. I remove it when moist crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted into the center.
strawberry cake recipe from scratch
strawberry cake recipe from scratch

The Strawberry Frosting

You can taste the fresh strawberry flavor in the baked cake, but the flavor is REALLY brought out when you combine it with strawberry frosting. Like strawberry cake, strawberry frosting has always left me feeling a little defeated. Fresh strawberries were the issue. The frosting would always curdle from the added moisture. And no amount of fresh strawberries could get me the strawberry flavor I craved. Instead of settling for artificial strawberry flavor, I took a trick from Sally’s Candy Addiction: strawberry dust! Grab some freeze-dried strawberries, grind them up, and toss it into the frosting.

(I actually added freeze-dried strawberries to cake batter as one of my test recipes. This was an awful decision and an epic fail. The cake was atrocious. Texture, taste, and appearance. Just… no. But freeze-dried strawbs are a YES for frosting!)

  • Where to buy freeze-dried strawberries? They’re more commonly found than you think. I always find freeze-dried strawberries in my regular grocery store in the dried fruit aisle. Wegmans, Giant, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Amazon, and Target each carry them.

Instead of a thicker strawberry buttercream, I used my silky cream cheese frosting recipe. Tossed in the freeze-dried strawberry “dust” and milk and was left with a frosting so pink, Barbie would be jealous!


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