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Soft and fluffy homemade strawberry cake made with fresh strawberries and topped with a creamy strawberry buttercream.
Middle of July already?? How? HOW? That can only mean one thing… We are more than halfway through our cake of the month adventure. How are we doing? Have you made any yet?
I know last month’s cake was a big hit and I saw manyyyy beautifully swirly pictures on IG! Thank you for tagging me!
Let’s see here… In past Cakes of The Month, we’ve made:
- yellow layer cake with chocolate buttercream
- dark chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting
- white layer cake with whipped cream buttercream
- banana crumb snack cake
- ice cream sheet cake
- red, white, & blue swirl bundt cake
Today, we’re visiting a cake that I’ve had in my back pocket for many years. I used to make this fresh strawberry cake often for custom cake customers, and it was wildly popular in the summer months.
The reason I’m bringing it to the blog today is because it showcases one of the best fruits summer has to offer: fresh strawberries.
NO GELATIN, JUST REAL STRAWBERRIES
Back in the day, when I developed this recipe, I took to Google and Pinterest to find a homemade strawberry cake that was made with actual fruit. Can you believe it?
Have you ever tried to search for a fresh strawberry cake recipe from scratch? Or a strawberry cake recipe without gelatin? I found a lot of recipes were made with strawberry jelly, jam, or even Jell-O, but that’s not at all what I was looking for.
I wanted soft, fluffy cake dotted with actual bits of strawberries, and a strawberry cake without gelatin. I found strawberry cupcakes from Brown Eyed Baker that I figured I could turn into a cake, and after a few tries, I settled on this lovely little number I’m sharing with you today.
HOW TO MAKE FRESH STRAWBERRY CAKE
The ingredients in this fabulous strawberry layer cake are nothing you haven’t seen already in cake. Nothing special, nothing fancy, and no artificial flavors.
You’ll be getting 100% of the strawberry flavor in this cake from actual, juicy strawberries. 2 cups of them! That’s about 16 large strawberries. So much flavor!
The cake itself lends to a soft and fluffy texture. You might think this cake should be dense and heavy, but it is absolutely not. It’s basically like eating a strawberry cloud. Can you dig it?
The only thing that makes this easy strawberry cake better is the absolutely creamy dreamy strawberry buttercream that gets slathered all over every inch of it. Ohhh, it is SO GOOD.
THE SECRET TO STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM
I spent a whole lot of time trying to make strawberry frosting in my past cake baker life, and I always failed miserably. I never got the right ratio of strawberries to sugar and butter in order to get great flavor and also avoid making a shloopy, drippy mess.
I even tried using strawberry puree, but still didn’t love the result.
Like I said, failed miserably. It wasn’t until I had a lightbulb moment and wondered if freeze-dried strawberries might do the trick. Spoiler alert: they were perfect.
We can get freeze-dried strawberries in the dried fruit section of our grocery store, so if you aren’t sure yours carries them, check that section carefully! I was surprised to find them there.
You’ll need to blend up approximately 1 cup of the freeze dried strawberries, winding up with about ½ cup of strawberry powder.
That will go directly into your basic buttercream (the same recipe I use here) and it will lend the most wonderful strawberry flavor while also keeping the integrity of your sturdy buttercream intact.
Win win, people!
The second you have a taste of this homemade strawberry cake with strawberry buttercream, you’ll wonder where this cake has been all of your summer so far.
It is the perfect way to use up that beautiful produce that is just calling your name every time you’re in the grocery store, and you won’t regret the time it takes to hull and chop all those strawberries. Totally worth the work.
This is, hands down, the best strawberry cake recipe I have ever had. Ever.
And if you want to turn it into a bundt cake, here’s my recipe for strawberry bundt cake with strawberry ganache!
We dined on this sweet and slightly tart cake all 4th of July weekend, and it was a huge hit everywhere it went, which was, surprisingly, a few people’s houses.
In fact (!!!!), our son has proved not to love cake so much (I’m a little heart broken), but he couldn’t get enough of this stuff. Perhaps it was all the fruitiness, who knows, but you definitely need this cake in your life this summer.
Besides, just look at those gorgeous strawberry studs and the color of that buttercream! Who can resist that?
Fresh Strawberry Cake
- 3 and ¼ cups (390g) all-purpose flour be sure to measure properly
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 1 and ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg white
- 1 cup (240g) milk any
- 2 cups finely chopped strawberries approximately 16 large strawberries
- 1 cup (10-12g) freeze-dried strawberries
- 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 4 to 5 cups (480-600g) powdered sugar
- ¼ to ⅓ cup (60-80mL) milk or cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- salt to taste
- Place oven rack on the middle setting and preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Grease and flour (or use homemade cake release) two 8" or 9" round cake pans.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with a handheld mixer, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla until pale (approximately 3 minutes). Add the eggs and egg white one at a time, allowing each to incorporate before adding the next one and scraping the. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in 2 parts, alternating with the milk. Gently fold in strawberries by hand.
- Divide batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake cakes for about 40-44 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops are lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow cakes to cool completely in the pans on a wire rack before removing and assembling.
- Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried strawberries into a fine powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with a handheld mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- With the mixer on low, add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk or cream. Add the strawberry powder, increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until completely smooth, about 3 minutes. If frosting is too stiff, add more milk. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar. Add salt to taste.
- For more buttercream troubleshooting tips, see my book, The Home Baker's Guide to Basic Buttercream.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
- Place second layer on top, cut surface down. For a sturdier cake, refrigerate at this point for about 10 minutes. When cake is slightly chilled, remove from refrigerator and spread more frosting on the top and around the sides. Serve. Leftovers stay fresh, covered tightly, at room temperature up to 5 days and in the refrigerator up to 1 week.
- Make ahead: prepare cakes and frosting up to 1 day in advance. Cover cakes tightly and keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator until ready to assemble. Refrigerate prepared frosting in an airtight container until ready to use. Unfrosted cake layers may be frozen, wrapped tightly, up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before assembling. Frosted cake can be frozen, wrapped tightly, up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.