Homemade Strawberry Cake

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4.95 from 138 votes

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Soft and fluffy homemade strawberry cake made with fresh strawberries and topped with a creamy strawberry buttercream. With nearly triple digit 5-star reviews since its publication in 2017, this cake is sure to be a favorite in your kitchen, too!

slice of fresh strawberry cake on a plate

This cake is so darn good. There is just no other way to describe it.

After years of being incredibly disappointed with strawberry cakes that tasted too artificial because they were made with strawberry gelatin or ones that were too wet because they didn’t take care to prepare the fresh strawberries properly, I settled on the perfect combination and ratio of ingredients as well as the perfect strawberry buttercream

This is hands down the most popular cake recipe that exists on my site, and if you give it a shot, I know you’ll be doing a happy-strawberry-cake dance like I do every time I make it.

aerial photo of fresh strawberry cake with a slice cut out of it

This is the Best Strawberry Cake Recipe!

Long ago, around 2010, when I started baking and decorating custom cakes for people, I took to Google and Pinterest to find a homemade strawberry cake that was made with actual fruit. Can you believe it was super difficult to find?

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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, strawberry jam, or even strawberry Jell-O, but that’s not at all what I was looking for.

I wanted soft, fluffy cake dotted with actual bits of real 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 that has been gracing people’s kitchens since I published the recipe in 2017.

Consider this 5-star review from reader Jan:

“This is just the most fantastic recipe. Not only is the cake absolutely delicious, the recipe works! I’ve spent years trying recipes from the internet and a lot of them are wrong in so many ways, but this is one I’ll be using for many years ahead.

STRAWBERRY CAKE PROBLEMS

Since the publication of this recipe in 2017, I see a lot of the same remarks over and over in comments and reviews. Home bakers like you are so happy to find a delicious strawberry cake that doesn’t have any extra steps (like making a strawberry reduction), doesn’t use any strawberry extract, and doesn’t have you reaching for a box of strawberry gelatin. 

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with those recipes and I am confident they all have people who use them as their go-to strawberry cake recipe, this strawberry cake has stood the test of time in my as well as my readers’ kitchens, and I am confident that if you give my recipe a try, you will be a believer, too!


Homemade Strawberry Cake ingredients

This easy strawberry cake recipe uses very simple ingredients. The only odd ball is probably the freeze-dried strawberries, but see my note below or in the recipe card about where to find them.

Aerial photo of ingredients for strawberry cake with text overlay.

For this strawberry cake, you will need:
all-purpose flour
baking powder
salt
butter
granulated sugar
vanilla extract
eggs + egg white
milk
fresh strawberries

Aerial photo of ingredients for strawberry buttercream with text overlay.

For the strawberry buttercream, you will need:
freeze-dried strawberries
butter
powdered sugar
milk or cream
vanilla extract
salt

WHERE DO I FIND FREEZE-DRIED STRAWBERRIES?

Freeze-dried strawberries are typically found in the dried fruit section of your grocery store. If you can’t find them there, check the aisle with bulk candy, if your grocery store has one.

Make sure you are buying freeze-dried strawberries and not just dried strawberries. Dried strawberries are more of a gummy texture. You are making strawberry powder, so you’ll want to buy the ones with zero moisture in them.

Fresh Strawberry Cake Recipe substitutions

If all you have are frozen strawberries, you may use them. Thaw and blot or squeeze dry as much as possible, then proceed with the recipe. You can also use any milk that you prefer, but I always test my recipes with full fat cow milk.

fresh strawberry cake batter in cake pans ready to bake

How to make 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!

cut strawberries in a glass measuring cup

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.

Consider this 5-star review from reader Nancy:

“The best scratch cake I have ever made. Huge hit with the whole family! Moist and delicious!! The freeze dried strawberries were a great addition to the buttercream.”

The secret to buttercream for Strawberry Cake from Scratch

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 (which is my classic vanilla buttercream recipe) and it will lend the most wonderful strawberry flavor while also keeping the integrity of your sturdy buttercream intact.

Win win, people!

How to serve this Fresh Strawberry Cake Recipe

This cake can be served as is, or with fresh strawberry compote spooned on top. Garnish the cake with fresh strawberry slices for an extra punch of fresh strawberry flavor and texture.

fresh strawberry cake on a cake stand

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 life 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.

fresh strawberry cake on a plate with a fork and a bite taken out of it

Besides, just look at those gorgeous strawberry studs and the color of that buttercream! Who can resist that?

How to store Fresh Strawberry Cake

Store this cake covered tightly at room temperature up to 5 days, but cake will start to lose its moisture after about 3 days, and strawberries will start to get soggy. Store the cake in the refrigerator to maintain freshness longer.

Homemade Strawberry Cake FAQs

Since strawberries are a very wet berry, it’s important to make sure your strawberries are completely dry before you chop them, otherwise you run the risk of the berries making your cake sponge soggy.

A strawberry cake is made of light and airy layers of cake sponge while a strawberry shortcake is made of a more crisp and crumbly cake or sometimes biscuit texture. It gets its name from the use of shortening as the fat for the cake, and this strawberry cake uses all butter.

The key to a super moist and light cake lies very heavily in the starting temperature of the fat, or in the case of this strawberry cake, the butter. You want room temperature butter, which is likely much cooler than you think it is. If your butter is too warm or even partially melted, it will not cream properly with the sugar, which is where a lot of the air and moisture comes from in a cake. See my post about room temperature butter for further explanation.

Fresh strawberries will last about 3-5 days in a baked cake, assuming they were fresh when you chopped them and added them to the cake batter. If you have sad strawberries that need to be used up before they go bad, make sure they are blotted dry before you chop them, and any soggy spots have been removed.

As written, this recipe will make one 9″ x 13″ sheet cake. Bake time will be about 25-30 minutes.

Love fresh strawberry recipes? Try my strawberry bundt cake, strawberry lemonade quick bread, or strawberry compote recipes next!

Slice of fresh strawberry cake on a plate with a fresh strawberry next to it.
4.95 from 138 votes
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Strawberry Cake from Scratch

Soft and fluffy homemade strawberry cake made with fresh strawberries and topped with a creamy strawberry buttercream.
Prep Time20 minutes
Bake Time44 minutes
Total Time1 hour 4 minutes
Recipe Author Lynn April
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

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 strawberries1 approximately 16 large strawberries

STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 cup (20g) freeze-dried strawberries2
  • 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
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

STRAWBERRY CAKE

  • 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.
    3 and ¼ cups (390g) all-purpose flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt
  • 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.
    1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar, 1 and ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, 3 large eggs, 1 large egg white
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in 2 parts, alternating with the milk.
    1 cup (240g) milk
  • Blot the strawberries dry (you don't need to wring them out, just blot them), then gently fold in strawberries by hand.
    2 cups finely chopped strawberries1
  • 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.

STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM

  • Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried strawberries into a fine powder. Set aside.
    1 cup (20g) freeze-dried strawberries2
  • 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.
    1 cup (227g) unsalted butter
  • With the mixer on low, add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk or cream. Add the strawberry powder and salt, 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.
    4 to 5 cups (480-600g) powdered sugar, ¼ to ⅓ cup (60-80mL) milk or cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon salt

ASSEMBLE THE CAKE

  • Trim cooled cake layers to create a flat surface. You can do this with a large serrated knife or a cake leveler. Place one layer on a plate or cake stand and cover the top with strawberry buttercream frosting. Spread evenly with an offset spatula.
  • 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.

Video

Notes

  1. Strawberries: you can use frozen strawberries, too. Thaw them first then blot or squeeze some of the liquid out of them before using.
  2. Freeze-dried strawberries: freeze-dried strawberries are typically found in the dried fruit section of your grocery store. If you can’t find them there, check the aisle with bulk candy, if your grocery store has one.
  3. This cake can also be made into a bundt cake. Recipe differs only slightly. I paired that one with a strawberry ganache, but you can use any frosting you like.
  4. To turn this cake into cupcakes: this will yield about 24 cupcakes. Bake time is about 18-22 minutes.
  5. To turn this into a sheet cake: as written, this recipe will make one 9″ x 13″ sheet cake. Bake time will be about 25-30 minutes.
     
 
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Did you make this recipe?Mention @freshaprilflours on Instagram or tag #freshaprilflours!

Nutrition Disclosure

All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 799kcal | Carbohydrates: 120g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 371mg | Potassium: 406mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 88g | Vitamin A: 1050IU | Vitamin C: 255mg | Calcium: 139mg | Iron: 6mg

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411 Comments

  1. I love this cake of the month series! I wish I had more opportunities to make layer cakes. Next time I make one, it will have to be strawberry. I love that you used fresh and freeze dried strawberries!

    1. Made this strawberry cake for my son’s birthday. Turned out denser than most cakes. The flavor was good.
      I didn’t use freeze dried strawberries. I dehydrated fresh ripe strawberries and. Ground them in a small food Processor. Flavor was wonderful, color pretty pink

  2. I have been trying to figure our what to make for my birthday cake next month (yes I am one of those people). I think this might be at the top of the list, I love all the real strawberries in the batter and that buttercream, OMG! The cake looks perfect and fluffy. Thanks for posting your beloved recipe and I will report back if I make it.

    1. Oh, one more thing, what is the bake time on this? I think it was supposed to be step 3 but it is not there.

    2. Hi Courtney! SO sorry, that was a complete oversight on my part. I didn’t even type out the recipe– I just left my shorthand notes in there! It’s now fixed and all the pertinent information is there 🙂 thanks for pointing that out for me!

    3. Was there suppose to be baking soda in this recipe? I did alter Slightly as I puréed the strawberries. It was delicious but quite dense so I was unsure if there was suppose to be baking soda and baking powder.

    4. Nope, no baking soda. Pureeing the strawberries will give you more liquid and weigh down the batter. It’s not a “light” cake, but it’s certainly not dense.

  3. YES for REAL strawberries! Girl, this looks incredible. And SO SMART to use freeze dried strawberries for the buttercream. I’ve always had a ton of trouble using juicy berries to work in a buttercream, and this is just pure genius. YUM!

    1. I used an immersion blender to liquefy a couple of ripe strawberries. I added a couple of tablespoons of the liquid to the butter cream and reduced the volume of cream. It was excellent. The icing had a lovely strawberry flavour and was a gorgeous shade of pink. I made this cake for a 65th birthday party it was a big hit. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Lynn! This is just perfect! Strawberries are everywhere in our supermarkets at the moment and they are so sweet and juicy. I’ve been searching for the best fresh strawberry cake for a long time, and now you’ve created it! I can’t wait to try this out ASAP to make the most of our winter strawberry haul! So beautiful!

    1. Do you mean 4 sticks of butter in the cake mix? It says 1 cup then 2 sticks (which I know is the equivalent of one cu

    2. It should say “1 cup (2 sticks),” but I just switched over to a new site/new formatting, so I’m still working through fixing the formatting issues!

    1. Thank you! If I was wanting to half this recipe, what would be your flour and egg suggestion? Thanks!

    2. For flour: 1 and 1/2 cups + 2 Tablespoons, and for the eggs: I would drop down to one large egg and keep the whole large egg white.

  5. I think I love you! ❤️
    But seriously, my little girl loves strawberries (doesn’t care for chocolate) so this is her birthday cake. She is one happy 10 year old!

    1. Hahaha, well thanks, Lissa! I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake! PS my birthday was yesterday (9/26) so are your daughter and I birthday buddies? Happy birthday to her, whenever it is!

    1. Temperature would be the same, but you’ll want to decrease the baking time. I would try starting with something like 25 minutes and checking from there.

    2. 5 stars
      Making this cake now.- Just a quick question about the freeze-dried strawberries: is it 1 cup before or after pulsating them?

    3. Hi, Josh– it’s before. For future reference, in a recipe, the descriptor will fall before or after the measurement so you are clear on what you need. If I wanted you to have 1 cup of freeze-dried strawberry powder, I would have said it that way. Just like “1 cup of strawberries, chopped” would mean 1 cup of measured strawberries, then chopped vs “1 cup of chopped strawberries” which would mean chopped strawberries measured out into 1 cup. Make sense? Hope that helps!

    1. Yes, they can. Try to get as much moisture out of them if you can, if you’re going to thaw them. I would probably use them frozen, but you’ll need to chop them up first.

  6. 5 stars
    Delicious! Thank you for this from scratch Strawberry cake recipe. I made this yesterday to bring to work today for a friends birthday. Everyone loved it. I found the freeze dried strawberries at Whole Foods. I followed the recipe as written and it was perfect! So glad I found your website/blog!

  7. It looks and sounds amazing! I’m just curious, could I substitute the fresh strawberries for freeze-dried in the cake batter? If so, how much?

    1. Hi, Amanda! You probably could, though I’d be concerned you’d be missing out on a mega moisture factor. If you try it, let me know! I would try about a cup.

  8. Would this strawberry cake pair well with cream cheese frosting in your opinion? My mother in law has requested a strawberry cake, but with cream cheese frosting. Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. Hey, Kelly! That sounds fabulous. If you don’t have a cream cheese frosting recipe, I have one here. You can always keep the addition of the strawberry powder from this recipe in order to make strawberry cream cheese frosting, but of course, that’s not totally necessary, just a suggestion! Let me know how it works out 🙂

    2. 5 stars
      Hi! I know this is a super late reply, but my mother in law LOVED your cake! I ended up using your cream cheese frosting recipe as well and I added the freeze dried strawberries to make it strawberry cream cheese frosting. It was amazing! I loved the cake so much that I’m making it for my birthday tomorrow! Thank you for your help and my new go to birthday cake!

    3. Oh, I love this report! Thanks for letting me know, Kelly! What a delish combo. I hope you have a wonderful birthday 🙂

  9. Hi, for the icing do I chop up the frozen strawberries or due I thaw them…I’m just a little confused on that part.

    1. 5 stars
      I used frozen strawberries to make the buttercream yesterday. ~3/4 cup in a single serve blender jar on a low setting, just until they were chopped down (maybe 10-15 seconds). I used a little less than 1/4 cup milk, and I also chilled it a little before spreading it on the cake. It turned out great, and everybody loved it!

  10. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness .. this was so good! I did one strawberry and one blueberry!!!

    I actually substituted 1/2 the sugar in the cake with stevia and 1/4 the icing sugar was Swerve confectioners blend! It still did Great!

    The strawberry was my favorite but the blueberry cake was so yummy!!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Sally! And IG’ing it! And thanks for sharing your successful substitutions 🙂

    2. Hey, Emma! I’m not sure what went wrong, but it sounds like you may have used a wrong ingredient. Unless you used cornmeal instead of flour, there’s hardly a way for this to taste like cornbread, especially if you added strawberries. This is one of my most popular and positively reviewed recipes.

    3. Did you use freeze dried blueberries for the frosting and fresh blueberries for the cake? Doing a baby shower and the mom to be isn’t finding out the sex of the baby, so I want one pink and one blue dessert!!

  11. 5 stars
    I just made these for my niece’s first birthday and they came out great! I used a 1:1 gluten free flour blend, and was a little bit worried about how thick the batter was, but after they cooked with the moisture from the strawberries it was perfect. Thank you!

    1. Hi, Sue! The recipe is right there on the page. You actually have to scroll past it to comment on the blog. There’s a “print” button so you can print it right from your screen. Thanks!

  12. Tried this Strawberry cake recipe for the first time. Cake was very crumbly which made it hard to ice. Any suggestions?

    1. Hey, Marilyn. Cake is fairly crumbly on the outsides normally. I always do a crumb coat to lock in the crumbs and make it easier to ice. Unless you feel the inside was also crumbly, I don’t think anything went wrong.

  13. 5 stars
    I made this cake for one of my customers…. and it came out absolutely perfect!!! Love the texture and the taste is spot on!! I never liked using extracts and Jello for cakes with fruits and this definitely the winner for me. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.