This homemade Strawberry Cake recipe is made from scratch with tons of fresh strawberries! The cake layers are full of fresh strawberry flavor thanks to homemade strawberry puree, with a mouth-wateringly fresh strawberry buttercream frosting too! Topped with sliced strawberries for easy decorating, it's every strawberry lover's dream!
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We love Spring and Summer, and we LOVE fresh berries. Especially strawberries. We always have a few containers of strawberries either from going berry picking or grabbing a flat of them from the farmer's market during berry season. They're so fresh and sweet and juicy!
But every now and then the strawberries start to turn before we get to them. That's what I tend to use them for baking in things like this delicious strawberry cake, Strawberry Shortcake, or Strawberry Scones. Kind of like when bananas go mushy, I make Banana Bread or Banana Bars. The moral of the story is: when life gives you an abundance of fruit, make dessert!
This is a beautiful cake that's perfect for Easter or Valentine's Day, birthdays, bridal or baby showers, or just about any special occasion. For more celebration cakes, check out my Chantilly Cake, this decadent German Chocolate Cake, or my Classic Funfetti Cake!
This fresh strawberry cake recipe makes a fluffy and moist cake that is packed with fresh summer strawberry flavor! While a lot of strawberry cake recipes use a box mix, I prefer this from-scratch strawberry layer cake. I'm not against a boxed cake mix, but the intense flavor of strawberry you get by using fresh strawberries compared to freeze-dried strawberries or strawberry extracts in cake is far superior.
No strawberry will go to waste in this deliciously sweet treat, thanks to homemade reduced strawberry puree. The reduced strawberry puree is basically a condensed puree, which means it's less watery and way more flavorful. That's ultimately the trick to making fresh strawberry cake light and fluffy while also full of fresh flavor!
The reduced puree also gives the cake its fabulous pink color, though you can add a drop or two of red food coloring to make it even more vibrant if you want.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Full of fresh strawberry flavor made with real, juicy strawberries.
- Makes two thick layers or three regular layers.
- It's a perfect celebration cake for Valentine's Day, birthdays, or baby showers!
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Strawberry Puree - Use homemade reduced strawberry puree for the best flavor. You can use store-bought in a pinch but it won't taste exactly the same.
- Butter - Use salted butter to enhance the flavors in the cake and the buttercream frosting.
- Granulated Sugar - Granulated white sugar will give the cake just the right amount of sweetness.
- Eggs - You'll need the egg whites from the eggs, at room temperature, before you begin.
- Vanilla Extract - To add that sweet subtle warmth to the cake layers and frosting.
- Buttermilk - Use buttermilk to make the cake moist!
- Flour - Use cake flour for the best results with this cake. You can use all-purpose flour in a pinch but your cake may not be as soft and fluffy.
- Rising Agents - Use baking powder and baking soda to make the cake super fluffy.
- Salt - To enhance all the sweet and tart flavors.
- Strawberries - Use fresh strawberries, chopped, for adding to the cake layers for bursts of fresh strawberry in each bite!
- Freeze-Dried Strawberries - When powdered, they give the frosting their lovely pink color, as well as an intense strawberry flavor.
- Cream Cheese - The base of our creamy buttercream frosting.
- Powdered Sugar - Use confectioners' sugar to make the buttercream frosting more solid and very sweet!
- Coconut Extract - For a subtly sweet coconut flavor in the frosting, if you wish it.
- Milk or Cream - To thin the buttercream to the right consistency. I tend to use whole milk or heavy cream, depending on how much thinner I need the frosting.
How to Make Strawberry Cake
- Make reduced strawberry puree. Make your own fresh strawberry puree by first puréeing 2 pounds of fresh strawberries in a food processor or blender. This will give you about 2 cups of strawberry puree. Add the puréed strawberries to a small pot on the stovetop. Bring the puree to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until reduced by half. Take the mixture off the stove and let it cool to room temperature before adding it to your cake batter. It is best to make the strawberry puree the day before and keep it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Prepare equipment. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two 9-inch or three 8-inch pans with parchment paper circles.
- Make cake batter. Beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer until creamy and light. Add egg whites and vanilla extract.
- Add puree and other ingredients. Next, add the reduced strawberry puree. Then add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt alternately with the buttermilk.
- Add strawberries. Stir in the chopped fresh strawberries.
- Pour batter into pans. Pour half of the batter into each of the prepared pans, or divide evenly between however many you have depending on whether you are making a two or three layer cake.
- Bake. Bake the cakes in your preheated oven. The baking time will be 40-44 minutes for two 8-inch cakes, 38-40 minutes for two 9-inch cakes, 32-36 minutes for three 8-inch cakes. By the end of the baking time, you should be able to insert a toothpick into the thickest part of each cake layer and it comes out clean. Let the cake cool in their cake pans for a few minutes before turning them out onto wire racks to cool completely before assembling the full cake.
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
- Beat dairy and puree. Beat butter, cream cheese, and strawberry puree in a large bowl with a whisk attachment for 1 minute to combine.
- Make strawberry powder. Blend the freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor until you have a fine powder with some bigger bits in it if you like.
- Combine ingredients. Add strawberry powder, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and coconut extract to the butter mixture. Beat on medium-high for 4-5 minutes until fully combined, fluffy, and light.
Assemble The Cake
- Make layers flat. Slice off the tops of the cake layers using a large serrated knife so that they are flat.
- Layer cake. Put the first cake layer on your cake stand or plate, and cover it evenly with pink frosting on the top. Repeat with the second layer, or however many layers you have made.
- Decorate and garnish. When you put the last layer on top, cover the top and all around the sides of the cake with pink frosting as well. Add some slices of fresh strawberries in a cluster, or in a pattern on top of the cake to garnish.
- Chill and serve. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so just to set the frosting before slicing for a cleaner cut, or serve straight away!
This Strawberry Cake is one of the BEST recipes to use lots of strawberries in because the strawberry-reduced puree takes a lot of strawberries to make, and that's what gives this cake a real strawberry flavor! You could also make Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake, Strawberry Scones, or Old Fashioned Strawberry Pie!
You should be able to get freeze-dried strawberries from your local grocery store in the dried fruit aisle, but don't mistake them for dried strawberries!
You can use frozen strawberries to make reduced strawberry puree, but it will take longer to make as they contain more water than fresh strawberries, even once defrosted.
Keep this cake refrigerated in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap for up to 5 days.
You can freeze this cake for up to 3 months when stored correctly. Keep it either whole or in slices in a freezer-safe container, or wrap it in plastic wrap in Ziploc bags and freeze. Put it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw.
Tips for Success
- Use salted butter for this recipe. If you only have unsalted butter, then add ¼ teaspoon of salt to the cake batter, and also ¼ teaspoon of salt to the frosting.
- Make the reduced puree the day before and chill it in the refrigerator overnight for it to set slightly for a fuller flavor in your cake.
- Check your cakes near the end of the baking time to make sure they don't burn. Every oven is different, so use the baking times as a guide.
- Refrigerate the cake before slicing into it to allow it to set slightly, resulting in a less crummy slice!
Crumbs with Frosting
If you find that the frosting is making cake crumbs come off the cake and mix into it while you are spreading the frosting on, then you can chill the cake in the refrigerator for an hour. When you come back to it to frost it, the cake will be slightly more set with the initial layer of frosting and be less prone to crumbling!
Substitutions and Variations
- Decoration. Use frosting in a piping bag with a decorative tip to make decorative swirls around the edge or in the center of the cake. Then add strawberry halves or sprinkles to the swirls.
- Frosting. Use my Fresh Strawberry Frosting instead of the strawberry cream cheese frosting, or use my Vanilla Buttercream Frosting or even Chocolate Frosting for a different flavor variation.
- Cupcakes. Try my recipe for Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes for a similar cupcake version of this summery cake!
More Delicious Celebration Cake Recipes
- Classic Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
- Vintage Cherry Cake
- The BEST Carrot Cake
- Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake
- Devil's Food Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
- 8-Inch Round Cake Pans
- 1 cup fresh strawberry puree (made with 1 pound fresh strawberries)
- 1 cup salted butter room temperature (227g)
- 2 cups granulated sugar 400g
- 6 large egg whites room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature (250ml)
- 3 cups cake flour spooned & leveled (357g)
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup finely chopped strawberries about 8 large strawberries
- 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries finely crushed into about ½ cup of powder (about 25g)
- 1 cup salted butter softened (227g)
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup fresh strawberry puree (made with 4 oz fresh strawberries)
- 4 cups powdered sugar 480g
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon coconut extract optional
- 1-2 Tablespoons milk or cream if needed for desired consistency
- Remove the stems and hulls from about 1 pound 4 ounces of strawberries, and blend in a food processor until pureed. Transfer the puree to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently until reduced by about half so you have 1 ¼ cups. Allow to cool completely and refrigerate before using it in the cake. You will use 1 cup for the cake batter and the remaining ¼ cup for the frosting.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 9-inch or three 8-inch pans with parchment paper circles.
- Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy and light. Add egg whites and vanilla extract. Add 1 cup of reduced strawberry puree, reserving the remaining ¼ cup for the frosting. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in the chopped fresh strawberries.
- Divide between pans and bake 40-44 minutes for two 8-inch cakes, 38-40 minutes for two 9-inch cakes, 32-36 minutes for three 8-inch cakes.
- By the end of the baking time, you should be able to insert a toothpick into the thickest part of each cake layer and it comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in their cake pans for a few minutes before turning them out onto wire racks to cool completely before assembling the full cake.
- Beat butter, cream cheese, and remaining ¼ cup strawberry puree in a large bowl with a whisk attachment for 1 minute to combine.
- Add strawberry powder, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and coconut extract. Beat on medium-high for 4-5 minutes until fluffy and light.
- Slice the tops of the cake layers using a large serrated knife so that they are flat. Put the first cake layer onto your cake stand or plate, and cover it evenly with pink frosting. Repeat with the second and third layers, or however many layers you have made. When you put the last layer on top, cover the top and sides of the cake with pink frosting as well.
- Add some slices of fresh strawberries in a cluster, or in a pattern on top of the cake to garnish.
- Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes before slicing and serving for a smoother cut.
- Storage: Keep this cake refrigerated in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Keep it either whole or in slices in a freezer-safe container, or wrap it in plastic wrap in Ziploc bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Put it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw.