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!

strawberry cake collage

Homemade Strawberry Cake

Strawberry cake is a favorite of mine and always has been. As a kid, strawberry cake (from a mix) with cream cheese frosting was a fave. I even made it into a strawberry cupcake a while back.

Then I decided the only thing better than that would be to have a strawberry cake made from scratch with all the flavor coming from real strawberries, so made I made this cake. And while it is delicious, I’ve learned a few things since then and knew I could make it even better.

How, you ask? A reduction. I first started reducing champagne to use in recipes several years ago, starting with these Mini Strawberry Champagne Cheesecakes. I wanted plenty of champagne flavor, but just adding it as is wasn’t enough. So I started reducing that. Then I discovered that method would work well with strawberry puree and used it for a Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake, No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake and even Strawberry Whipped Cream.

So finally I decided to revisit my strawberry cake and try it out with a strawberry reduction.

overhead of full homemade fresh strawberry cakeslice of strawberry cake

How to Make Homemade Strawberry Cake

To make this amazing Strawberry Cake, you’ll start off with your strawberries, puree them and then cook them until reduced by half. Ultimately you’ll pack one pound of strawberries into these cake layers in the form of three fourths cup of strawberry reduction. Rock on!

From there, you’ll actually use the reverse creaming method in this cake, as opposed to the regular creaming method, which you see most often around here.

Reverse Creaming Method

While working with a new mixing method can seem a little intimidating at first, this method is super simple and is totally worth learning something new. I’ve actually kind of fallen in love with it, so you’ll see it around here more. Basically it goes like this:

1. Combine the wet ingredients, aside from the butter.
2. Combine the dry ingredients.
3. Slowly mix the butter into the dry ingredients.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredient/butter mixture in two parts.

Not only is this method easy, it produces the loveliest crumb and cake texture. It’s so tender and silky. I love it! That said, it has a tight crumb, so you don’t expect it to be a fluffy cake. It’s on the more dense side, but it’s not overly heavy.

overhead of homemade fresh strawberry cake with a slice cut out

So for this particular cake, you’ll combine the strawberry reduction with the rest of the wet ingredients. I added the milk and sour cream to it right away to help it cool down more quickly (impatience!), then added everything else once it was room temperature. You’ll divide the wet mixture into two parts and set them both aside.

From there, combine the dry ingredients and then slowly add the butter one tablespoon or so at a time. The mixer should be on low speed and will eventually the mixture will start to resemble wet sand.

Then you’ll add some of the wet ingredients and turn the mixer up to medium high and beat for about a minute. This is when the air is incorporated into the batter and it gets wonderfully light and fluffy! Next, add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well. At this point I added a little bit of extract pink color to the batter, just to get a nicer shade of pink. You could leave it out though.

slice of homemade fresh strawberry cake

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Once your cake is baked and cooled, it’s time to slather it in the best strawberry frosting! For the strawberry flavor, I used freeze dried strawberries. As mentioned before, I love cream cheese frosting with strawberry cake. You could certainly use regular cream cheese frosting, but I decided to add even more strawberry flavor.

Adding strawberry puree (even reduced puree) to the frosting is going to add too much liquid for the cream cheese frosting to hold up well. To fix that – freeze dried strawberries to the rescue! They add LOTS of great flavor without adding liquid, which is just what is needed.

If you’ve really got your heart set on using strawberry puree for the frosting, I suggest using a regular buttercream. Check out my vanilla buttercream frosting and add some strawberry puree (reduced would give you even more flavor) in place of the milk. Another alternative would be to lighten things up with strawberry whipped cream.

The Best Strawberry Cake

This Homemade Strawberry Cake is soft, moist and full of strawberry flavor! It’s exactly what you’re looking in a strawberry cake. And if you’ve never tried the creaming method, this is a great chance to try it. You’ll fall in love with the ease of the method and the tender cake it gives you. It’s not particularly light and fluffy, because it has a tight crumb. You might even describe it as dense, but it’s not heavy. It is tender and full of flavor! Enjoy!

full shot of whole strawberry cake

More Strawberry Desserts To Try

Strawberry Poke Cake
Strawberry Shortcake Cake
Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake Cake
Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes
Strawberry Cheesecake
Strawberry Pound Cake
No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

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Full image of Homemade Fresh Strawberry Cake
Recipe

Homemade Strawberry Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 51 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 6 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Scale

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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.
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.

Notes

NOTE: I used a full pound of strawberries for the puree for the cake layers and additional strawberries for between the cake layers. Your strawberries MUST have great flavor in order for your cake to have any flavor. If your strawberries are lacking, your cake will be too.

If you’d prefer not to use freeze dried strawberries, you can use fresh strawberries. Just check out my Homemade Strawberry Frosting.

Keywords: strawberry cake recipe, strawberry cake filling, homemade strawberry cake, strawberry cake from scratch, best strawberry cake recipe, easy strawberry cake recipe, strawberry layer cake, layer cake, layer cake recipe

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Recipe rating

198 Comments
  1. Amanda Rambo

    I made this cake and it was PERFECT! I will make this cake again and again. Thanks for the recipe 🤗

  2. Christy Bartelt

    Have you used cake flour for this recipe for a lighter more delicate crumb? If so, what other changes to the recipe would be needed?

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t used it with this cake so it’s hard to say for sure. You could certainly try it. I don’t typically use cake flour because I honestly don’t like the flavor it gives baked goods.

  3. Genesis

    I made this cake for my daughter’s birthday per her request and everyone loved it! Even the picky people commented on how good this cake was! My sister still brings up this cake saying “it was SO good! You need to make it again!” It does take time to make the reduction but all good things take time!

  4. Lo

    I love this recipe. The first few times I made this it came out perfect but the last three times I’ve made this cake, my cake layers aren’t as tall and fluffy…. why would that be? Help!

  5. Bianca

    hi! would this cake be okay to bake in a sheet pan? i love your vanilla sheet cake recipe and use it all the time.

    1. Lindsay

      I’m glad you enjoyed the sheet cake! I haven’t tried this one as a sheet cake, but I would think that it would be fine.

  6. Jo

    A fair amount of work, worthy of a special occasion – but the “best cake I have ever tasted” according to my husband – very happy guests at our daughters birthday party!! NB. I went with a lite cream cheese and much less sugar for the frosting.. but it was still sweet and tasty!

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I like your comparison to cotton candy – that describes it well! As for using that method on other recipes, I wouldn’t say that you can do that with all. That vanilla cupcake is actually my oldest and no longer my recommended cupcake, as it’s fairly dense. I’d recommend my newest vanilla cake. The reverse creaming method should be fine on that cake. I did it in my similar version of yellow cake.

  7. Beatriz

    I really loved the recipe! your blog is so organized and well divided and you put the measurements in grams and the equivalent in cups or spoons this is so good !!! I had several problems this week with recipes that didn’t include the equivalent of each ingredient! thank you! I already subscribed to your channel!

      1. Lindsay

        It wouldn’t really turn out the same way since the consistency of the two is different. You would lose a good bit of moisture.

  8. Barb

    Hey Lindsay, I absolutely love this recipe , I made it for my friends; Linda, Sahrah, Karen, And Josie-Marie-Anne!! It was so flavorful and extravagant. Do you think I could make cake cookies with this? ❤️ I’ll definitely go and make some more of your recipes, I appreciate you! 💋🤗

    1. Lindsay

      So glad you love it! I’m not sure about cake cookies, but it’s a pretty thin batter so I’m guessing not.

    1. Lindsay

      Definitely. It can be refrigerated for about a week. Just bring it back to room temperature and give it a good stir before using.

  9. Shanah

    I made this cake for my husband’s birthday and he loved it! It is a more dense cake, but we really enjoyed this richer denser cake. The texture is delicious (reminds me of Crave cupcakes)! My dad liked it so much that he wants a cake like this for his birthday.
    Lindsay,
    Do you know how to modify this recipe for a vanilla cake? I looked through your recipes and saw one that looked similar called “Moist Vanilla Layer Cake”. I noticed a few changes in the ingredients… if i wanted to make a vanilla cake with the same dense texture as the strawberry cake can i just remove the strawberries?? Thank you! And thank you for sharing your delicious recipes!

    1. Lindsay

      So glad you enjoyed it! You could try my Yellow Cake, which is very similar and uses the same mixing method to produce the same texture. If you’d prefer it to not be a yellow cake, try replacing the egg yolks with an additional egg.

  10. Savannah L Schlagel

    literally hands down the best strawberry cake ever! somehow I ended up with a much bigger amount of reduction but I think I may have just used way to many strawberries….

  11. Ronak Mehta

    Baked this cake for my birthday and it was an absolute hit! So moist and tasty. Thank you for doing what you do

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t typically freeze full cakes. You could try it, but the fresh strawberries between the layers will likely be soggy after defrosting.

  12. Gi-Gi

    This recipe looks great. I want to try it for my daughter’s birthday, will use strawberry frosting for filling and crumb coat but cover with fondant. I will bake in 8″ pans, onmy 2, hope it won’t be a problem? But my question is, how high will it rise and after I cut the dome off the top (level the cake) will I have 2 layers of atleadt 2″ each? I need rhe cake to be 4″ high for decorations that goes on the side.

    1. Lindsay

      I can’t remember exactly how tall the layers were, so it’s hard for me to say exactly. I would think it’d be very close to 4 inches, I just can’t say for sure if it’s exactly that or a little more or less.

  13. Brittney keller

    Hi Lindsey,
    So I’m hosting a end of the summer party tomorrow and I’m making this cake tonight to save me time tomorrow morning.. I’m afraid if I ice it and add the fresh strawberries in between layers it will mold if it sits in my cake stand overnight.. have you ever done that before and was it fine the next day?

  14. JennW

    So i went through all the extra trouble to make this cake with plain cream cheese icing and no one even knew it was supposed to be strawberry. I put a pound and a half of strawberries in my puree. It was a good cake just no real strawberry flavor. I will stick tothe the old fashioned in the future-Way easier and you know its strawberry cake!

    1. Lindsay

      I’m sorry you were disappointed. As I mentioned in the blog post, the strawberry flavor in this cake will only be as good as the strawberry flavor of your strawberries. Some have great flavor and others don’t, so you really want to be sure that they smell REALLY nice. That usually means they have lots of flavor too.

  15. Nikki

    First off, lovely scripture of the day. Thanks for sharing.
    If the strawberries aren’t the most flavorful, can I pop them in the over to semi dry them and create a bit more flavor before pureeing them? Do you think that will work for out of season Strawberries?

    1. Lindsay

      I’ve never tried that before, so I’m not sure. As long as they don’t get too dry, I’d think it’d be fine.

  16. Teisha

    In other strawberry cakes recipes I’ve used frozen strawberries, placed them in the food processor, puréed them and added them directly to the recipe without adding the water and boiling them. Is it ok to do the same with this recipe? 

    1. Lindsay

      You could do that in this cake, but you’ll have half the strawberry flavor. The benefit of cooking down the strawberry puree is that it literally doubles the strawberry flavor. This cake will lack strawberry flavor without cooking it down. And there’s no water added to it. And if you use frozen strawberries, you’ll want to thaw them and pat them dry first so that you’d aren’t adding additional water to the puree and further decreasing the strawberry flavor.

  17. Aly

    Made this yesterday, and it was unbelievable!!! I changed a few things, and didnt have enough strawberries… but making the strawberry reduction made it so flavorful and moist! Thank you so much! It was a crowd pleaser!

  18. Jaclyn

    I saw a couple people asking about making this as cupcakes – I used this recipe for cupcakes and they came out great. For me, it made 24 cupcakes and they took about 20 minutes to cook at 350F. It was my first time using the reverse creaming method but I followed the recipe carefully and the texture was just as described – a tight crumb, but tender and not heavy at all. I added some extra freeze dried strawberries to the frosting to get a really strong strawberry flavor, and used about half as much frosting for the cupcakes as is called for for the layer cake, maybe less. With ~10 drops red food coloring added to the batter, they came out really pretty.

  19. Mandy

    Made it a couple of times now and despite the natural color of the cake when it’s done, it taste DELICIOUS!!! I initially made it for my daughter’s 1st birthday and then it has been requested over and over by family and friends. My definitely favorite and go to recipe for strawberry cake 

  20. Danielle

    I love this recipe, I had to bake a gluten free cake. So I replaced the flour with 1-1 gluten free flour and it turned out really great. Will definitely be using this recipe again. 

  21. Silvia

    I have made this recipe twice. I really like the flavor of this cake but both times I have made my cakes don’t rise. They are very flat. I thought it was my leaveners so I tested them and both are still good. Any idea what I could have done wrong?

    1. Lindsay

      Hmm, hard to say for sure. It’s possible that the batter is being over mixed after adding the wet ingredients. At the end you don’t want to mix too long. It’s possible that could cause an issue.

  22. Emily Dougall

    I love this recipe. I made the cupcake versions not too long ago.
    I was just wondering if this could work as a raspberry cake? If you just replace how you use strawberries but use raspberries instead.

    I look forward to hearing back, thank you.

    1. Dorothy Aduddell

      You can get “cake baking” strips (Wilton and others) that you moisten and wrap around the cake pans. Great results to stop the dome effect! I have some for 9 x 13 but I don’t currently see them on the ‘net.

  23. Aalia (6 yrs old)

    this cake was delicious, my family loved it and it made my day so happy. 💋💋💋💋💋💋💋💋💋

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12