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

204 Comments
  1. 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.

  2. 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….

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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 

  12. 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. 

  13. 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.

      1. Reshma

        Hi I’m planning to bake this for my friends birthday. Looks like it will be on heavier side do you think this can stay as second tier cake on a lighter fluffier bottom layer? Also I’m planning to make this in 3 6” pans. How do I reduce the quantity? Will it be half the quantities? Please help.

      2. Lindsay

        If the lower tier is well doweled, it should be fine. I don’t really make 6 inch cakes, so it’s hard for me to say.

  14. 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.

  15. Aalia (6 yrs old)

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

  16. Miza

    Hi I am going to be baking this strawberry cake tomorrow and was wondering if I can use CAKE flour instead of the all purpose as per your recipe ….:

    I am worried about the cake being too dense given my current batch of AP flour and other cakes I have made recently that have not come out as fluffy and light and crumby as I would have liked ..:

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t tried it with cake flour, but imagine it would be fine.

      As far as dense-ness goes, I wouldn’t expect this cake to come out fluffy and light. I don’t describe it that way intentionally. It’s on the heavier side compared to a cake that uses the more traditional creaming method, but I also think it has a wonderful texture to it.

  17. Kenneth

    Hi Lindsay, I enjoyed watching your Strawberry Cake recipe on Youtube and tried to follow what you showed. However, the 3 layers of cake turned out to be very chewy and heavy. Not fluffy at all. Do you know why this happened? Also, the frosting seem to be very sticky and melts easily unlike your frosting which seems to be more firm. Hope you can advise me. Thank you very much.

    1. Lindsay

      So I’m not sure what to say about it being chewy. I’m not sure what that really means. Sorry! As for being heavy, the reverse creaming method does produce a different textured cake than the traditional creaming method. It may seem heavy and even a little dense. So it’s possible that that’s just what you’re experiencing. Personally I think it has a really nice and tender texture and I preferred it to when I tried the same cake with the creaming method. That said, you can actually use this exact recipe with the regular creaming method and it works well too.

      As for the frosting, it’s a cream cheese frosting. If your cream cheese is too warm, the frosting is going to be too soft. Cream cheese frosting is quite finicky. Also, people tend to like to leave out some powdered sugar to reduce the amount of sugar, but with a cream cheese frosting like this you really want to make sure you’re adding enough so that your frosting isn’t too thin.

      I hope that helps!

  18. armina

    hi! i love your recipes and theyre always a hit with my family. i had a question about the frosting. are the freeze dried strawberries necessary? or can i just make some more extract and add that to the frosting? 

    1. Lindsay

      Freeze dried strawberries work better for a cream cheese frosting because it doesn’t thin it out. If you’d like to use more fresh strawberries, I’d make a regular strawberry buttercream. You can refer to my strawberry buttercream for reference, if you like.

  19. Christina

    Hi Lindsay, I’m from Germany and found your website some weeks ago and already love it! For some reason the first comment I posted yesterday got lost, I don’t know why…
    I had a question about the use of fresh strawberries instead of frozen/freeze dried ones. I want to use fresh strawberries for the frosting and was wondering about the quantities here, because in the recipe you link to (strawberry frosting with butter) I think the quantity is not enough for a whole cake like this 🙂
    Can you give me an indication of quantity for the frosting with fresh strawberries?
    Thanks a lot and best regards,
    Christina

    1. Lindsay

      To use fresh strawberries, I strongly recommend a regular buttercream, not cream cheese frosting. The strawberry puree will thin out the cream cheese frosting too much, which is why I use freeze dried strawberries. Depending on how much frosting you tend to use on your cakes, I’d either double the buttercream recipe or use 2 1/2 recipes worth.

  20. Chamila Liyanage

    I made this cake, sugar in the icing extract water from the strawberries and icing start running down the side of cake, also it made the cake soggy

    1. Lindsay

      It’s difficult to read your comment correctly. Maybe autocorrect did that? If you added fresh strawberry puree to your cream cheese frosting, it would definitely be too thin and that’s why you had trouble. If you want to use fresh strawberries in your frosting, you’ll need a regular strawberry buttercream.

  21. Larry

    I was not familiar with the “reverse creaming” process, but “tender and silky” definitely describes the outcome! The strawberry reduction took longer than 20 minutes to come together. I think that it ended up cooking on very low with near constant stirring for about an hour and a half. Removing as much liquid as possible really helps to keep the integrity of the cake and icing. The only real change I made to the recipe was using homemade ryazhenka, which is baked milk that is then fermented,a instead of sour cream and milk. I also added a thin layer of the strawberry reduction between the cake layers that I had thickened with ground chia seeds.

    This is a solid recipe. I followed my own icing recipe so can’t comment on it but the cake was great. My dad said that it reminded him of stuff that his mother (my grandmother) used to make. She was quite the baker so that was a high compliment! Thank you so much for providing this great recipe. I will look out for other recipes of yours now!

  22. Tiffany Andersen

    I’m always very skeptical of cakes made only with butter, and no oil, when you have to refrigerate them. Cold butter is hard so cakes made with butter when cold usually compromise the texture of the cake. How does this hold up after being refrigerated? It sounds amazing, I’m just scared of cold, hard cake.

    1. Lindsay

      I personally don’t care for refrigerating cakes when I don’t have to, but this cake has fresh strawberries between the layers and uses cream cheese frosting, so it is necessary. When I do have to refrigerate it, I like to bring it back to room temperature (or close to it) before serving, which is what I’d recommend with this cake or pretty much any refrigerated cake. I hope you enjoy it if you try it!

    2. Jordan Castle

      I made this cake and it was a hit!! I want to make cupcake versions. Do you think they would turn out okay? 

    1. Lindsay

      Freeze dried strawberries is best for a cream cheese frosting so that it isn’t too thin. You could make a regular strawberry buttercream with frozen strawberries. I’d check out my recipe for strawberry frosting.

  23. Mellisa

    WOW! I made this for my boyfriend and his twin brothers birthday and it was a huge success. I have tried several times before to make a strawberry cake with no success. This is an amazing recipe. Thank you!!

  24. Paula

    Hello. I am looking for a great homemade strawberry cake. I like that yours doesn’t ask for jello for color or flavor. I am looking for, obviously, great strawberry flavor and nice color. When using real strawberries, will the layers bake to a brownish pink?? I am looking for a nice strawberry look without any brown, and is strawberry powder freeze dried strawberries ground to powder? Thank you.

    1. Lindsay

      Like any cake, the outside browns a bit. But I didn’t find it to be too brownish inside. I did add some pink color to the cake though. And yes, freeze dried strawberries that are ground into a powder.

  25. Kristie Vang

    I had wrote a review after I made this in April and thought I come back to see if it was posted. I’m not sure where it went. I do want to put in my two cents out there in case people are planning to make this. The cake is moist but can be what I described as a cake pop dense at the center. It doesn’t rise. It is also a heavyweight cake. The strawberry puree reduction is great and I used about 1.5 lbs of strawberries. The strawberry buttercream recipe I used was from another reviewer and I used about 1/3 cup of my reduction puree into the buttercream. If you’re looking for a light and fluffy, crumbly cake, this cake isn’t it but will be delicious.

  26. Kristie Livermore

    I used this recipe for my daughters 16th birthday and it was just perfect! Thank you so much!

  27. Jaime Hausler

    Hi I would like to attempt this recipe for my daughter’s first birthday. Has anyone substituted the pink dye with beet juice and if so how much beet juice would it require? Thanks! It looks lovely.

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