Strawberry Crunchy Layer Cake

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This Strawberry Crunchy Layer Cake is an amazingly delicious cake with layers of vanilla and strawberry cake, strawberry and vanilla frosting and strawberry crunchies on the outside. It’s completely homemade, moist and so darn tasty you won’t want to stop eating it!

pinterest image for strawberry crunchy cake - a slice of cake and the full cake

Strawberry Crunchy Cake

So you may have seen my Strawberry Crunchie Ice Cream Cake a few weeks ago. It was inspired by the Good Humor Strawberry Ice Cream Bars of my childhood and after making that ice cream cake, I thought a layer cake might be fun. This cake takes those great flavors and turns them into one outrageously awesome cake! I’m so totally in love with it!

Every single layer is full of flavor and brings out the perfect strawberry and vanilla flavor is every bite. Here are the various elements you’ll find in this cake:

  • Strawberry Cake
  • Vanilla Cake
  • Strawberry Buttercream
  • Vanilla Buttercream
  • Strawberry and Vanilla Crunchies

And to make it even better, BOTH kinds of cake come from the SAME cake batter! No need to make two separate cake batters. You make one batter, divide it at the end and then add the final ingredients to each flavor. Both flavors of cake turn out wonderfully and have amazing flavor. I could not love this Strawberry Crunchy Layer Cake more!

slice of strawberry crunchy cake on white plateoverhead image of strawberry crunchy cake with swirls and strawberries on top

How to make Strawberry Crunchy Layer Cake

The base of these cake layers is based on my Moist Vanilla Layer Cake. It’s basically the same cake, but increased by a bit so that you can get four full layers of cake without them being too thin. I decided a taller cake with thicker layers would be better here.

Cake Layers

The first thing you’ll want to do is get your strawberry puree ready. Grind up your strawberries in a food processor or blender, then cook the puree over the stove until it’s reduced by half. You’ll use this reduced puree in both the cake and the frosting, so you can make it all in one batch and then divide it, or do it separately. You can also make this ahead.

To start making this cake batter, it’ll be the same process as my vanilla cake. Cream your butter, oil, sugar and vanilla extract together, then add the eggs one at a time.

From there, you’ll alternate adding the dry ingredients and some of the milk. This is where things start to differ. You’ll add just a tiny bit of milk at this point, which ends up giving you a fairly thick batter.

Divide the cake batter into two batches. One batch will be the vanilla cake, to which you’ll add the rest of the milk and gently fold it together. The other will be the strawberry cake, to which you’ll add the strawberry reduction, strawberry extract and red food coloring.

You’ll want to make four layers of cake, so divide both batters between two pans each, for a total of 4 pans. Bake them and then your ready for the next step.

slice of cake on a white plate with a bite takeclose up of full cake on a white stand

Strawberry Crunchies

Much like the ice cream cake version of this cake, you’ll make both vanilla and strawberry crunchies. You’ll combine flour, sugar and butter and then to half of that you’ll add vanilla extract and to the other half you’ll add freeze dried strawberry powder. The powder gives the crunchies amazing strawberry flavor without adding a ton of liquid.

Bake the crunchies and they’re ready to go!

Buttercream

This cake has strawberry buttercream between the cake layers and vanilla buttercream frosting on the outside. They are fairly straightforward (based on my vanilla buttercream and strawberry buttercream recipes). The main thing to keep in mind is that the strawberry frosting will be a little thinner so that you have plenty of strawberry flavor, and the vanilla frosting should be a little thicker, so that it holds the cake together well.

Build the cake

And now it’s time to build the cake! Once you’ve got everything made, this is the easy part. Layer the cake layers together, alternating the strawberry and vanilla cakes. Fill the layers with the strawberry frosting and frost the outside of the cake with vanilla frosting.

Finally, frost the outside of the cake with the vanilla frosting, press the crunchies all over the cake and finish it off with some swirls of vanilla frosting and fresh strawberries!

This Strawberry Crunchy Layer Cake is truly a thing to behold! It’s not just a beauty (and quite tall!), the flavor is also out of this world! So, so good and perfect for the strawberry lover in your life! I’m a big, big fan and I hope you love it as much as we did!

slice of strawberry crunchy cake with alternating layers of strawberry and vanilla cakefull strawberry crunchy cake on a ruffled white stand

Print
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slice of strawberry crunchy cake with alternating layers of strawberry and vanilla cake
Recipe

Strawberry Crunchy Layer Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 14-16 slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Strawberry Crunchy Layer Cake is an amazingly delicious cake with layers of vanilla and strawberry cake, strawberry and vanilla frosting and strawberry crunchies on the outside. It’s completely homemade, moist and so darn tasty you won’t want to stop eating it!


Scale

Ingredients

Cake Layers

  • 1 1/2 cups strawberry puree (3 cups [420g] chopped strawberries)
  • 3 cups plus 2 tbsp (406g) all purpose flour
  • 3 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 10 tbsp (140g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (150ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp (388g) sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 cups plus 1 tbsp (195ml) milk, divided
  • 1 1/4 tsp strawberry extract
  • 15 drops red food coloring

Strawberry Shortcake Crunchies

  • 1 cup (130g) all purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup (155g) sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup freeze dried strawberries
  • 7 tbsp (98g) salted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Strawberry Frosting

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp strawberry puree (1 3/4 cups [233g] chopped strawberries)
  • 1 1/4 cups (280g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups (575g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch or two of salt

Vanilla Frosting

  • 2 1/2 cups (560g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 46 tbsp water or cream
  • Pinch or two of salt

Instructions

NOTE: Strawberry puree is reduced down for both the cake layers and frosting. They are written out separately in the instructions, but you can cook it all at the same time, if you’d like.

To make the cake layers:

1. Add the strawberry puree to a 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 by half to 3/4 cup, about 15-20 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.
2. When the puree has thickened and reduced, pour into a 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.
3. Prepare four 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
4. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
5. Add the butter, oil, sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
6. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
7. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
8. Add 1 tablespoon of the milk and mix just until combined.
9. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Batter will be thick. Do not over mix.
10. Divide the batter evenly between two bowls. It should be a little more than 3 cups each.
11. Add the remainder of the milk (3/4 cup) to one of the bowls and gently fold to combine. Add the reduced strawberry puree, strawberry extract and red food coloring to the other bowl and gently fold together to combine.
12. Divide each batter evenly between two pans, for 4 pans total, and bake the layers for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

To make the crunchies:

13. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
14. You’ll need two bowls – one for the vanilla crunchies and one for the strawberry. Add 1/2 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of sugar to each bowl.
15. Add the freeze dried strawberries to a food processor and grind into a powder. Add the powder to the bowl for the strawberry crunchies. Stir well to combine.
16. Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the strawberry bowl and the vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of butter to the vanilla bowl and use a fork to combine each mixture until it comes together to form a crumble.
17. Lay the strawberry crumble evenly out onto one of the cookie sheets and ay the vanilla crumble evenly out onto the other cookie sheet.
18. Bake the crumbles for about 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on it, particularly the strawberry crumble. The strawberry powder can brown quickly if left in for too long.
19. Let crumble cool completely and then use your fingers to break into smaller pieces, if needed. It’s ideal for the crumble pieces to be no larger than a small pea.
20. Combine all of the crunchie pieces together and gently toss to combine.

To make the strawberry frosting:

21. Add the strawberry puree to a small 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 by half to a little less than 1/2 a cup, about 10-15 minutes. To measure, pour the puree into a measuring cup. If it’s too much, add it back to the pan and continue cooking.
22. 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.
23. Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
24. Add about half of the powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth.
25. Add about half of the strawberry reduction and beat until well combined and smooth.
26. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix until well combined.
27. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth.
28. Add additional strawberry reduction/milk or cream until your frosting is the right consistency.

To make the vanilla frosting:

29. Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
30. Slowly add half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
31. Add the vanilla extract and 4 tablespoons of water or cream and mix until smooth.
32. Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add additional water or cream, as needed to get the right consistency of frosting.

To build the cake:

33. Use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat. These cakes don’t have a large dome, but I like to make sure they’re completely flat.
34. Place the first layer of strawberry cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round.
35. Pipe a dam of vanilla frosting around the outer edge of the cake and fill it with about 1 cup of strawberry frosting. Spread evenly on top of the cake.
36. Place the first layer of vanilla cake on top of the frosting, then top it with another dam of vanilla frosting and fill it with another cup of strawberry frosting.
37. Add the second layer of strawberry cake, another dam of vanilla frosting and fill it with another cup of strawberry frosting.
38. Add the final layer of vanilla cake on top, then frost the outside of the cake with the rest of the vanilla frosting. Refer to my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake, if needed.
39. Press the strawberry crunchies into the frosting and cover the entire cake with them. The vanilla buttercream will crust over as it sits, so you want to add the crunchies immediately after frosting the cake or they won’t stick.
40. Use the remaining vanilla frosting to pipe some swirls on top of the cake and finish it off with some fresh strawberries.
41. The cake should be stored in an sir tight container until serving. It’s fine at room temperature for a day or so, but after that you’ll want to refrigerate it. I suggest adding the strawberries on top shortly before serving so they are fresh looking. Cake is best served closer to room temperature and should be eaten within 3-4 days.

 


Notes

You’ll need about 2 pound of fresh strawberries for this cake. I needed one 1 oz bag of freeze dried strawberries for the crunchies.

Keywords: strawberry crunchy cake

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Recipe rating

74 Comments
  1. Karoline

    Hey, i was wondering, its difficult to find strawberry extract here in Norway. Can i use essence instead, if i find that?

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not sure what’s available in Norway. Essence should be fine, but I’m not sure if you’d use the same amount or not.

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t tried it to see how well they hold up, but you can certainly try it. I do tend to think fresh cake is best though.

  2. Hannah

    I made this recipe this weekend and it was delicious!! My cakes ended up looking slightly dense and looked almost like they had been soaked through- especially the strawberry one. Any clue as to what I did wrong? They still tasted amazing and not too heavy so still very enjoyed

    1. Lindsay

      Cakes that are too dense are usually the result of some thing with the mixing steps. You want to be sure to fully cream the butter and sugar for about a minute and a half to two minutes, but not over cream. And you don’t want to over mix at the end after you add the flour. I’m not sure what you mean though about it looking soaked through.

  3. Nicole Perham

    I made this for Easter this past weekend. It was a huge hit. It was definitely a project to make with so many different steps, but it tasted just like the ice cream! I struggled with the strawberry puree because mine was very foamy, probably from over processing the strawberries in the food processor. I ended up using strawberry spread in the frosting, which worked well! The strawberry cake turned out a bit dense, any thoughts on why that happened? Maybe it was the puree.

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Hard to say about the denseness without being there to see it. It could have something to do with the purée or perhaps something with the mixing along the way. Be sure to fully cream the butter and sugar and not to over mix the batter at the end.

  4. Kim

    Made this for a friends birthday recently and everybody loved it!! The strawberry purée makes it taste so fresh. Definitely a cake I will be making again. But, I did have a request to make it gluten free….can this be done??

  5. Rachael Burton

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! One question for you, Do you know how to alter the recipe for high altitude? I’m at about 5500 above sea level. Thank you in advance!

    1. Lindsay

      I wouldn’t use ALL salted butter. I’d only use half salted butter at most. Otherwise it’s just too much salt, in my opinion. But you could always try it. If it tastes SUPER buttery though, that could be the salt.

  6. Carol

    This has to be the best strawberry cake recipe I have ever seen. I only want to make a strawberry cake using fresh strawberries and this seems like a tricky thing to find. And given that it is the middle of winter you might say that it is an odd thing to be wanting to make but it seems to be a prime strawberry season and I cannot believe how wonderful the strawberries I have been buying these past few weeks have been. I was actually considering making a fresh strawberry pie,but maybe that will wait.I will be buying extra this week and making this lovely cake to add a ray of sunshine to our house.

  7. Cindy Ballardo

    I made the crunchies and they are life! Thank you for the recipe! How long do the crunchies last for? I made extra in case I ran out and now I have extra.

  8. Mandy

    My kiddo wants strawberry chocolate cake for his birthday… I’d love to make this because the strawberry one is always a hit with the family. Any suggestions what about this recipe I should make “chocolate”? Like chocolate frosting vs vanilla or should I do chocolate cake vs vanilla ? 

      1. Mandy Wynn

        Thats a great suggestion!!! Thank you!! I’m going to entice my soon to be 4 year old to this instead LOL Kids can be so picky! He even requested for 4 cakes because he’s seen me making layers of cakes. A lot of them are your recipes which I SO appreciate!!! My family and friends enjoy them all. My husband recently gifted me a kitchen aid so i’m so excited to use it with some of the “needier” tending to recipes for cakes. 🙂 Thank you for having this blog 🙂

    1. Vandana

      Hi. This sounds delicious. I can’t find freeze dried strawberries in my country. Is there anyway I can make the crunch without it? Thank you. 

  9. Desareye Gonzales

    Hello! I love all your recipes. Do you have a base cupcake recipe to do different flavor variations with? Would you suggest just using a vanilla cupcake recipe to make different variations with? Hopefully that made sense haha (my family members always prefer different flavors) Thank you! 

  10. Debbie

    Hi Lindsay! Thank you for this amazing recipe. I made two of these cakes today. One for a friends B-day and the second one I made into two 2layer cakes so that i could share with my 2 besties. This cake is delicious, rave reviews. I love all your recipes. Thank you for sharing 

  11. Cathy

    I’m sorry I’m not clear with this. The write up says to reduce 3 cups of strawberries to 1 1/2 cup and then the recipe says to reduce 1 1’2 cup to 3/4 cup. Does that mean I take the puree and reduce it again?

    1. Lindsay

      There’s reduced puree in both the cake and the frosting. You’re doing 2 different reductions for that, but you could do it all at the same time, if you prefer.

  12. Cathy

    I found freeze dried strawberries and freeze dried strawberry powder. The powder is way more expensive, but I wondered if an 8 oz. bag of the strawberries would be enough for this recipe once they were put in the blender?

  13. Rachel

    I have 4 9” not 4 8” pans. Obviously that would make thinner layers with shorter baking times, but any other reason not to swap them out?

  14. EvaRose Owens

    I just made this cake for my husband’s birthday and it was a hit! It definitely was worth the time and effort to make. It came out very moist and flavorful Do be sure to keep an eye on the strawberry crunchies in the oven so they don’t get brown! I ended up having a lot of frosting left over.

  15. pamela hartman

    Hi! Can the crunches be made a few days in advance? If so, how should I store them?
    I’m so excited about making this cake!

  16. Jessica

    Hi!
    Making this cake right now and I’m confused on how much of the 1 1/2 cups purée goes into the cake mixture? 

    I’m assuming the rest goes into the frosting mixture. 

    Thanks in advance!! 

    1. Lindsay

      So there’s some puree in both the frosting and the cake, as you noted. It’s listed separately in the ingredients. So there’s 1 1/2 cups of puree for the cake and 3/4 cup plus an additional 2 tbsp of puree for the frosting. Both of those are cooked over the stove to reduce them by half and strengthen the flavor of the puree while also reducing the amount of liquid. So you’ll end up with 3/4 cup of reduced puree for the cake and about 7 tbsp for the frosting. You can do the cooking/reducing all at once or you can do it separately for the cake and frosting. Does that help?

      1. Jessica

        Yes, thank you!! 

        I went ahead and eyeballed the amount for the cake and they’re turning out beautifully. But I will use these instructions for next time, as I will be making this again. 

        I had been looking for this recipe for awhile now that didn’t use jello or pudding for the crunchies and stumbled upon yours. So very glad I did. 

        Thank you for great recipe!! 

  17. Priscilla Subba

    Hello Lindsay ..
    I have a question regarding baking …
    How do we measure ingredients in a cake according to pounds ..
    Can u please help ???

  18. Jan

    Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I’ll be baking the layers separately. Made the ice cream version of this cake and it was a huge hit. Thanks again. 

  19. Neva bennett

    Where do you find freeze dried strawberries I looked at Wal-Mart it said they had them nope Kroger said on line nope unless they are in refrigerator section

    1. Lindsay

      Usually at the grocery store. They can be tricky to find where they have them in the store though. One place I can always find them though is Target and I’ve heard Trader Joes usually has them.

  20. Kathy

    Hello Lindsay! I loved Good Humor Bars as a kid, and can’t wait to recreate the crunchies. Would you said 3/4C equals one 1 oz bag of freeze dried strawberries? Thank you!

  21. Jan

    looks wonderful. would like to make it a sheet cake for a Childs birthday.  would you increase the batter amounts?  using an 8×13 sheet cake pan.  Thanks

    1. Lindsay

      No, I wouldn’t increase the batter at all. It’s actually a little more batter than I would typically use in a 9×13. It should be fine, it’ll just be a little thicker. I assume you’re baking each flavor of cake separately? You might consider baking them at 325 degrees.

    2. LaTanya Anderson Gamble

      Morning, this cake looks amazing. I’ll be making it soon. I’ve made many of your recipes that we love. However, I’m curious, the strawberry frosting for your strawberry and cream cupcakes smells and tastes delicious! I loved the freeze dried strawberries. Was there a reason you didn’t use that recipe for this cake? And do you think I can use that strawberry frosting recipe for this cake?

      1. Lindsay

        Often when I use freeze dried strawberries in things, people seem to have trouble finding them in stores. So sometimes I use them if that’s the best option for a recipe. But in this case the fresh strawberries made sense. Feel free to use freeze dried if you prefer.

  22. Kathy

    Am I missing the recipe to make the strawberry puree? I keep reading the recipe I don’t see it. Sorry if it’s there and I’ve missed it!! Can’t wait to make this. Looks yummy.

    1. Lindsay

      No, there aren’t instructions because it’s just strawberries that have been blended. I use my food processor to make the puree. In the ingredients, I list about haw many cups of chopped strawberries you need for that amount of puree.

  23. LeAnna😂

    Can you possibly make a list of all of the cheesecake recipes that you make, anytime I make cheesecake I use your recipes! They are always delicious!

    1. Lindsay

      That should work just fine. I sometimes think baking thicker layers of cake makes them more dense, but otherwise, it’s fine.

    1. Lindsay

      The vanilla crunchies are made right along side the strawberry ones. If you look under “to make the crunchies” in the instructions, you’ll see you divide the ingredients between two bowls to make the two flavors.

    1. Lindsay

      Technically, that should be fine in the frosting, but not the cake. But I personally think the fresh strawberries give it a better flavor and having not tried it, it’d be hard to say how much to use (for the frosting).

  24. Diane

    I’d love to see a chocolate version, like those ice cream cake bars.

    I’ll definitely try this recipe if I can find the freeze dried strawberries.

  25. Anna

    Seems like a lot of work to make but it looks worth it! I can’t wait to make! Thank you for all the hard work you put into your posts, I really appreciate it. Without your blog I wouldn’t be able to continue on mine, I had just given up on it. 💕

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!

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