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Homemade Strawberry Cake From Scratch

Fresh Homemade Strawberry Cake From Scratch: The Best Strawberry Cake Recipe, WITHOUT a boxed cake mix or strawberry jello! Then topped with strawberry cream cheese frosting.

Fresh Strawberry Cake From Scratch Recipe #ASpicyPerspective #cake #strawberry #strawberries #easter #july4th
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Best Strawberry Cake Recipe

Not too long ago I shared my favorite Lemon Buttermilk Cake Recipe. In the post, I discussed the concept of a true “southern cake” recipe.

Southern cakes are cakes that are ultra moist, soft and delicate in texture, and sweet. They can be any flavor, yet they always have the same moist texture.

In my opinion, a good strawberry layer cake is the epitome of the perfect “southern cake.”

Its tender pink layers of pillowy strawberry sweetness and creamy frosting, taste of early summer days in the deep south.

Best Strawberry Cake From Scratch Recipe #ASpicyPerspective #cake #strawberry #strawberries #easter #july4th

Easy Strawberry Cake

Most easy strawberry cake recipes call for boxed cake mix and a box of strawberry jello to add flavor and color.

Although there’s nothing wrong with cake mix or jello, the strawberry flavor does taste artificial.

If you grew up on strawberry (jello) cake, this nostalgic flavor could be right up your alley.

However, today I’m sharing a Homemade Strawberry Cake Recipe that has the same appealing texture, yet tastes of fresh summer strawberries.

Don’t worry, even without a cake mix, this strawberry cake from scratch is still easy to make!

Easy Strawberry Cake From Scratch Recipe #ASpicyPerspective #cake #strawberry #strawberries #easter #july4th

Fresh Strawberry Cake From Scratch

So where does the real strawberry flavor come from?

Fresh strawberries… As well as a little bit of strawberry extract, and strawberry jam in the frosting.

This makes our Fresh Strawberry Layer Cake a triple-threat of strawberry deliciousness!

The trick is, you need fresh ripe in-season strawberries to make this cake really shine. Berries that are so ripe they squish easily in your fingers.

If you want to make this cake any time outside of strawberry season, I suggest using thawed sliced frozen strawberries in syrup.

Strawberries in syrup are the next best option, because the strawberries are packed and frozen in their peak season. They are slightly sweetened so they taste similar to ripe strawberries straight off the vine.

Fresh Strawberry Layer Cake From Scratch Recipe #ASpicyPerspective #cake #strawberry #strawberries #easter #july4th

Butter Cake vs Oil Cake

I’m going to go against the grain of culinary thinking and state that the reason I believe “southern cakes” are superior to all other cakes is that they are primarily made with oil (or “ol” if you live in the south) instead of butter.

It’s true, butter does taste better than oil. Therefore cakes made with butter have a deep rich buttery flavor that is very enticing.

However, butter makes cake batter heavier than oil, so the texture is denser, and not quite as light and airy.

Although both taste and texture are very important, with cake, I feel that texture trumps flavor.

You can skip the butter altogether and try to make up for the missing richness with other flavor-enhancing ingredients. Or you can compromise, by adding half butter and half oil.

That’s what I usually do. This provides the decadence of a butter cake and close to the texture of a pure oil cake.

Pink Strawberry Cake

I should mention, this cake does not naturally turn out as neon pink as a strawberry cake made with powdered jello.

Therefore, if you want a pink cake, you will need to add some red food coloring. How much you use is completely up to you.

I used just a few drops in the cake batter and just 1 or 2 in the frosting.

If the color doesn’t matter to you, you can completely skip the food coloring!

Easy Homemade Strawberry Cake Recipe #ASpicyPerspective #cake #strawberry #strawberries #easter #july4th

Ready to get started?

How To Make Homemade Strawberry Cake

  1. Line the pans. These delicate cake layers will break when you flip them out of the pans if you don’t line the bottom of the cake pans with parchment paper. This simple step will save your cake every single time.
  2. Puree the strawberries. Whether you are using fresh or frozen berries, puree them in the blender, so the strawberry puree can blend evenly into the cake batter.
  3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients separately. It’s extremely important to follow the directions so that the batter is evenly mixed. The dump-all-and-stir method does not produce light airy cakes.
  4. Don’t overbeat the batter. Once all the ingredients are in the mixer and the batter looks smooth, stop mixing. Beating your batter too long makes the cake tough.
  5. Bake undisturbed. I know it’s tempting to open that oven door… But don’t do it! This causes a light delicate cake batter to fall, therefore creating a dense texture. Set your timer and walk away.
  6. Frost and serve! See our frosting tips below to spread smooth creamy strawberry frosting over the cake.
Homemade Strawberry Layer Cake Recipe #ASpicyPerspective #cake #strawberry #strawberries #easter #july4th

See the Full (Printable) Fresh Homemade Strawberry Layer Cake From Scratch Recipe & Video Below!

P.S. Don’t let the number of steps in the recipe deter you from making this amazing cake. I broke them down, in order to make the recipe easier to follow.

You can totally do this!!

Homemade Strawberry Cake Recipe #ASpicyPerspective #cake #strawberry #strawberries #easter #july4th

More Amazing Cake Recipes

Best Homemade Strawberry Cake Recipe #ASpicyPerspective #cake #strawberry #strawberries #easter #july4th
Fresh Strawberry Cake From Scratch Recipe #ASpicyPerspective #cake #strawberry #strawberries #easter #july4th
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Homemade Strawberry Cake from Scratch

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
The Best Strawberry Cake Recipe, homemade, WITHOUT a boxed cake mix or strawberry jello! Then topped with strawberry cream cheese frosting.
Servings: 20 slices

Ingredients

For the Fresh Strawberry Cake:

  • 3 cups cake flour, sifted (or 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour + ¼ cup cornstarch)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons strawberry extract
  • 3/4 cup fresh pureed strawberries (about 1 1/2 cups whole ripe berries) or sliced frozen strawberries in syrup
  • 3/4 cup full fat buttermilk
  • 4-8 drops red food coloring, optional (I used 4 drops)

For the Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting:

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Cut out 9-inch parchment paper circles, and press them down in the bottom of each pan. (Trace the pan for perfect circles.)
  • For the Strawberry Layer Cake: In the bowl on an electric stand mixer, cream the butter and 1 3/4 cups sugar together for 1 minute. Then add in the oil and beat until the mixture is very smooth. (Cream: Beat on high to break down the sugar crystals.)
  • In a separate bowl, mix the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Place the ripened strawberries in the blender with 2 tablespoons sugar. Puree until smooth. (Or use an equal amount of thawed sliced strawberries in syrup. Drain and puree. No need to add sugar.)
  • Once the butter and sugar are well creamed. Scrape the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula. Then turn the mixer on low and beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, strawberry extract, strawberry puree, and buttermilk.
  • Scrape the bowl again. Turn the mixer back on low and slowly add the flour mixture until well combined. Beat in the food coloring if desired, then turn off the mixer.
  • Pour the batter evenly into the two prepared pans. Bake on the middle rack, undisturbed for 30 minutes. If the center of the cakes are puffed up, check the cake by inserting a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, take them out of the oven. If the toothpick has batter on it, bake another 5-10 minutes and recheck.
  • Allow the cakes to cool 10 minutes in the pans. Then carefully flip them out on a cooling rack. Remove the parchment paper and cool completely.
  • For the Frosting: Once the cakes are room temperature, place the cream cheese and butter in a clean stand mixer bowl. Beat until fluffy. Then scrape the bowl and turn on low. Mix in the strawberry jam, vanilla extract, and salt. Then add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating to incorporate. After adding 4 cups of powdered sugar, turn the mixer up to beat out any clumps. Check the consistency of the frosting. If it is too loose, add another 1-2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add food coloring if desired
  • To Assemble: Move one cake to a cake stand or platter. Scoop about 2 cups frosting onto the cake. Use a large flat spatula to spread the frosting out evenly.
  • Set the second cake on top of the frosting, being careful to center the cake. Gently press the cake a little to level the top. Then scoop all remaining frosting on top of the cake. Use the spatula to work the frosting over the top and down the sides.
  • Turn the cake stand to smooth out the sides with the flat edge of the spatula. Once you are satisfied with the sides, use the spatula to make swooping marks on the top of the cake. Use a wet paper towel to clean up the cake stand. Top with whole fresh strawberries, or sliced strawberries if serving on the same day.
  • Cover and keep the cake at room temperature for up to 4 days, or refrigerate for up to a week. When ready to serve, make sure the cake is at room temperature… All classic layer cakes taste best at room temperature.

Video

Notes

True Southern Oil Cake: If you’d rather skip the butter altogether, you can make this cake with 1 cup of oil. This will give it an even lighter texture, although you lose a little bit of richness in flavor.
Pro Frosting Tips: If you have a tendency to get crumbs in the frosting when you try to frost a cake, you can:
  • Spread a thin “crumb coat” layer of frosting over the cake to catch and seal in the crumbs. Then spread on the final “pretty” layer of frosting on top.
  • Or you can wrap the cakes in separate pieces of plastic and freeze them. Then a few hours later, you can unwrap, level, and frost the cake with a lot of added stability. Just be sure to do this at least 6 hours before serving so the cake layers have time to thaw.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 417kcal, Carbohydrates: 60g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 226mg, Potassium: 126mg, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 44g, Vitamin A: 420IU, Vitamin C: 3.8mg, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 0.5mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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30 comments on “Homemade Strawberry Cake From Scratch”

  1. I’ve made a strawberry cake before and was very disappointed. However, when I saw this recipe, I decided to try it. WOW! I’ve made this cake four (4) times since August and it gets better every time!
    My brother loves anything with strawberries so I made it for him. He looked like he wanted to cry, because it was so good. He kept thanking me over and over!
    Thank you for sharing this!!!

  2. Hi Sommer can i use 1 cup of buttermilk instead of 3/4 just for that delicate crumb! Cake was a little dry the following day even after mixing  carefully! ?? 

  3. I made this recipe twice:  The first time I made it as stated.  The cake came out dense.  The second time, I substituted strawberry emulsion instead of the extract. I also reduced the strawberry puree as suggested and cooked it down to half the amount.  Both of these helped intensify the flavor.  The reduction helped remove a lot of the excess moisture from the strawberries resulting with a fluffier cake. 

    • Hi i made this cake also! I didnt reduce the puree which i plan to do next time i try it i notice the cake was dry the following day is that due to the excess moisture in the strawberries? Or not enough liquid tell me your experience please thanks ! 

  4. Just made this for a smash cake …cake crumbs I tasted had good flavor, but  does not taste super strawberry-y  to me tho… I know I added the proper amount of fresh strawberry purée but did not want to overdo it… I will prob make a strawberry filling for the cupcakes … not too worried about smash cake since it will b destroyed anyway … 

  5. Hello i really want to try it but i have a question. So by blending the strawberries, will it make the cake heavy? Im just scared because i have followed a recipe like this before and the cake turned out horrible 😞

    • I was curious about that too. Usually I just cut berries into small pieces … I followed instructions and it seems ok. Just was not super strawberry flavored to me .. this was for a smash cake so not super worried about that but  I will have to make a strawberry filling for cupcakes 

      • I read on another recipe that she reduced the strawberries so they will have more flavor. Im going to try that. Im still somewhat worried but i will try anything because i dont want to put any flavoring drops.

    • Hi Cynthia,

      No, it is light and tender. You can see the texture of the cake in the images. FYI, Heavy cake often have to do with over-beating the batter or old leavening agents. Hope this helps! :)

  6. Can this be made in a 13 x18 cake pan?

  7. hi can this be made into cupcakes? if yes what will the cook time be?

  8. Can you make this in a 9 x 13 inch pan? What temperature and how long?

  9. What brand of extract do you use?

  10. Everyone loved this cake! Definitely a big hit!

  11. This looks fabulous!  Making this weekend. I donot use box cakes as we do not eat sugar so will be making with monk fruit.  I do not have strawberry extract…most of them seem to be made of artificial ingredients… so I am going to try  a little  pulverized dried strawberries added in instead to boost the flavor.   Wish me luck! Thanks for recipes.

    • Jillian, I’d love to hear, how did the freeze dried strawberries work out? Did you add them to the cake, or just the frosting? It would be a great way to add flavor without moisture to the cake.

  12. My whole family loved it! It was SO good!

  13. This was just the most perfect summer cake. My kids loved it.

  14. strawberry cake, love it, never made it but love it, thank you for this recipe (and inspiration!) Also interesting confirmation of what I kinda thought/expected about butter versus oil in cakes

  15. I’ve never had strawberry cake from scratch, but now I can’t have it any other way!

  16. I love the natural colors of this cake! I plan to make it for one of my girl’s birthday. She loves pink.

  17. This is THE BEST homemade strawberry cake! A winner every time!

  18. I love that this beautiful cake doesn’t use any artificial flavorings!! Perfect for summer!