This Strawberry Cake is made completely from scratch, soft, moist, and packed with strawberry flavor. This cake is perfect for spring or summer, but can also be made with frozen strawberries so you can enjoy it year-round!
*This post is sponsored by Danish Creamery. As always, all opinions are mine.*
When it comes to spring and summer, I love to bake with berries as much as possible. Today’s strawberry cake recipe has been highly requested for a while now, so I figured it was the perfect time to create one!
While a lot of strawberry cakes use jello as a way to incorporate strawberry flavor into the cake, this recipe uses real strawberries. In fact, there’s one pound of strawberries packed inside this cake. It’s also topped with a strawberry buttercream frosting that is bursting with flavor.
In today’s post, I’m breaking down everything you need to know on how to make this cake. I guarantee this homemade strawberry cake will beat anything you can bake from a box mix!
The ingredient list for this fresh strawberry cake may seem a little long, but most of the ingredients are staples you likely already have in your pantry! Let’s discuss a few specific ingredients to ensure that this cake turns out perfect for you.
- Danish Creamy European Style Unsalted Butter: If you’re making a homemade cake from scratch, I recommend using a high-quality butter like Danish Creamery’s European Style Butter. Their butter has an 85% butterfat (higher than most other European Style butters which come in at 82 to 83%) which makes it perfect for baking, sauces, or even just spread on toast. Ever since I’ve found their butter, I’ve been a huge fan of using it in my baked goods!
- Strawberries: I prefer to use fresh strawberries when they are in season, but frozen strawberries will work too (just be sure to thaw them first). Make sure to use strawberries that are mostly bright red, since they won’t ripen anymore after they are picked.
- Cake Flour: Since cake flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour, it develops less gluten, which results in a soft and fluffy cake.
- Buttermilk: I prefer to use buttermilk in most of my cake recipes because it creates a soft, tender crumb and helps to keep it moist.
- Strawberry Extract: You can skip the strawberry extract if you don’t have any, but it helps to enhance the strawberry flavor.
- Food Coloring: I use a few drops of red liquid food coloring to create a beautiful pink color, but it’s completely optional here. You may also use gel food coloring.
- Freeze-Dried Strawberries: Fresh strawberries can sometimes cause buttercream to curdle. The solution? Freeze-dried strawberries! They’re packed with tons of strawberry flavor and work perfect for the frosting.
How To Make A Strawberry Cake
This recipe uses an entire pound of strawberries in the cake. In order to get all of those strawberries into the cake, you will reduce them down in a saucepan so you end up with a very concentrated strawberry flavor.
To start, add your strawberries to a blender or food processor and puree them. One pound of strawberries (make sure to weigh or measure them after removing the stems!) will yield about 2 cups (480 ml) of strawberry puree.
Pour the strawberry puree into a saucepan, place it over medium heat, and cook the mixture until it’s reduced down to 3/4 cup. This usually takes about 30 to 35 minutes, just be sure to stir the mixture often so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the saucepan. Once it’s reduced, remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool completely.
Once the mixture has cooled, it’s time to prepare the cake batter. Here’s a simple breakdown on how to make it:
- Preheat the oven & prepare the cake pans: We will be using two 9-inch round cake pans for this cake. I suggest spraying each pan well with nonstick cooking spray, then lining them with parchment paper so it’s easier to remove the cake layers from the pan.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients: Add your cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a large bowl and whisk for 20 to 30 seconds until thoroughly combined.
- Whisk together some of the wet ingredients: In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk, oil, reduced strawberry puree, vanilla extract, strawberry extract, and red food coloring together until well combined.
- Beat the butter until smooth: This will make it easier to mix the butter and sugar together.
- Gradually add the sugar, then mix until light & fluffy: Once all of the sugar is added, increase the mixer up to medium speed and mix the butter and sugar together for several minutes. This step will incorporate more air into your creamed butter and sugar, which creates a taller, softer cake.
- Mix in the eggs: It’s best to mix your eggs in one at a time, and scrape around the bottom and sides before adding the next one.
- Mix in the wet & dry ingredients: To avoid over mixing the cake batter, mix in your dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the strawberry buttermilk mixture. Be sure to mix in each addition on low speed and until just combined.
- Bake the cake layers: Pour the batter between the two prepared cake pans, bake for about 30 minutes, then allow them to cool slightly before removing them from the pans.
While the cake layers are cooling, it’s time to prepare the frosting. For the frosting, I also used Danish Creamery European Style Unsalted Butter.
As I mentioned earlier, a high-quality butter makes a difference so I recommend Danish Creamery butter to give you a perfect frosting for this cake. Their butter is slow churned in small batches and preserved in foil, which provides an incredibly smooth and velvety frosting. I could literally just eat the frosting with a spoon, but it’s incredible on this cake!
To make the strawberry buttercream frosting, simply beat the butter until smooth and mix in the powdered sugar. Add the freeze dried strawberries to a blender and blend into a fine powder, then mix in the strawberry powder, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt.
Once the cake layers have cooled completely, you can level the cake layers (if needed) and use the frosting to frost the cake.
I typically add about 1 cup of frosting between the layers, then use the rest to frost the top and sides of the cake. An angled spatula will make it a bit easier to frost it, but a spoon works just fine too.
I also love to add a few fresh strawberries on top to garnish the cake, but feel free to leave them off if you prefer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use frozen strawberries?
Yes, you can easily use frozen strawberries for this recipe! Just make sure to let the strawberries thaw completely, then measure out 1 pound (454 grams).
How do you store strawberry cake?
Once the cake has been assembled, you can store it in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If you store it in the refrigerator, I suggest placing it on the counter ahead of time so that it can come to room temperature before serving it.
Can I freeze this cake?
If you need to prepare the cake further in advance, you can freeze it. The cake layers may be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and frozen for up to 3 months. The frosting may be frozen in a large freezer bag for up to 3 months as well. When you’re ready to assemble the cake, bring the cake layers and frosting to room temperature, mix the frosting well, then frost the cake.
You can also wrap individual slices of cake in plastic wrap and freeze them for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy them, place them on the counter to come to room temperature.
Can I make this recipe in a 9×13 pan?
Yes! Simply pour the batter into a greased 9×13 inch pan and bake at 350°F (180°C) for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. You will likely have some extra frosting leftover, but you can freeze it and use it for something else later!
- Make sure to let the reduced strawberry puree cool completely before making the cake batter. I prefer to prepare it first, then set everything out to come to room temperature while it’s cooling.
- Mix the butter and sugar together for at least 4 to 5 minutes. This is what helps to create a soft and fluffy cake.
- If you can’t find any cake flour or don’t have some on hand, you can use my cake flour substitute here.
For the strawberry cake:
- 3 ¼ cups (1 pound; 454 grams) quartered fresh strawberries with stems removed
- 3 cups (345 grams) cake flour (spooned & leveled)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup (160 ml) buttermilk (at room temperature)
- ¼ cup (60 ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon strawberry extract
- 6 to 8 drops red liquid food coloring
- ¾ cup (170 grams; 1.5 sticks) Danish Creamery unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 ¾ cups (350 grams) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
For the strawberry buttercream frosting:
- 1 ½ cups (340 grams, 3 sticks) Danish Creamery unsalted butter (softened)
- 4 ½ cups (540 grams) powdered sugar
- 2 cups (36 grams) sliced freeze-dried strawberries
- 4 to 5 tablespoons (60 to 75 ml) heavy whipping cream or milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- To make the reduced strawberry puree: Add the quartered strawberries to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, you should end up with 2 cups of strawberry puree.
- Pour the strawberry puree into a large saucepan and place it over medium heat. Cook until the mixture has reduced to ¾ cup (190 grams), stirring often so that the mixture doesn’t burn. This will take about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, scoop the reduced strawberry puree into a heat-proof bowl, and set aside to cool completely.
- To make the strawberry cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together until well combined. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl or measuring cup, whisk the 3/4 cup of reduced strawberry puree, buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, strawberry extract, and red food coloring together until well combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the Danish Creamery butter until smooth.
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the granulated sugar. Once all of the sugar is added, increase the speed to medium and continue mixing for another 5 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Mix in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to stop and scrape around the bottom and sides of the bowl after each egg.
- Add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the strawberry buttermilk mixture (begin and end with the dry ingredients) on low speed. Mix in each addition until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter.
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape around the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is well combined.
- Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans and spread it around into one even layer.
- Bake for 28 to 32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Slide a knife around the outside of the cakes, then carefully remove the cakes from the pans, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the strawberry frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the Danish Creamery butter on medium speed until smooth.
- Mix in the powdered sugar on low speed, one cup at a time, making sure to mix well after each addition.
- Add the freeze-dried strawberries to a blender or food processor and blend into a fine powder.
- Add the strawberry powder, heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and salt and mix on low-medium speed until fully combined, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- To assemble the cake: Level the tops of each cake with a knife or cake leveler. Place one of the cakes on a cake stand, top with a layer of frosting, and smooth it out into one even layer. Place the second layer on top, then use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake.
- Store cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.