This fresh strawberry snack cake from scratch with homemade cream cheese frosting is made in an 8×8 pan without cake mix or Jello. Its natural pink color comes from fresh strawberries.
Happy official first day of summer! In my mind along with the rest of society, summer started with Memorial Day, but according to the calendar, today marks the first day of summer where it’s the day with the most hours of sunlight during the whole year.
I think that’s worth celebrating because I’m always so grumpy during winter when it gets dark at 4 PM. Having a few extra hours of daylight definitely calls for cake.
Since it’s the middle of June, I’m usually making all the strawberry recipes such as my Strawberry Layer Cake and Strawberry Cupcakes. I thought it was fitting to add another strawberry cake to the list with this Strawberry Snack Cake.
Snack cakes are always fun to make because you don’t need a specific reason to bake one other than having a craving for cake. Topped with a homemade cream cheese frosting, this recipe is 100 percent made from scratch.
Most strawberry cakes call for Jello for its flavor and color, but I rely on fresh strawberries to bring you both. Because I bake and frost the cake all in one pan, you can easily make and take this dessert to summer parties, get togethers, or a friend’s house. Or you can make and take from your kitchen to the living room.
Cooking down the strawberries makes the flavor and color more concentrated compared to using straight-up strawberry puree.
The key to making this pink cake without using red food coloring or Jello is choosing the ripest strawberries you can, ones without any white on them. The riper, the more color and flavor you’ll get.
However, sometimes this isn’t always possible, so if you find your cake batter lacking in color, you can add about 3-5 drops of red food coloring to help it out.
Even though I go strawberry picking every summer, I still find myself buying fresh strawberries from the store when I don’t have any berries left in the fridge. Sometimes running to the store is more convenient when it’s Tuesday night and you need fresh strawberries the next day.
For this snack cake, I partnered with ALDI to buy all of my cake ingredients, including strawberries from their fresh produce section. You can find most fruit and vegetables at ALDI, ranging from mushrooms and bell peppers to mango and pineapple.
They also carry most basic baking products all year round. That means you can buy everything from ALDI and not worry about stopping at another store.
Want even more strawberry flavor? Top it with Small Batch Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting instead of plain.
How will you be celebrating the first day of summer? Let me know in the comments below!
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- 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 2 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 1 recipe Small Batch Cream Cheese Frosting (get recipe here)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8 pan.
- In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup strawberries, water, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 5 minutes or until the strawberries cook down. Remove from the heat and cool at least 15 minutes.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour and cornstarch. Stir in the baking powder and salt.
- In another large bowl, beat together the butter and remaining 3/4 cup sugar until creamy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg and egg whites, one at a time, until mixed in then add the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternating with the milk, adding the flour in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions (begin and end with dry ingredients). Stir in the cooked strawberry mixture and remaining 1/2 cup chopped strawberries* (see Note about batter color).
- Spread the batter into the pan and bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
- Frost with Small Batch Cream Cheese Frosting (get recipe here)
The key to making this pink cake without using red food coloring or Jello is choosing the ripest strawberries you can, ones without any white on them. The riper, the more color and flavor you’ll get. However, sometimes this isn’t always possible. The batter will not get any brighter after Step 4 and may even lose some of its color during baking. If you find your cake batter lacking in color after adding the strawberries, you can add about 3-5 drops of red food coloring at the end of Step 4 to help it out.
Want even more strawberry flavor? Top it with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by ALDI. Thank you for supporting me and the companies I work with as sponsored posts help pay for the costs of running this blog, including website hosting and groceries for recipe development.