Strawberry Layer Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting
This two layer strawberry cake is made all from scratch – no cake mix, no strawberry Jello. And of course you can’t forget the homemade cream cheese frosting.
Trusting your gut is a very powerful feeling. Sometimes you can’t explain it other than it just feels right.
When I decided to study abroad in Ireland seven years ago, it wasn’t so much about the traveling or experiencing another culture. I imagined myself studying there, walking around campus, being a student of another country. That’s how I knew I had to go because it felt like I already belonged there.
Then when I was looking for apartments in my current town, I fell in love with the one I’m in now because it felt right.
Sometimes, I use that same gut feeling in baking as I did with this Strawberry Layer Cake. Although my first attempt was good – not perfect but still a good cake – I kept thinking about it. It wasn’t pink enough. It wasn’t strawberry enough.
The next morning I woke up with several ways to improve it and knew if it bugged me that much to the point where it was the first thought in my head for the day, I knew I had to remake it.
Today I’m proud to bring you a Strawberry Layer cake made from scratch – no cake mix, no strawberry Jello. Good ol’ flour, sugar, eggs, butter, fresh strawberries, and of course homemade cream cheese frosting.
When you think of strawberry cake, you probably think of those very vibrant pink layer cakes paired with either vanilla or cream cheese frosting. However, most of the time it also comes from a box. Is it possible to recreate this cake from scratch not only with its pink look but also be prominent in strawberry taste? Answer – yes.
As I researched strawberry cake recipes, I noticed that a good bit of them still used strawberry Jello. I wanted my strawberry flavor to come from fresh strawberries, not gelatin.
The first time I made this cake, I used whole eggs and strawberry puree. Although the cake came out fine, it had more of a greyish pink color and subtle strawberry flavor. Not what I was looking for in a strawberry cake.
I decided to focus more on making it a white cake with strawberry puree in hopes that the pink will be more vibrant. I swapped out the whole eggs for egg whites (so the yolks didn’t affect the color) and cooked the strawberries down, very similar to a jam. Usually strawberry preserves have a more concentrated flavor than straight up pureed strawberries, so I thought cooking them would help. And it did. Yes, I did cheat a little and added some red food coloring, but I did achieve the brightness and flavor I wanted.
Now that the cake was perfect, time to decorate. Or pretend to decorate, in my case.
Strawberries and cream cheese frosting go so well together, almost like peanut butter and jelly or wine and cheese. You can use cream cheese frosting or amp up the berry flavor with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (double the recipe for this cake).
You can also use strawberry buttercream.
The trick to frosting any cake is to create a crumb layer. You want to very thinly cover the cake just enough to secure the crumbs and not use more than half of your frosting doing this. Otherwise, you won’t have enough frosting left for the outside.
I used little pieces of parchment paper underneath the cake to keep the cake stand clean. After frosting, just pull those pieces out from underneath, and it’s like you were never there with your spatula.
Loving this strawberry layer cake? You’ll also love my Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting and Strawberry Snack Cake. Both made from scratch without Jello or cake mix!
Update 6/8/16: Based on reader feedback, I retested the cake and edited the recipe below to reflect those changes. I changed the technique and adjusted some of the ingredient amounts.
Strawberry Layer Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting
This two layer strawberry cake is made all from scratch – no cake mix, no strawberry Jello. And of course you can’t forget the homemade cream cheese frosting.
- 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries* (see Note about quality)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (when measuring, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
- Red food coloring (optional)
Frosting Options (Pick One)
- Double Batch of Cream Cheese Frosting (get recipe here)
- Double Batch of Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (get recipe here)
- Double Batch of Strawberry Buttercream (get recipe here)
- Double Batch of Vanilla Buttercream (get recipe here)
- Double Batch of Chocolate Buttercream (get recipe here)
- Double Batch of Lemon Buttercream (get recipe here)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 8-inch wide x 1 1/2 inch deep round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- In a large saucepan, stir together 1 1/2 cups strawberries, water, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 5 minutes or until the strawberries cook down and start to thicken. Remove from the heat and cool 15 minutes.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour and cornstarch. Stir in the baking powder and salt.
- In another large bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar until creamy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg whites, one at a time for 1 minute each, then add the vanilla.
- On low speed 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). Do not overmix the flour. Stir in the cooked strawberry mixture and remaining 1/2 cup strawberries. At this point, if the batter isn't pink enough, add 3-5 drops red food coloring if desired.
- Divide the batter between the two cake pans (batter will be thin) and bake 25-30 minutes or until the tops are brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes then invert cakes onto cooling racks. Cool completely.
- If the cake layers are not flat, trim some of the cake off of the top until flat.
- Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Slide pieces of parchment or wax paper underneath the cake for easy clean up later. Spread some of the frosting on top of the cake. Top with the remaining cake layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake, sealing in the crumbs (don't use more than half of the frosting). Refrigerate 15 minutes.
- Finish covering the cake with the remaining frosting. Carefully remove the paper pieces. Refrigerate until the frosting is firm. Store the cake covered in the refrigerator. For best results, let the cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
- *Make sure your fresh strawberries are ripe and juicy. If they are underwhelming in strawberry flavor, the cake will also be underwhelming in strawberry flavor.
- If it's not strawberry season, you can substitute frozen strawberries (the fruit, not the kind frozen in syrup). Thaw completely and drain all extra liquid before using.
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Love this post! I trust my gut too… I had a gut feeling about the apartment I just moved into but looked at two others that same day. Both were wrong for very different reasons and I knew I should have just trusted my gut. Sometimes it’s hard to shut off the series of “what if…” that comes after the gut feeling, but I’m learning more and more to just trust it! Glad you did with this gorgeous cake :)
I am the same way! Right now I’m making a decision and I’m 100% positive on something. Except the cautious part of me wants to have a back up plan “just in case.”
Wow, what a pretty cake. I am going to print out this recipe and make it for the 4th of July family gathering.
I think that will be one fun family gathering with an awesome dessert ;)
This sounds amazing – I’ve actually never had strawberry cake, but I need to change that and happen to be going to a berry farm today, yay! I love that this is all normal ingredients, and that frosting….well. :)
I love berry farms! Seriously it’s like therapy picking out in the fields. And even if you just buy a quart, I love walking around and checking out the produce.
A beautiful strawberry cake. Thanks so much.
Thanks Liz :)
what a pretty cake!
Hear hear for following your instincts! This cake is gorgeous, Carla. That red colour totally pops (a lil bit of food colouring ain’t cheating, in my opinion ;) and I bet this tastes incredible. I’m loving the strawberry cake/cream cheese frosting combo. I wish I lived near you so that I could’ve helped you eat the two cakes!
I wish you lived near me too! Imagine all the trouble err fun we’d get into.
What a gorgeous, inviting cake!! I’ve made a strawberry cake, too, but I forgot if I used Jello or not. I must try out this recipe. The white cake part looks similar to my go-to, white cake recipe, so I know it must be fantastic, light, with a moist crumb…and with those bits of strawberries in there? YUM! Pinned and bookmarked!
Yes, definitely moist and light. It’s pretty much your typical white cake with strawberries mixed in :) Thanks Memoria!
Trusting your gut is one of the most valuable things you can do. I remember a long, long time ago, a friend asked me how to know if her fiancé was the one. I told her that if she had to ask, she shouldn’t marry him. That was her gut talking and my backing it up. She didn’t listen to either of us and was divorced within a few years.
I’m glad you listened to yours on this cake, Carla! I love that you created a gorgeous strawberry cake naturally. I can just imagine the flavor by looking at its fabulous pink color! Wish I could try a slice!
This is a wonderful cake, it is so moist and the frosting is divine. I made it yesterday and am very pleased, it’s the kind of cake that makes you want to sneak a slice of in the middle of the night. :)
Sounds like the perfect midnight snack ;)
Gorgeous cake! Looks like you found the perfect ingredients!
I made this cake this morning, for myself! Its amazing! Thank you!!
…and I am writing about it in my blog very soon!
Hi, just wanted to tell you how delicious this cake is. I just made a small 8 inch round layer cake for my aunts birthday tomorrow, with the left over batter I got seven delicious cupcakes out of it! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe with us. Yummy!
Happy birthday to your aunt! Happy to hear the recipe was a hit :)
Thank you! And oops it was 6 inch rounds that’s how I had so much left. Just thought I’d clarify so people didn’t try it and get grumpy with me lol!
You used cup measurements, I generally use Gram or weight measurements. Should I worry about the difference? 1 packed up vs 1 sifted cup of flour are completely different things.
You are welcome to convert the measurements to grams or ounces. I’ve only made this recipe with cup measurements. I sifted my flour.
Carla, can I use frozen strawberries if I can’t get fresh? If so, do I need to do anything differently? Thank you.
Make sure you buy the bag of frozen fruit (not the strawberries in syrup), thaw them completely, drain any excess liquid that may have formed, and pat dry.
Batter was too thick. Maybe use 1 1/2 c of flour not 2
Sorry to hear that, but 2 cups of flour worked for me. Did you make any changes to the recipe, either in the ingredients or directions?
Made this cake the other night and loved it! Only problem was that I couldn’t taste the strawberries and neither could my family. Thankfully the cream cheese frosting still made it good. I’d suggest using more strawberries, maybe an extra half cup or so.
Oh interesting – that’s the first I’ve heard that. Could you tell me more about the strawberries you used? Were they fresh or frozen? If they were fresh, were they ripe and juicy (I ask because I had to buy strawberries out of season recently for a recipe, and the flavor was underwhelming because they weren’t in season). Your feedback will help me improve this recipe. Thanks!
I’m sad…. i tried this tonight but it didn’t come out fine. I mean it taste wonderful, but it’s so gummy, it doesn’t feels like a cake :( .. what was wrong? :( The must sad part it’s that it’s hard for me to get fresh nice strawberries, and I lucky did yesterday… :(
I’m sorry to hear you had difficulties with this cake. The most common reason for a gummy cake is overbeating the batter, usually when flour is involved. The gluten can get tough and result in the rubbery texture that you experienced. Another reason could be not measuring the flour properly (you want to spoon in the flour, not scoop and pack it down).
I want to make this cake but I only have 9 inch cake pans. Would it be okay to use those?
Yes, you should be fine. The cake layers will just be a bit thinner than pictured.
This looks amazing! I’d like to try making a checker board cake with a strawberry cake layer and vanilla layer. Do you think I could just divide the batter in two then adding the strawberry puree in only one? Would the vanilla layer be lacking in taste? Sorry I’m a novice at this but I can’t wait to try this recipe!
I’ve never done a checkerboard cake before, but yes, you should be able to divide the batter into two bowls then flavor them separately (don’t forget to cut the strawberry puree in half). Since this recipe is based off of a white cake, the vanilla layer should be fine. However, if you feel that it may need a boost, you can an extra 1/4 teaspoon to the batter after dividing (bonus points if you have a vanilla bean and can scrape the seeds into the batter).
I love strawberry cake, it has been a long time since I have had this..
i am very new to art of baking..till now i would have experimented many times and most of the times the results were poor and rest just fine.
Just believe me i had my cake super soft and super moist.
I made it for our wedding anniversary and it came out really delicious.
So thrilled this cake came out great for you! Happy Anniversary :)
How many drops of red food coloring did you use? Also did you sift the flour, salt, ect. before mixing with the sugar?
If you refer to step 4 for the cake: “If desired, add about 3-5 drops of red food coloring.” No, I didn’t sift anything.
I was so excited about the prospect of a strawberry cake from scratch. Unfortunately, after a day in the kitchen I am back at square one. The batter certainly tasted delicious, but the cake itself came out very gummy.
I’m sorry to hear you had difficulties. The most common reason for a gummy cake is overbeating the batter, usually when flour is involved. The gluten can get tough and result in the gummy texture that you experienced. Another reason could be not measuring the flour properly (you want to spoon in the flour, not scoop and pack it down).
I may try again but split the recipe in half just to test. I used a scale to measure the flour exactly, so that wasn’t it.
What kind of milk did you use? After some more reading, if you used low fat milk and not whole milk, it is possible that using less milk fat could have affected the texture (it’s more sensitive to overbeating than using whole milk due to the fat content).
I made this cake tonight and unfortunately had a similar issue. The cake was gummy and dense. I did measure the flour correctly (spooned and leveled). I also found it too sweet. I plan to try it again. I will decrease the flour by `1/4 C, decrease the sugar by about 1/3 C and combine the ingrediants in a more traditional manner. (Cream sugar and butter first, add eggs then alternate dry ingrediants with milk.) I’ll let you know how it comes out.
wow i made this cake and dint last a day it was gone in less then 2 hours about to make it again thank you
Awesome! Thanks for sharing :)
What fat content milk can I use? I have 1% and 2% in the frig.
I use whole milk, but sometimes I bake with 2% if the store is out of whole milk in my size. Just be sure to not overmix the batter as overmixing with less fat may mean a tougher cake, but it should be fine otherwise.
What do you think about using chocolate frosting with this strawberry cake. This is my 4year is request for his birthday cake? Will the chocolate overwhelm the strawberry?
I have not tried it with chocolate frosting, so I cannot answer whether it’ll overwhelm the strawberry flavor BUT I think it’s a wonderful idea! Here’s my favorite chocolate frosting if you need a recipe: https://www.chocolatemoosey.com/2014/04/28/devils-food-layer-cake-with-whipped-chocolate-buttercream-frosting/ If I had to guess, I think you’ll be able to taste both flavors as long as the frosting isn’t extra thick or anything. Another thing you could do is add strawberry jam to the middle filling instead of frosting then just frost the outside of the cake.
Can I use cake flour? If so, would I need to
adjust the measurement? I don’t have a sifter. Thanks!
I personally never used it, but after some quick research, it sounds like you can with a few adjustments. Joy Of Baking says “To substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour for every cup of all-purpose flour” (source: http://www.joyofbaking.com/flour.html). Here’s another source for your reading as well: http://food52.com/hotline/11669-can-i-substitute-cake-flour-for-all-purpose-flour
PS That last link someone says that you should sift. I don’t have a sifter either, but I do use a fine mesh strainer that works just as well. You can usually buy one at the dollar store.
I would like to know if you can use Almond Breeze milk in the Strawberry cake.
I’ve only made this cake using dairy milk. I know most almond milks can be substituted for dairy milk, so my guess is yes. Just be careful you don’t overbeat the batter especially after the flour is added since almond milk has less fat than dairy milk.
Hey there-I’ve made this recipe about 5 times…the first two times it was perfect, fluffy, moist, excellent. The next the three times it hasn’t really risen to fluffy-ness and has been very spongey. Thoughts?
It’s either because of the ingredients you used (substitutes, expired baking powder, etc.) or it’s in your technique. It is very critical that you do not overmix, which I mentioned in the recipe. If you could let me know what you did differently from the first two times, that would give me a better idea.
I tried making this cake today, per request of my nephew as a birthday cake, as we are celebrating it tomorrow on Easter. My sister wanted a cake that was completely from scratch and we had very high hopes for this cake. Little did i know that the cake was going to be a complete disaster. It was completely chewy and tasted like pure flower. I could not even taste the strawberries. I followed the recipe exactly as it stated and even made sure not to over batter the mixture. It was completely gross. I regret wasting my time, money, and ingredients on this cake. COMPLTELY DISAPPOINTED!!!!!!!!
I’m sorry you had some difficulty with this recipe, but it certainly does not taste like flour. What brand of flour do you use? How do you measure your flour – do you spoon it into your measuring cup and level it off or did you scoop your measuring cup and pack it in there? I’m wondering in your attempt to not overmix that perhaps you undermixed the flour – was it fully moistened or were there pockets of dry flour? For the strawberries, did you use fresh or frozen? If you used fresh, were they juicy berries eaten straight from the carton? Or were they underripe and underwhelming in juice? Did you use whole milk and not low fat or fat free milk? Another possibility is your location. Where do you live? Do you live in an area like Colorado with high altitude? Was it really humid the day you baked the cake? Your answers can help me figure out what went wrong.
YUM! Tried a test cake before my daughters birthday next month. It is so so yummy. We are going to have one happy 3 year old. Thanks for the recipe!
Happy birthday to your daughter! :)
i made this cake the other day and liked it. I subbed in cake flour because it was either that or bread flour and my strawberries were not the best so I added a little (scant 1/4 tsp) almond extract to draw out the favors and give it some oomph. It totally worked and I had lots of strawberry flavore. I might have cooked my strawberries a bit longer than the recipe called for too.
I found the cake to be on the firm side because of the fruit and it is also quite moist. I did think it was just a tad too sweet for me so when I make it again, I’ll back off the sugar a bit. I might also add a bit of lemon to bring out the tartness of the berries and see if that helps with the sweetness. I also found this cake holds in the fridge really well and is at least two times tastier after a night in the fridge. Even two night didn’t hurt it one bit.
Thanks for a great recipe. It is a keeper.
Cake flour would def be the one I would choose over bread flour. I do like your addition of almond extract! Glad you enjoyed the cake after making it work with what you had in your kitchen.
The strawberry cake was great! Thanks for the recipe.
Hi – This cake looks amazing and II will be making it for my daughter’s birthday next week!! Just wondering – during the step where it says to whisk together the egg whites, milk and vanilla – do you whisk this until the whites are stiff like a meringue or just until the ingredients are mixed together?
Just until mixed together. You don’t want to overbeat it!
2nd time making this cake. Everyone loved it and requesting it again. However, this time I used frozen strawberries and forgot to drain the extra water out first. My batter is way to runny. Any wat to save it or do I need to start over?
Sometimes you can add extra flour to help compensate for that, but I’m not sure how it’ll affect the texture. You can try adding an extra 1/4 or 1/2 cup flour.
I’m baking this cake tonight for my father in laws birthday. This is my first time making a strawberry cake, typically when I bake cakes I use cake flour. Can I use cake flour with this recipe? If so should I change the flour ratio?
To substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour for every cup of all-purpose flour. Hope that helps!
I just wanted to share that I’m attempting this as our ‘gender reveal’ cake! Obviously we’re having a little girl, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to celebrate with something homemade to share with our family.
I noticed the layer of cream cheese in between; do you think I could thinly slice strawberries also for some extra color and texture? Or will the layers slide? It has to be sturdy and stay fully iced on the outside so as to not reveal the inside until we’re ready… Thanks again!
First, congratulations to you! I’m honored you’re using my cake for the gender reveal :) As for your question, as long as the strawberries are flat and roughly the same thickness, you should be ok with the cake not sliding.
Absolutely delicious! I tried this yesterday using the juiciest and sweetest strawberries i picked from the farm a couple of days ago.. I’m so happy to find your recipe! You are awesome!! Cheers!
Can’t get any fresher than picked straight from the farm! Glad you enjoyed the cake.
I tried this recipe tonight, and it did not turn out well. I am wondering if this is because of the tablespoon of baking powder your recipe calls for. Is this a typo? The flavor was good, but the consistency was not good for me. The cake never rose and the batter never reached a homogenized consistency. I will definitely try this again, but I am hoping you will provide more insight into what I might have done that would cause it to be this way. I did test my baking powder after the dismal outcome of this cake, and the powder is definitely still active and good, so if the issue is with the powder, it seems like it would have to be associated with the unusually high (in my experience at least) volume of baking powder called for in this recipe. Thanks.
If you are absolutely sure the baking powder is still good, then I don’t think that’s the culprit as baking powder causes the cake to rise, and you said your cake didn’t rise. You say your batter didn’t reach a homogenized consistency – I’m not sure how to help troubleshoot without being in the kitchen with you. Did you substitute anything? What kind of milk did you use? How did you measure your flour? Did you sift your flour? In your attempt to not overmix, perhaps you undermixed? Did you use egg whites from large eggs from the store (as opposed to medium eggs or even farm fresh eggs where sizes vary)? I’m sorry I can’t help further, but I do not have enough information.
It is possible that I under mixed the batter, I’m definitely not ruling that out. I used no substitute ingredients, whole milk, and farm fresh eggs (my parents’ chickens lay eggs typically as big as the “large” variety found in supermarkets). I sifted the AP flour before measuring it, added to a measuring cup with a spoon and leveled it, then added salt and baking powder and sifted again before mixing with the butter. If you and others have successfully made this recipe, I know it can be done. I’ll try again. You never did say, though, is the ingredient listing for one tablespoon of baking powder correct? In my experience (and reading), using too much can be as bad as using too little, because the batter will rise too quickly and then fall. Thanks for responding.
Yes that is the amount I used. If it was too much, the cake would have either collapsed in the middle or overflowed out of the pans. You said it didn’t rise nor was a homogenized consistency.
Measuring flour after sifting with a measuring cup will you less flour per cup. Scoop and level can also gives you more flour than it should. The best thing is to read the author’s method. When it’s not mentioned, I always use scale. From my experience, the best way to measure flour is to use a “scale” and “weigh” it out. It seems like your batter doesn’t rise is because it’s too much liquid to flour ratio. When I read your measuring method, I noticed immediately. I read the comments and replies and I saw the author did say measure with scale on one of the reply. Hope this will help. Good luck.
I want to try to make this cake for my mother in law’s birthday. It’s the only one I’ve found that doesn’t use jello and doctor up a boxed cake mix. I have a question, I only have 9 inch cake pans and this recipe says to use 8. How do I fix the recipe so it works?
The recipe will still work; the layers will just be slightly thinner. I don’t know the amounts you would need to make normal sized layers in 9 inch pans because I don’t own 9 inch pans to test it.
Thanks anyways. That’s ok. I just got some 8 in cake pans. I didn’t realize how small the cake is. I thought it would be bigger the pictures look bigger or I’m just used to 9 inch cakes.
I tried making this for practice before my mother-in-law’s birthday and it came out great! I used strawberries from the grocery store finding the ripest they had since strawberry season just got done with. The flavor wasn’t overwhelming nor underwhelming came out great thanks! I’m sure she’ll like this cake.
Awesome! Happy birthday to your mother-in-law and hope she enjoys it :)
Thank you so much for this recipe. I made it for my granddaughter’s 4th birthday party today, and everybody raved about it. The strawberry reduction really does the trick. I used 2 whole eggs because I didn’t care so much about the pink of the cake, and it was still pretty and pink inside. This one is a keeper!
Happy birthday to your granddaughter! Glad the cake was a hit.
I like your natural approach to food and cooking. Keep up the good work!
Your cake looks delicious. I am trying your recipe tomorrow. Do I sift the flour before or after measuring?
You measure first then you sift.
I want to make this cake for my grandaughters birthday. She wants a star stawberry cake and I purchased a 12 inch pan, no layers. Would this still work with one larger pan?
I’m not entirely sure as you would need to figure out the volume of your 12-inch pan. The volume of two 8-inch round layers is 8 cups. You will need to check and see if your pan can hold 8 cups.
My family said it was super good – so thanks for the recipie
Hi! I made your cake and frosting last year for my youngest’s first birthday and we raved about it for a solid week. I am using it again but trying frozen (thawed/drained) blueberries for my oldest’s bday this weekend (he keeps asking for a blue cake, but I am a little worried it will be purple :). Just wanted to say thanks for the great recipe and I think it is awesome how helpful you are in your comments!
Yea the cake will probably be more purple than blue, but I bet it’ll still taste as good! Glad everyone enjoyed the cake.
Have you ever tired making it gluten free, and if so what did you use? I need to make a made from scratch gluten free strawberry cake but can’t find a good recipe.
I don’t have experience with gluten free baking. Sorry I can’t help further.
Yes you can use the same amount of salted butter. I would reduce the salt in the cake to 1/2 teaspoon and omit the salt in the frosting.
Let me know how it turns out!
I am excited to try this recipe! I actually just started making it and came to a stop when it came to the strawberries. In the recipe it says to slice the strawberries and to boil them with the sugar and water. But with just 1 tablespoon of water and sliced strawberries, what is there to boil? it will just cook if I turn the heat on. Am I supposed to chop up the strawberries instead of slicing them? Or am I just not understanding? Im just afraid of ruining it if I cook it with hardly any liquid to boil. Help!
The strawberries release water as they cook down. The 1 tablespoon added water helps jump start that process so they aren’t burning in the beginning.
Awesome, thanks! Do the strawberries remain whole but soft?
Yes, for the most part. You can also crush them up with a spoon if the slices end up being too big.
Ok, and how would you store this cake overnight? I cant frost it until tomorrow. I have read that it is ok to place saran wrap tightly over it after it has completely cooled. And to make sure every side of it is covered. Do you recommend another way?
Yes that’s correct. If you don’t cover it tightly, the cake could dry out.
I made this cake for my daughter’s 3rd birthday–delicious! Everyone loved it. I added a couple of drops of red food coloring and 1/4 tsp strawberry extract to augment the strawberry flavor. Did the icing just as the recipe said except I also added half a tub of cool whip. :) Will be making this again!!
Happy birthday to your daughter! Glad the cake was a huge hit :)
Had fresh berries picked from berry farm last week. I chopped up with sugar and put in fridge for a couple of days. I made your cake today, haven’t frosted yet.
but I wanted to use some of the juice as well so I used 3/4 cup of milk & 1/4 cup of juice from the berries. I didn’t cook my berries I just pureed them in my ninja & added about 1/2 cup of the berry puree.
some of the cake stuck to the side of the pan & of course I had to eat that.
This cake is light & fluffly not at all dense & gooey like a lot of the strawberry cake recipes I have tried in the past.
Great berry flavor & i’m sure using the juice helped.
Can’t wait to frost & have a slice with some milk.
Yes, regular berry puree works too, although the flavor isn’t as concentrated as cooking it. Glad you enjoyed the cake!
This looks like a gorgeous cake! One question was curious why in this recipe you dont cream butter and sugar together and instead but butter in with flour??? If desired could I cream butter and sugar, eggs and then add dry to wet ingredients ? does this make a difference. Thanks so much!
When I first posted this cake back in 2014, I adapted it from a recipe that used that technique. I’m in the process of testing it with the more traditional way of creaming it with the butter and sugar first. Yes, you should be able to do it that way.
Are you sure the baking powder should be 1 tablespoon and not 1 teaspoon? My cake fell in the middle while in the oven :( The only other thing that I didn’t do per specified was I used cake flour? Scared to attempt again and have it fail!
Wanted to add…
I’m using 6″ cake pans so that’s different too. Since I am using smaller cake pans I’m making three layers. The third layer just came out of the oven and it has not sinked… I decided to try adding a little more flour (tablespoon) and mixed a bit longer So maybe my problem is with either not enough flour or not mixing long enough? Hubby says it tastes yummy albeit the sunken middle :)
My first question to ask was what size pan did you use, but then you responded before I could hop onto the computer to answer. Sometimes when you use a smaller pan, the batter may rise too high too quickly, causing it to collapse when cooling. For example, I once made a cheesecake recipe that I know doesn’t fail in a slightly smaller springform pan because my other pan was in use. I saw the batter rise super high over the edges (almost a whole inch above), then when it cooled, there was a big crater in the middle. I’m wondering if that occurred when using your 6 inch pans? I’m glad it still tastes good! Just add a little more frosting to fill in that hole ;)
I made this as a gluten free sheet cake over the weekend–1.5x in a 9×13 pan was a nice height for a picnic cake. It came out beautifully using a cup-for-cup substitution of the Trader Joe’s GF flour blend. I was worried it would be gummy, but it was just nice and moist. Looked beautiful with piped icing and organic multi-color sprinkles!
Thanks for sharing! I’m sure other readers looking for a gluten free cake will be happy to know your method worked since GF isn’t my specialty.
Do you grease and flour your cake pans prior to pouring batter into them?
Please refer to step one: “Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 8-inch wide x 1 1/2 inch deep round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.”
When the recipe for the strawberry cake says to alternate flour with the milk do you just mix good with a spoon till flour moistened or do you beat with a mixer?
It’s still a continuation of the previous step with the mixer. I split it up so it wasn’t one long paragraph. You would still add the flour and milk with the mixer on low speed. However, if your low speed is too fast (some hand mixers are much faster than a stand mixer), you can mix by hand to avoid overmixing.
I’m really looking forward to trying this recipe–was so happy to find one without Jello and cake mix! I do have a question. I want to make a cake and cupcakes and I saw that you have a separate strawberry cupcake recipe. To make my life easier, could I double this cake recipe and use half of the batter to make cupcakes? Thank you!
Yes, you should be able to do that.
Can I bake it in a convection oven? What temperature would you recommend? Thanks.
I don’t own a convection oven, so I’m not sure. I recommend searching via Google.
Thank you for this amazing recipe! I actually made the old version of it a few months ago. I would love to recreate that since it was so successful and I loved using the raw strawberry purée. Any way you could share the old version?
Sure! I’m glad the old version worked for you:
Strawberry Layer Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting
• 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries* (see Note)
• 1 tablespoon water
• 2 cups all purpose flour, sifted (when measuring, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off. Do not scoop the measuring cup and pack down the flour)
• 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
• 4 egg whites, room temperature
• 1 cup whole milk, room temperature (do not sub low fat or fat free milk)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Red food coloring (optional)
Cream Cheese Frosting
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 cups powdered sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
2. In a large saucepan, stir together the strawberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, and water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 5 minutes or until the strawberries cook down and start to thicken. Remove from the heat and let cool 15 minutes. You should have roughly 1/2 cup cooked puree.
3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the butter until just combined and moist crumbs form – do not overmix (it will not form a smooth dough, just little pebbles).
4. In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk, and vanilla. Add about half of the mixture into the mixing bowl and beat until just incorporated (do not overmix). Add the remaining milk mixture and repeat. Add the cooked strawberry puree. If desired, add about 3-5 drops of red food coloring.
5. Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes or until the tops are brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes then invert cakes onto cooling racks. Cool completely.
For the frosting and assembly:
6. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
7. If the cake layers are not flat, trim some of the cake off of the top until flat.
8. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Slide pieces of parchment or wax paper underneath the cake for easy clean up later. Spread some of the frosting on top of the cake. Top with the remaining cake layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake, sealing in the crumbs (don’t use more than half of the frosting). Refrigerate 15 minutes.
9. Finish covering the cake with the remaining frosting. Carefully remove the paper pieces. Refrigerate until the frosting is firm. Store the cake covered in the refrigerator. For best results, let the cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
*Make sure your fresh strawberries are ripe and juicy. If they are underwhelming in strawberry flavor, the cake will also be underwhelming in strawberry flavor. If it’s not strawberry season, you can substitute frozen strawberries (the fruit, not the kind frozen in syrup). Thaw completely and drain all extra liquid before using.
Thank you! I will have to try the cupcakes too. The strawberries are perfect right now. We made the cake for my daughter’s 3rd birthday in March and she loved it!
Hi! I made your cake back in March for my daughter. It was the talk of the party!! I came back today to make it again for my youngest daughter and see that you noted a recipe change. Curious as to what the change was, as we really loved it prior to the change!
Glad you enjoyed the original recipe! I changed the technique for making the batter and added some cornstarch to help make the all-purpose flour more like cake flour as a lot of the complaints were about the cake being too dry or too gummy, which is a result of how the flour is handled. I did leave the original recipe in one of the comments above: https://www.chocolatemoosey.com/2014/06/26/strawberry-layer-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/#comment-467699
I am making a bowling ball cake… per my child’s request. Is this cake light and fluffy…possibly too light and fluffy to withstand being in the shape of a round ball ball…3 dimensional using the Wilson sports ball pans? Also, I am at an altitude of 5200 ft…any adjustments?
Hi Maria – I’ve never made a bowling ball cake before, so I’m not sure what the requirements are. I can tell you the cake is soft and moist. As for the altitude, I don’t have any experience with high altitude baking. I’m at 1365 feet, so I have no way of testing this out. You can research via Google and see what others are saying about baking cakes at your altitude.
Hi there. I am going to make this for my daughter’s 3rd birthday party. I usually make the cake in advance and freeze as I find it a bit stressy to do it the day before the party (I just leave the decorating for that day!). Do you think this recipe would freeze ok?
Many thanks, I can’t wait to try it!
I haven’t personally frozen it, but most cakes do freeze well. I would say yes to this one. As for the food coloring, yes I used about 3-5 drops (which you’ll see in Step 5).
I used to have problems with breads having soggy edges after freezing. I recently read to thaw previously frozen breads, cookies etc in the refrigerator to thaw slowly and avoid the soggy edges and so far, no more soggy.
PS. In your photo of the cake have you added the food colouring? The colour is perfect (:
I made this cake for my son’s birthday, when he was home for Christmas break from the University. My batter didn’t rise as much as in the pics. We tested the baking powder and it seemed fine, but I bought a new can anyway and will try again. The cake was still very good. I didn’t add the food coloring and after baking it looked a little gray. Next time I will add a couple drops of red coloring. The frosting was awesome and the best cream cheese frosting I have tried so far so i will be using it for other baked items in the future. In fact I have a couple of strawberry/raspberry bread puddings in the oven and they are going to be glazed with this cream cheese frosting. Unfortunately, I am on a diet so I’ll have to rely on hubby to tell me how they taste. Well, maybe one mouthful won’t hurt. :)
I seldom bother to register to comment at sites, but wanted to say how good this was, especially the frosting.
What size pans did you use? If you used bigger than 8 inches, then that could be why they came out thinner. Thank you for your feedback! It means a lot.
I thought it was 8 but they were 8 and 1/4. But the cake looked dense and not airy and pan size isn’t going to affect that.
Hmm maybe it was the way you mixed in the dry ingredients? Take a look through the other comments for some tips on that.
Hi Carla, can this recipe be doubled so I can make 3 layers for the cake and some cupcakes with the rest? If so, how long should I bake the cupcakes for?
I haven’t tried it, so I can’t confirm it. However, in theory I believe it would work. For the cupcakes, check them after 15-18 minutes then keep going from there if a toothpick doesn’t come out clean.
I made this came today for my husbands birthday. Followed the directions and noticed my cakes seem flat. The cake taste yummy but it’s not fluffy like I expected. Do you have an idea why that happened?
Hi Danise – It sounds like it didn’t rise enough due to either the ingredients or technique used. I recommend reading through the other comments here for tips, but here is a start:
1. Check your baking powder expiration date.
2. What kind of flour did you use? Did you sift it?
3. How long did your egg whites and milk sit out at room temperature?
4. How long did you beat in each egg white when adding? Did you add them one at a time or dumped them all in?
5. How long and on what speed did you add the flour?
6. Do you use an oven thermometer? Was your oven a true 350F? Built-in thermometers aren’t always accurate.
same problem here; i followed recipe to the letter and i am expert cake maker (we do everything from scratch here in Europe), but this cake most certainly didn’t raise enough and wasn’t fluffly at all. got a very compact cake and the perparation was soo long and complicated in comparison to any cake I’ve ever made….
My questions to you are the same as above. For a cake to have 1 teaspoon baking powder in each layer and not rise at all is suspicious. Also did you use an 8 inch pan or 9 inch pan? And are you baking at high altitude?
I made this cake 2 years in a row for my daughter’s first and second birthdays as it is strawberry season where we live. It turned out perfectly both times. It was such a hit last year that a friend requested it for her daughter’s birthday cake as well! I made 2 separate cakes last year bc I invited too many people, and your cake was the clear winner. The secret is totally the egg whites. Initially, it was very difficult to find a recipe without jello or tons of food coloring. I’ve made it with a touch of red dye, and I’ve made it with beet juice (boiled down beets in water) for the added “natural” factor. This year, I am making a double of the original recipe as I saved it in 3 different places so as not to ever lose it. :) Thank you for including the original link. I am very impressed with your dedication to answering every single person’s problems. Baking is a science, and sometimes it just doesn’t turn out. Thank you again! Keep up the great work!
I know how tricky cake baking can get, so I try to help when I can! Glad to hear this cake is a family favorite.
It came out perfectly again. Everyone at the party was super impressed. SO so so good! <3
Awesome! Thanks for the feedback
I never made cake but with the help of this recipe I made it successfully. Its taste was fabulous!!!!!!!!!! I would like to recommend this cake to all my colleagues.
Your strawberry cake looks amazing but I live in Colorado(6,000 elevation) do you have adjustments for high altitude?
I live in PA, so I don’t have any experience with high altitude baking and no way of testing it out. Here’s an article from King Arthur Flour that may help: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html
I just made this cake yesterday and it turned out amazin, even with my high altitude adjustments! It tastes so good! Thanks a bunch!
Oh excellent! Would you mind sharing your notes in case others have the same issue with high altitude?
I was asked to post my high altitude adjustments and I’m at 6,000 feet.
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon less of sugar in the batter
Add 5 Tablespoons of water when adding the milk
Increase oven temp to 375′
My cakes took longer to bake 36 minutes but I also used two 6×6 cake pans
Thank you for sharing your adjustments! Hopefully this will help other bakers with this same question :)
Hi! My daughter has requested a strawberry cake for her 3rd birthday, and this looks perfect. My question is – I already have some strawberry puree that I cooked down a few days ago for something else. How much would I need to use for this recipe? (It seems silly to go buy more fresh strawberries to make the puree if I already have some. Just need to know the amount.) Thanks!
Good question! I don’t think I’ve ever measured the amount of the cooked puree. If I had to guess, I’d say about 3/4-1 cup.
Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve been looking for an easy recipe that is actually convincing (if you get what I mean) and this is it! I do have a question, though: Should I double the recipe since I have a 10 inch round pan?
Thank you in advance.☺☺☺
Looks like a 10 x 2 inch round cake pan holds around 11 cups in volume. An 8 x 1.5 inch round cake pan holds about 4 cups. Based on that, yes I’d double it. Source for volume: http://www.joyofbaking.com/PanSizes.html
IiI’m planning to make this cake this weekend. However, I have a question about how to add the egg whites. Do I simply add the egg whites to the batter without first whipping them? I’m familiar with whipping and folding in egg whites, but I’ve never added them without whipping first. Would you be so kind as to clarify that step for me? Thanks in advance. I came across this recipe last year and have been waiting to come across strawberries that are delicious enough to use, and it finally happened. I can hardly wait to make this cake. I hope mine will be as delicious as the one in your photo looks.
You add them as you would a normal egg but without the yolk. No whipping needed! If whipping was required, I would list that in the instructions. Hope you enjoy the cake!
I tried to make this cake yesterday. I say “tried” because unfortunately it wasn’t a good result. I actually ended up freezing the fresh strawberries that I’d purchased because I didn’t have time to make the cake immediately after purchasing them and I didn’t want them to spoil. When the strawberries unthawed and I was ready to cook them I realized I had no way of knowing how much would be equal to the 2 cups of fresh strawberries as per the recipe. Once the strawberries had cooked down the question became “How much puree should be added to the batter?”. Unfortunately the recipe doesn’t list a specific amount of puree to add to the batter. I read back through the comments and realized someone else had asked the same question. The response from the blogger was that she’d never measured the amount but would guess 3/4-1 cup of the puree should be used. I used 1 cup of the puree because that’s how much I had left once the strawberries condensed. Well, in hindsight I think more like 1/2 cup would be what is needed. My cake was gummy as some of the other reviewers described and contained waaaay too many strawberries. It was like having a l’il cake with my strawberries instead of a few strawberries with my cake. But I’m not deterred at all! If at first you don’t succeed try again to make great cake! Practice makes perfect and I will definitely try this recipe again, probably this weekend if I can find some sweet strawberries. My maiden attempt didn’t have the outcome I wanted, but that elusive spectacular strawberry cake that tastes delicious is within reach. Happy baking!
I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with this recipe. I’m not understanding why you didn’t know how many strawberries to use. It still would’ve been 2 cups minus any excess liquid after they thawed. As for the gumminess, that’s usually a result of how you made the batter. It comes down to how you measured the flour and how long you beat the batter. An overmixed batter would result in a gummy texture. It’s also possible too much liquid could have thrown off the texture as well. I hope you have better success with your next attempt!
Thanks for your reply. I froze a lot of strawberries and didn’t measure out the 2 cups of strawberries needed for this recipe beforehand. When the strawberries are fresh they are plump and take up more space in the measuring cup than they do after being frozen. Once thawed they are saturated, and mushy, and so it takes more of them to achieve the 2 cups needed. That’s what caused my dilemma. The next time that you make the cake would it be possible for you to measure the amount of purée you add to the batter and update the recipe? It would be helpful to people like me who may use frozen strawberries or just happen to have extra purée on hand. I totally agree with your comment about overmixing the batter. I’m still learning when to stop mixing. I’ll post an update after my next attempt. Thanks.
If I make the cake again, I will certainly measure it out. I did make my strawberry cupcakes recently, which was about 2 tablespoons for 1/2 cup strawberries. Using math, that is about 1/2 cup for 2 cups. However, this is simply a guess until I get a chance to make the cake again.
OK, so update. Tried the cake for the 2nd time but decided to only bake half of the recipe until I achieve the desired result. So based on your response on how much puree to use I decided to go with 1/4 cup puree during this trial. I also used cake flour so I didn’t add the corn starch. So the result was better than the first attempt but still not perfect. This time the taste was what one would expect for a strawberry cake, very much like sweet strawberries. No problem there, but it wasn’t fluffy at all, and was a bit too moist. I think that next time I’ll cut the amount of milk used by half and see if that makes a difference (1/4 cup puree to 1/4 cup milk) with the moisture issue. Also plan to use my emulsion blender to make the puree more of a liquid than a paste. Being that fresh strawberries are also used in the batter I’ll still have bits of strawberry throughout the cake, which is important to me as far as the appearance of the layers.. I’m satisfied with how the cake tastes, but still aiming for the fluffy cake consistency. Well, hopefully the 3rd time will be the charm because I WILL try again over the next few weeks. Any suggestions from anyone who has had success with the cake are welcomed. Thanks in advance.
I love your persistence! A few notes I want to point out:
1. Cake flour and all purpose flour are not a 1:1 substitution, so you would have needed to replace the cornstarch you left out with more cake flour. So the recipe would be 2 cups cake flour (1 cup if you’re making 1 layer). I’m guessing this is why your cake was too moist because you were 2 tablespoons short of flour.
2. Not being fluffy enough usually means you overworked the gluten and/or egg whites in the batter. Although since you didn’t use enough flour, that may have also contributed to not being fluffy (too much moisture, not enough flour).
3. I do not recommend blending the strawberries. They’re meant to be cooked down into a thick consistency rather than a liquid puree. By blending it, you risk making it too thin because you’d be adding air into it. This will throw off your dry to liquid ratio.
I LOVE this cake recipe and have used it for a couple years. I had it printed out but lost the printed recipe so I came back here for it. I plan on making it today but I didn’t recall cornstarch being in it. Was this something added when you revised it in 2016? Thanks!
I added cornstarch so the AP flour could better mimic cake flour and not be as gummy. If you’re looking for the original version, I left a comment here with it: https://www.chocolatemoosey.com/2014/06/26/strawberry-layer-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/#comment-467699
Thank you very much for replying. I’ll be making this today!