” Strawberry Cake Recipe with Strawberries & Cream Frosting! Moist and fluffy cake with natural strawberry flavor!”

 

Visual learner? Watch me make this Fresh Strawberry Cake Recipe from start to finish!


Today I’ll be making one of the first recipes from my cookbook!!! Ma’s Fresh Strawberry Cake recipe! Woo hoo!!! If you haven’t purchased my cookbook yet you can do so in the “Cookbook” link in the navigation bar! It’s a limited-time kitchen memoir full of childhood stories, family photos, and beloved family recipes. With my birthday and Mother’s Day right around the corner what better time to post this strawberry cake recipe.

In the cookbook, I tell my mom’s courageous story of battling cancer. She passed two months after my birthday but made sure she reminded me that when she got better she would make my birthday cake. It’s been a strawberry cake since I was a little girl. I never got that birthday cake but since then I make sure to make it for myself in celebration of my ma and what a dynamic woman she was.  Here’s to you ma!

divas can cook cookbook

Let’s make this fresh strawberry cake recipe shall we!!!

What is a fresh strawberry cake?

You’d be surprised at how many times I’ve run into people who have never had a strawberry cake, let alone, a fresh strawberry cake. What’s up with that?  Strawberry cake, not to be confused with strawberry shortcake, consists of basically a fluffy vanilla cake that’s with fresh strawberries mixed into the batter before baking.   It’s usually finished off with a strawberry frosting to further increase the strawberry flavor. Strawberry shortcake generally consists of a shortcake or biscuits layered with fresh strawberries and topped with whipped cream. Check out these delicious strawberry shortcake cupcakes!

Boxed Strawberry Cake & Fresh Strawberry Cake are two different animals…

Growing up, ma often used a boxed cake mix to make my strawberry birthday cake. She’d come home on her lunch break to make the cake, decorate the living room and wrap presents so that I’d be surprised when I walked in from school. However, when my birthday fell on a weekend and she had a bit more time on her hands she’d sometimes make a fresh strawberry cake. I loved BOTH versions, but there is just something about a pure, homemade strawberry cake that can’t be beaten. Thankfully this from-scratch version is such an easy strawberry cake recipe!

If you’ve only had a boxed strawberry cake (the kind with the Jello added) and you’re expecting the fresh version to taste like that….um…not happening! Artificial strawberry flavor and natural strawberry flavor are very different, especially in baked goods. Fresh strawberry creates a light, fresh berry flavor once baked. It’s delicate and subtle yet bold enough to know it’s there. The strawberry frosting is what steals the show and adds that fresh, bold strawberry flavor since it’s not baked in. This strawberry cake recipe uses nothing but fresh strawberries and 100% natural strawberry extract for its flavor.

easy best fresh strawberry cake recipe

What is strawberry extract?

Pure strawberry extract is made from strawberries, water, and alcohol. I usually get my strawberry extract from Walmart or Amazon. Be sure to use the pure strawberry extract for the best flavor. It really helps boost the natural strawberry flavor.

Red Food Coloring

This cake uses red food coloring to deepen the pink color. If you want to use 100% natural food coloring, go with beet juice as I did in this hot pink lemonade recipe or you can use Watkins brand natural food coloring found at Target or Amazon. If you skip the red food coloring the cake will have a very pale, barely-there pink shade. Still pretty though.)

 

easy fresh strawberry cake recipe

What I love about this Fresh Strawberry Cake recipe

Natural strawberry cake recipes can be very hit or miss. While I love a strawberry cake made with a box mix, Jello, and other add-in ingredients, this fresh strawberry cake recipe is one of my favorites! Ok maybe I’m biased since this cake represents so many good memories but I think you’ll like it too!  It does such a great job of capturing natural strawberry flavor and scent. Plus it’s super moist and fluffy thanks to the sour cream and strawberry reduction added to the batter.

Strawberry Reduction for the Win!

This strawberry cake and strawberry frosting pack a whopping two pounds of fresh ripe strawberries!! Can you believe that? It’s all thanks to that fresh strawberry reduction! It packs a triple threat in this cake recipe by adding natural color, real strawberry flavor, and moisture.  Making the strawberry reduction is super easy! Simply blend up the strawberries in a blender until you have a strawberry puree and then pour them into a saucepan. Simmer until the berries are thick and reduced according to instructions. This creates highly concentrated strawberries that are perfect for mixing into the batter without adding too much liquid.

easy strawberry cake recipe

Fresh Strawberry Cake Recipe Ingredients

fresh strawberries stemmed
all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
baking powder
salt
unsalted butter softened
butter-flavored shortening
granulated sugar
large eggs, room temperature
vanilla extract
pure strawberry extract
sour cream
6-9 drops red food coloring (optional)
whole milk

 

Fresh Strawberries & Cream Frosting Ingredients

fresh strawberries stemmed
unsalted butter softened
cream cheese softened
vanilla extract
strawberry extract
salt, pinch
confectioners sugar sifted and measured correctly

How to Make Fresh Strawberry Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) round cake pans. Set aside.
    To make the strawberry reduction, place strawberries in a blender, and blend until pureed. Pour the puree into a saucepan and simmer for about 20 minutes until most of the juice evaporates, and you have about 1/2 cup of strawberries. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time until combined. Stir in sour cream. (batter may look spotty and that is fine) Add the food coloring.  Start with 5-6 drops and increase after you add the puree in the next step if you want it darker)
  4. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, alternating with the milk until the mixture is well combined. (Be careful not to over mix or the cake will be crumbly).
  5. Fold in strawberry reduction. Be sure to mix it in thoroughly so there are no streaks in the batter. (Add more food coloring if you want it darker. In this video,  I used 8 drops of McCormick liquid food coloring. Some brands are not as concentrated so you may need more or less)
  6. Pour batter evenly into the prepared pans.
  7. Bake for 20-22 minutes (may need longer) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs clinging to it.
  8. Place cakes on a cooling rack and when the pans are cool enough to touch, remove the cakes and allow them to finish cooling on the wire rack.

 

How to Make Strawberries & Cream Frosting

  1. To make the frosting, first follow the steps above to create the strawberry reduction, reducing it down to 1/4 cup this time. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and strawberry extract until combined. (You can use a stand mixer if desired)
  3. Mix in salt and powdered sugar a little at a time, until creamy.
  4. Add in the strawberry puree by the tablespoon until desired firmness is reached. ( I use all 1/4 cup)
  5. Chill the frosting and then mix until fluffy before frosting the cakes. (Frosting should be extra airy and fluffy. See note.)
  6. Frost cake layers using an offset spatula. (It will not look like enough frosting but the frosting is very airy and goes a long way. I do not use a very thick layer since this frosting is pretty rich with a strong strawberry flavor. Thinner frosting layers work best.)
  7. Slice using a cake knife (see note) and serve.
  8. Store finished cake in the refrigerator and let come to room temperature before serving, for best results. (The strawberry flavor increases the next day so I usually make this cake the day before I want to serve it. Although is still great the day of making it.)

simple fresh strawberry cake recipe

 

Tips for Making the BEST Strawberry Cake Recipe & Frosting

  1. Don’t overmix- Be careful not to overwork the batter too much. This could result in a dry, crumbly cake as the gluten in the flour is overworked. I like to keep my mixer on a low-medium speed and mix just until the ingredients are combined.
  2. Don’t substitute the ingredients- While it may be tempting to go the all-butter route or the low-fat way, this cake works best with full-fat ingredients. Everything works together in this recipe.
  3. Don’t overbake– Even though this strawberry cake recipe is full of forgiveness ingredients, it’s still important not to overbake the cake layers. Remember cakes continue to cook as they cool. I remove it when moist crumbs cling to a toothpick inserted into the center.

FAQs

I ran out of frosting, should I have doubled it? This recipe should make enough to frost all three layers, provided you aren’t using very thick layers. The frosting is sweet and rich so thinner layers are perfect.  Also, be sure to really mix the frosting so that it becomes fluffy. This will increase the volume and texture. If your frosting appears very thick and heavy, you need to mix it at high speed longer.

Can I use another frosting? Sure can, but this strawberry cake recipe relies on the strawberry frosting for most of its natural strawberry flavor. I’d definitely stick with a strawberry-flavored frosting to pair with this cake.

Can I add strawberry gelatin to this cake? Strawberry gelatin adds moisture, color, and flavor to the cakes. This cake already has all three so gelatin isn’t necessary.

My cake is crumbly, what did I do wrong? Overmixing or overbaking will create a dry crumbly cake. Mix just until combined.

 

Enjoy!


easy fresh strawberry cake recipe

Get the Recipe: Fresh Strawberry Cake Recipe

5 from 19 ratings
Fresh strawberry cake and strawberry frosting recipe! Full of natural strawberry flavor!
Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time: 22 mins
Servings: 12 people

Ingredients
 

STRAWBERRY CAKE

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, stemmed
  • cups all-purpose flour (measured correctly, see note)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup butter-flavored shortening
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure strawberry extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 6-9 drops red food coloring
  • ¾ cup whole milk

STRAWBERRIES & CREAM FROSTING

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, stemmed
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure strawberry extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (sifted & measured correctly. See note.)

Instructions
 

LET'S MAKE THE CAKE!

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) round cake pans. Set aside.
  • To make the strawberry reduction, place strawberries in a blender, and blend until pureed. Pour the puree into a saucepan and simmer for about 20 minutes until most of the juice evaporates, and you have about 1/2 cup of strawberries. Set aside to cool.
  • In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time until combined. Mix in strawberry extract and vanilla extract. Stir in sour cream. (batter may look spotty and that is fine)
  • Add the food coloring. (Cake will be a VERY pale pink if not using food coloring. Start with 5-6 drops and increase after you add the puree in the next step if you want it darker)
  • Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, alternating with the milk until the mixture is well combined. (Be careful not to over mix or the cake will be crumbly).
  • Fold in strawberry reduction. Be sure to mix it in thoroughly so there are no streaks in the batter. (Add more food coloring if you want it darker. In this video,  I used 8 drops of McCormick liquid food coloring. Some brands are not as concentrated so you may need more or less)
  • Pour batter evenly into the prepared pans.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes (may need longer) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs clinging to it.
  • Place cakes on a cooling rack and when the pans are cool enough to touch, remove the cakes and allow them to finish cooling on the wire rack.

LET'S MAKE THE FROSTING!

  • To make the frosting, first follow the steps above to create the strawberry reduction, reducing it down to 1/4 cup this time. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and strawberry extract until combined. (Use a stand mixer if desired)
  • Mix in salt and powdered sugar a little at a time, until creamy.
  • Add in the strawberry puree by the tablespoon until desired firmness is reached. ( I use all 1/4 cup)
  • Chill the frosting and then mix until fluffy before frosting the cakes. (Frosting should be extra airy and fluffy. See note.)
  • Frost cake layers using an offset spatula. (This frosting is rich with bold strawberry flavor. A little goes a long way so so use thin layers of frosting between the cakes)
  • Slice using a cake knife and serve. (Chill the cake if you wish to firm up the frosting before slicing)
  • Store finished cake in the refrigerator and let come to room temperature before serving, for best results. (The strawberry flavor increases the next day so I usually make this cake the day before I want to serve it. Although it is still great the day of making it.)

Video

Notes

MEASURING FLOUR AND POWDERED SUGAR: First, fluff it with a spoon or sift. Spoon into measuring cup until overflowing. Tap the rim of the measuring cup to knock out any air bubbles. Level off the top with the back of a knife.
FROSTING:  Mix the frosting on high until it is super fluffy and airy. If the frosting is thick and heavy, it hasn't been mixed enough. It will not look like enough frosting to frost the cakes but it will be! 
Cuisine: American, southern
Course: Dessert
Tried this recipe?Mention @divascancook on Instagram or tag #divascancook.