Hints for the perfect Homemade Strawberry Cake! This 100% from-scratch recipe uses fresh strawberries in the cake and in the homemade buttercream. You may also love our strawberry crumb bars!
Fresh Strawberry Cake Recipe
It took two whole months of flour-flying, cake-baking intensity, but we’ve come through for you with a strawberry cake that I think you’ll love. 100% homemade strawberry cake. Made with fresh strawberries.
We had last month made a strawberry cake that was to-die-for that used a cake mix and gelatin, but you wanted a strawberry cake from scratch without gelatin. You asked for it, and we didn’t quit ’til we had it down. Ok….so I did quit, but then decided I couldn’t let the challenge go and picked it up again.
Do you realize how hard it is to add fresh strawberries to homemade cake? It’s not as easy as dumping those juicy red berries into the batter. It takes some tweaking to get intense strawberry flavor without adding too much moisture to the cake. We finally made it happen and couldn’t be happier with the results!
Let’s get right in to talking about this homemade strawberry cake recipe!
How to Reduce Strawberries
So how do you make a strawberry cake with real strawberries? You start by making a strawberry puree. How do you make a strawberry puree? I’m glad you asked!
To make a simple strawberry puree, you’ll take 1 quart of strawberries, clean them, cut off the stems, and put them in a food processor until they are all nice and pureed. You should end up with about 3 cups of puree. Now some stop there, but I decided to get a more intense strawberry flavor for this homemade strawberry cake and buttercream, I wanted to make a strawberry puree reduction. That means I took the fresh strawberry puree and placed it in a saucepan. I turned the stovetop on to medium-low heat and allowed the strawberry puree to simmer for about 30-45 minutes until the puree has reduced down by half, or about 1 1/2 cups. Why do this? It cooks out some of the moisture of the strawberries, but keeps all that berry-bursting flavor. This is the reduced strawberry puree that you will use in the cake and in the buttercream. Be sure to plan ahead on this part. You’ll need the reduced puree to cool completely before you make the cake. I often make prepare the puree the day before I will be baking the cake.
How to Make Strawberry Cake
It’s fairly easy to put together the cake. We based the recipe off this cherry cake, which uses cake flour, butter and egg whites which results in a fluffy cake with amazing flavor. To get the strawberry flavor, use a little bit of strawberry extract, which you can find in grocery stores in the baking aisle. If you can’t find that extract, simply use the vanilla extract. You’ll also use 1/2 cup of the reduced strawberry puree.
Can you use all purpose flour instead of cake flour?
Not really. In order to have the best results, if a recipe calls for cake flour, you should definitely use cake flour. Do you want to make a substitute for cake flour? Take a cup of all-purpose flour and remove two tablespoons of flour. Add two tablespoons of cornstarch back into the flour. Whisk the flour and cornstarch together. This will work as a cake flour substitute in a pinch!
*It’s important to note that the cake does not have a bright pink color. It’s more white in appearance. If you’d like a deeper pink color, use a drop or two of red food coloring.*
The frosting itself is just like our basic buttercream frosting. The only difference is that instead of heavy whipping cream to make it smooth, you’ll use some of the remaining strawberry puree to give it a pink color and strawberry flavor.
*Add the strawberry puree into the buttercream no more than 1/4 cup at a time to be sure that the buttercream doesn’t end up too runny. You want it to be spreading consistency, but not to slide off the cake. You may not use all of the reduced strawberry puree.*
It’s a fairly easy homemade cake recipe. Use only the ingredients listed (meaning go buy that cake flour!) and take your time.
You can make this as a 2-layer cake or in a 9×13 pan.
*Please note that we like a lot of frosting on our cakes. If you’d like less, or if you are making the 9×13 pan size, see the instructions in the recipe.*
Tools to Make This Cake
- Stand Mixer: A hand mixer will work, but I always find it easier to make frostings with a stand mixer.
- Beater Blade with Scraper: The best invention ever!
- 9” Round Cake Pan: These are my favorite pans!
- Cake Flour:A must-have for anyone who loves to bake from scratch.
- Cake Spatula: To get that frosting nice and smooth.
- Wire Cooling Racks:This will help your cakes cool more quickly.
- Cake Plate: I have this cake plate and everyone loves it! It comes with the cute server too.
Other Strawberry Recipes
- Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes
- Strawberry Shortcake Scones
- Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake
- Donut Strawberry Shortcake
- Strawberry Loaf Cake
Homemade Strawberry Cake Recipe
For the Strawberry Puree:
- 3 cups strawberries pureed*
For the Cake:
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour 300 grams
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 320 grams
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup milk 2%
- 1 teaspoon strawberry extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup reduced strawberry puree
- 4 large egg whites
For the Buttercream:
- 1 1/2 cups butter at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup reduced strawberry puree
- *For the strawberry puree, clean and remove the stems on about 1 quart of strawberries. Cut them in half and place them in a food processor to blend them into a puree. You should end up with about 3 cups of strawberry puree.
- Place the strawberry puree in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often to prevent burning, until the strawberries have reduced to 1 1/2 cups of puree. I've found this to take about 30-45 minutes.
- Allow the reduced strawberry puree to cool completely. (I often make this a day in advance so it has plenty of time to cool.)
For the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the softened butter, milk and extracts. Mix well. Beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the reduced strawberry puree and egg whites. Beat for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Grease and flour two 9" round cake pans. Divide the batter between the cake pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the cake springs back when you touch the center of it. Allow the cakes to sit for 5 minutes, then remove them from the pans to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Buttercream:
- In a stand mixer bowl, with the mixer on medium speed, whip the butter for 2-3 minutes until it is almost white in color. Add in the salt, powdered sugar, vanilla extract. Mix on low speed until blended. Add in the reduced strawberry puree, 1/4 a cup until the frosting is the consistency you'd like. Add a drop or two of red food coloring if you'd like the cake to be a little pinker. Beat on low speed again for 1-2 minutes.
Assemble the Cake:
- Frost the top of one of the round cakes, then place the second cake on top of that.
- Frost the entire outside of the cake with the strawberry frosting, making it as smooth as possible.
- Decorate the top with cut or whole strawberries, if desired.
- Cover and refrigerate until serving.