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!
**We updated this recipe January 13, 2019 based on reviewers feedback. We’ve re-tested this recipe many times and find that the cake rises better and is fluffier based off these instructions. We so appreciate your feedback!
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 into talking about this homemade strawberry cake recipe!
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 for cake? 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 ½ 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.
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 ½ cup of the reduced strawberry puree.
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 ¼ 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.*