My Easy Strawberry Cake Bursts With Real Berry Flavor (2024)

I’m one of three sisters, and all of our birthdays are within a few weeks of each other. My poor mother would make each of us a birthday cake, lighting the candles and going through the whole birthday party rigamarole week after week. She’d ask each of us what kind of cake we wanted, and while we tried to mix things up to keep it interesting, all any of us really wanted was a strawberry cake.

My mother made countless vibrant pink strawberry layer cakes, and we gobbled them up. I called her up when I started the recipe development process, and she revealed that the strawberry cakes she made for us growing up contained strawberry Jell-O, giving the cake its bright hue.

When one of my sisters requested a strawberry cake as her wedding cake, my mother went back to the drawing board, making a semi-homemade and superior version using puréed strawberries and strawberry cake mix.

I wanted to recapture the strawberry cake magic I remember from my childhood in a homemade recipe. It took a lot of testing, but I finally ended up with a cake I’m delighted with—moist, tender, with tons of real strawberry flavor. And it’s incredibly easy to make!

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Capturing Strawberry Flavor In Cake Form

The trickiest part about incorporating strawberries into a cake is their relatively subtle flavor and high water content. You need a lot of fresh strawberries to get the true flavor across, and that makes for one stodgy cake. They also lose some of their flavor during baking.

For the cake, I took inspiration from a Southern classic: jam cake. While jam cake is spiced and usually uses blackberry jam, I aimed for a tender but moist layer cake with a delicate and authentic strawberry flavor. A lot of homemade strawberry cake recipes call for puréeing strawberries and cooking them down—this sounded an awful lot like jam without sugar to me! So I decreased the amount of sugar you’d typically put in a cake like this and swapped it out for strawberry jam.

The powerful fresh strawberry flavor really comes from the frosting, inspired by the strawberry cake frosting on Sally’s Baking Addiction. It’s a quick and easy cream cheese frosting with one key ingredient: ground freeze-dried strawberries. They add tons of real strawberry flavor without adding moisture and turn the frosting a lovely pink hue. They’re available at Target, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and most major grocery stores.

Make It Ahead

If you’re preparing for a party or a birthday, you can make the cakes ahead of time. Let them cool completely before wrapping tightly in plastic wrap. Store in the fridge for up to three days or also wrap in aluminum foil and freeze for up to a month.

You can also make the whole cake up to a day ahead of time. Cover and store in the fridge, then let warm up slightly on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.

One really nice thing about this strawberry cake is you can make it all year long. It gets most of its flavor from jam and freeze-dried strawberries, which capture strawberry flavor in shelf-stable form. I’ll be making it for my February birthday next go-around.

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Strawberry Treats

  • Strawberry and Cream Semifreddo
  • Strawberry Cheesecake Cookies
  • Strawberry Pop Tart Slab Pie
  • Strawberry Pretzel Pie
  • Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles

Easy Strawberry Layer Cake

Prep Time30 mins

Cook Time40 mins

Cool Time60 mins

Total Time2 hrs 10 mins

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 2 1/2 cups (320g) all-purpose flour

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

  • 2/3 cup strawberry jam, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Red food coloring or gel, as desired, optional

For the frosting

  • 1 cup (22g) freeze-dried strawberries

  • 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, softened

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

  • 3 cups (340g) powdered sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Up to 3 tablespoons milk, as needed

  • A handful of fresh strawberries, sliced, for decoration

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Grease two 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with rounds of parchment and lightly grease the paper.

    My Easy Strawberry Cake Bursts With Real Berry Flavor (3)

  2. Combine the dry ingredients:

    To make the cake, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

    My Easy Strawberry Cake Bursts With Real Berry Flavor (4)

  3. Make the cake batter:

    Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer. Beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

    Add half of the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Add the strawberry jam and mix until combined. Mix in the rest of the dry ingredients, scrape down the bowl, then add the sour cream, vanilla, and red food coloring, if using. Mix just until combined and no streaks of flour remain.

    My Easy Strawberry Cake Bursts With Real Berry Flavor (5)

    My Easy Strawberry Cake Bursts With Real Berry Flavor (6)

  4. Bake:

    Divide the batter evenly between the prepared baking pans. Gently spread into an even layer.

    Bake until a tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Set the pans on a cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Carefully invert the pans on the rack, remove the pans, and peel off the parchment. Let cool completely.

    My Easy Strawberry Cake Bursts With Real Berry Flavor (7)

    My Easy Strawberry Cake Bursts With Real Berry Flavor (8)

  5. Make the strawberry powder:

    Once the cakes are cool, make the frosting. Add the freeze-dried strawberries to a spice grinder or mini food processor and process until a fine powder forms. Alternatively, place the fruit in a zip-top bag and pound using a rolling pin or similar instrument.

    Simple Tip!

    Make sure that whatever you use to grind up the freeze-dried strawberries is completely dry.

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  6. Make the frosting:

    Add the cream cheese and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

    Add the powdered sugar, strawberry powder, and salt and beat on low speed until combined, then increase the speed to medium. Beat until creamy. If the mixture is too thick for your liking, add milk, a teaspoon or two at a time, and beat each time, until the desired consistency is reached. The frosting should be creamy and spreadable.

    My Easy Strawberry Cake Bursts With Real Berry Flavor (10)

    My Easy Strawberry Cake Bursts With Real Berry Flavor (11)

  7. Decorate the cake:

    If your cakes are domed on top, use a serrated knife to trim off the top of the dome so the cakes are mostly flat. Place one cake on a plate and top with just under 1/3 of the frosting. Spread into an even layer, reaching the edges of the cake.

    Top with the second cake layer and top with just under another 1/3 of the frosting. Spread into an even layer. Use the remaining frosting to frost the sides of the cake. Top with the sliced strawberries and serve.

    Store any leftover cake tightly covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you’re not serving the cake right away, you can store it in the fridge, uncovered, for up to 2 hours.

    Love the recipe? Leave us stars and a comment below!

    My Easy Strawberry Cake Bursts With Real Berry Flavor (12)

    My Easy Strawberry Cake Bursts With Real Berry Flavor (13)

    My Easy Strawberry Cake Bursts With Real Berry Flavor (14)

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
759Calories
39g Fat
96g Carbs
7g Protein

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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories759
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g51%
Saturated Fat 23g117%
Cholesterol 159mg53%
Sodium 505mg22%
Total Carbohydrate 96g35%
Dietary Fiber 1g4%
Total Sugars 66g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 7mg33%
Calcium 131mg10%
Iron 2mg12%
Potassium 140mg3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.

My Easy Strawberry Cake Bursts With Real Berry Flavor (2024)

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