Strawberry Layer Cake

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This strawberry layer cake is made with fresh strawberries, and frosted with a strawberry cream cheese frosting. A perfect cake for Spring! I have step by step instructions for you on how to make this fresh strawberry cake recipe.



 

Spring has sprung friends and Mother’s Day is around the corner! So let’s rejoice…with some cake. But not just any cake…a fresh strawberry layer cake. No extracts or jams here, but instead a fresh strawberry puree is folded into a light and fluffy cake making for a beautifully pink cake that everyone is going to devour.

For Mother’s Day I love serving brunch. There’s so many wonderful recipes to make for Mother’s Day, like my Chantilly Cake (that’s better than Whole Foods!) isn’t there? And every good brunch deserves a great dessert, doesn’t it?

When creating this cake recipe I knew I wanted lots of strawberry flavor to shine through but not be overly sweet either. Unfortunately jam, although easier, produced too sweet of a cake. And frankly, I’m just not a fan of extracts beyond the classics like almond and vanilla. They never taste real to me, you know what I’m saying?

So how do you get that pure strawberry flavor in every bite without creating too watery of a cake batter? By cooking down a fresh strawberry puree, so its reduced in liquid and concentrated in flavor. Sure this step takes some patience, but really it’s pretty simple to accomplish. I stirred that into this Homemade White Cake recipe (which I also used for my Funfetti cake you have to try!) and by golly the perfect fresh strawberry cake for Spring was born.

I thought about frosting this strawberry layer cake in my homemade strawberry buttercream frosting that I’ve used before on Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes, but I thought a strawberry cream cheese frosting would really be a wonderful complement to the sweet strawberry flavor. And after one bite, I knew I made the right call.

See Also:

  • Layered with fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream this vanilla sponge cake is a beautiful cake to make any time of year!
  • If you’re looking for a showstopping cake, this Milk Bar cake is the perfect dessert to make for a birthday!
  • Calling all peanut butter lovers with this super easy peanut butter cream cheese frosting to use on all your favorite cake recipes!
  • This easy vanilla cupcake recipe uses melted butter so it comes together in minutes and no mixer is needed!
  • When it’s summertime then you have to make these S’mores cupcakes with toasted meringue frosting and graham cracker bottom!
  • Get a mixing bowl and make the easiest cake ever! This Tornado cake recipe (aka do nothing cake) made with crushed pineapple, coconut, and pecans!
cutaway view of a strawberry layer cake

Ingredients Needed For The Cake

  • Strawberries – You will put these in a blender or food processor to break them down into a puree then cook on the stove. You can fresh or frozen, but if using frozen you will cook down the strawberries a bit longer.
  • Cake flour – This flour has a lower protein content than regular all-purpose flour and will yield a lighter, fluffier cake. You can use a Homemade Cake Flour, but will yielder a denser cake than store-bought cake flour. For more recipes that use cake flour, check out my 41 cake flour recipes.
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Vanilla extract 
  • Egg whites
  • Sour cream
  • Milk
  • Red Food Coloring – This is optional, but a few drops will make for a more “pink cake” in the end.

How To Make A Strawberry Layer Cake

Prep oven and pans. Position rack in the center oven. Preheat the oven to 350oF/177oC). Prepare three 8-inch (20 cm) round pans (or two 9-inch round pans) with non-stick spray, then line with parchment circle, and spray again. 

Make strawberry puree. Puree 1 pound of strawberries either in a blender or food processor. Then in a saucepan, heat strawberry puree over low heat until reduced to about ½ cup. This can be done up to 2 days ahead of time. Refrigerate puree until ready to use (but make sure it’s at room temperature again before adding to cake batter). 

strawberry puree being cooked down on stovetop

Combine dry ingredients. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add salt and whisk together. Set aside. 

Heather’s Baking Tip

Make sure you are measuring your flour correctly so you end up with a light and fluffy cake and not a dense, dry cake. I recommend measuring by weight for best accuracy. But if using volume (aka measuring cups), then be sure to stir your flour first as it tends to settle into the bag. Then spoon the flour into your cup and level it off. Do not pack it down as it will yield 25% more flour than intended.

dry ingredients being sifted over a bowl

Cream butter and sugar. In a stand mixer bowl with paddle attachment, (or you can use your hand mixer) cream butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl halfway through mixing. The mixture should be pale yellow. 

butter and sugar being creamed together with a pink hand mixer

Add extract and egg whites. With mixer on low speed, add in the vanilla. With the mixer running, slowly add in the egg whites mixing to combine. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

cake batter in bowl

Combine the sour cream and milk. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and sour cream. Make sure they are both at room temperature so the blend into your cake batter smoothly.

If they are cold it could cause your butter to seize up and your batter to separate.

hand whisking sour cream and milk together in a measuring cup

Alternate the dry ingredients/sourcream/milk. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk/sourcream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed between additions until incorporated. 

Heather’s Baking Tip

Use room temperature eggs and dairy! Cold ingredients will not blend easily into the cake batter and could cause your butter to seize up. This might cause your batter to separate and will create a cake that doesn’t rise as tall and fluffy. I set my dairy and eggs out about 30 minutes before I start baking to ensure everything is at room temperature.

two photos showing flour and milk mixture being added to cake batter

Add strawberry puree. Stir in your puree that you made earlier. Make sure it’s at room temperature. So if you made it ahead of time, and kept it in the fridge be sure it’s not cold and brought back to room temperature.

strawberry puree stirred into white cake batter

Add food coloring. To make the cake pink, I recommend adding a few drops of red food coloring. It’s optional, but definitely helps to make the cake more pink.

red food coloring being added to strawberry layer cake batter

Bake cakes. Divide batter equally into the prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cake is firm and springs back when gently touched in the center and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in the pan completely on a wire cooling rack before turning out of the pan. Once completely cooled, assemble and frost. 

two unbaked strawberry cakes in pans

Frosting Ingredients

For this strawberry cake recipe, we are going to make a strawberry cream cheese frosting. For the frosting you are going to need:

  • Cream Cheese – Use full-fat cream cheese that is in block from, not in the tub.
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Freeze-dried strawberries– This gives maximum strawberry flavor without adding any extra liquid to the frosting. If you can’t find any, you could always swap with jam (I would recommend 1/4 cup to start and add more to your tasting). The frosting might end up being a bit sweeter but will still yield a strawberry flavor. I usually find the strawberries in my organic/health food aisle but also can be found on Amazon.
ingredients for strawberry cream cheese frosting

Make The Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Mix cream cheese and butter. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.

butter and cream cheese beat together in bowl

Add powdered sugar. Add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, with mixer off, then mix on low speed until combined.

It’s important that you start your mixer on low to start otherwise you will end up with a blizzard of sugar all over kitchen. *ahem…ask me how I know.

powdered sugar in a measuring cup over a bowl of cream cheese frosting

Add vanilla extract, and beat to combine.

measuring spoon of vanilla held over a bowl of cream cheese frosting

Add freeze-dried strawberries. Add the freeze-dried strawberry powder to the frosting and beat on low speed to combined. Once combined, increase speed to medium speed and beat until light and fluffy for about 5 to 6 minutes.

Store in the fridge in an airtight container if not using right away, for up to 4 days. Re-whip again before using so it’s a spreadable consistency.

freeze dried strawberries sprinkled on top of cream cheese frosting

Frost The Cake

To assemble and frost this strawberry layer cake, start by placing one cake layer onto serving platter or cake stand. I put a little dollop of frosting onto the cake stand so the cake doesn’t shift around as I’m frosting it. Then I frosted the bottom layer.

I added a layer of strawberry jam in the middle of this fresh strawberry cake (totally optional but also delicious!). To keep the jam from oozing out the sides, I piped a border around the edge of the cake, then spread the jam on.

I then placed the top layer on, and pressed down lightly. I used a large offset spatula and frost the top of the layer. For even amount of frosting I use a large cookie scoop and scoop the frosting on, then spread out with a spatula. I frosted the top and sides, and then piped on some pretty swirls on top.

Heather’s Baking Tip

For an easier time frosting your cake, with less crumbs clinging to your frosting start by freezing your cooled cake layers for about 30 minutes before hand.

Recipe FAQ’s

How long does this cake last?

Because of the cream cheese frosting I store this cake in the fridge, covered for up to 4 days. I allow it come back to room temperature before serving so the frosting has time to soften. You can also make the cake layers the day before, and wrap well and store at room temperature before frosting.

Can I freeze this strawberry layer cake?

Leftover cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. You can wrap cake slices in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the fridge, and then serve at room temperature the next day.

Can I bake this cake in a different pan?

I haven’t tested this strawberry layer cake recipe with other pans but here is what I would recommend. For a sheet cake, grease a 9×13 pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. For cupcakes, line two cupcake pans with paper liners and fill about ⅔ full. Bake for 18-25 minutes. 

slice of strawberry layer cake upright on a plate

More Recipes To Try

If you loved this fresh strawberry cake, then give these other layer cake recipes a try!

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Strawberry Layer Cake

A perfect fluffy, moist homemade strawberry layer cake that is frosted in the dreamiest strawberry cream cheese frosting.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Rest Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 1002kcal

Ingredients

For the cakes:

  • 1 pound strawberries hulled and sliced
  • 3 cups (345 g) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 226 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 large (160 g, 2/3 cup) egg whites, room temperature
  • ¾ cup (180 g) sour cream room temperature
  • ¾ cup (170 g) milk room temperature
  • few drops of red food coloring optional

For the strawberry cream cheese frosting:

  • 16 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 226 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6 cups (678 g) confectioners sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2.4 ounces (2 packages) freeze-dried strawberries pulsed into a powder
  • ½ cup strawberry jam optional (for layering)

Instructions

Make the cakes:

  • Prep oven and pans. Position rack in the center oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C). Prepare three 8-inch (20 cm) round pans (or two 9-inch round pans) with non-stick spray, then line with parchment circle, and spray again.
  • Make strawberry puree. Puree 1 pound of strawberries either in a blender or food processor. Then in a saucepan, heat strawberry puree over low heat until reduced to about ½ cup. This can be done up to 2 days ahead of time. Refrigerate puree until ready to use (but make sure it’s at room temperature again before adding to cake batter).
  • Combine dry ingredients. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add salt and whisk together. Set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar. In a stand mixer bowl with paddle attachment, (or you can use your hand mixer) cream butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl halfway through mixing. The mixture should be pale yellow.
  • Add extract and egg whites. With mixer on low speed, add in the vanilla. With the mixer running, slowly add in the egg whites mixing to combine. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  • Alternate the dry ingredients and sourcream/milk. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and sour cream. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk/sourcream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed between additions until incorporated.
  • Bake cakes. Divide batter equally into the prepared pans. Bake for 22-26 minutes until cake is firm and springs back when gently touched in the center and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in the pan completely on a wire cooling rack before turning out of the pan. Once completely cooled, assemble and frost.

Make the frosting

  • Mix cream cheese and butter. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, with mixer off, then mix on low speed until combined. Add vanilla extract, and beat to combine.
  • Add freeze-dried strawberries. Add the freeze-dried strawberry powder to the frosting and beat on low speed to combined. Once combined, increase speed to medium speed and beat until light and fluffy for about 5 to 6 minutes. Store in the fridge in an airtight container if not using right away, for up to 4 days. Re-whip again before using so it’s a spreadable consistency.

Assemble cake

  • Frost cake. Place one cake layer onto serving platter or cake stand. Use a spatula and frost the top of the layer (for even amount of frosting I use a large cookie scoop and scoop the frosting on, then spread out with a spatula).
  • I then added a layer of strawberry jam on top (optional). To keep the jam from oozing out, I pipe a border around the edge of the cake then spread the jam on.
  • Top with another cake layer and frost the top and sides of the cake.

Notes

  • Storage: Because of the cream cheese frosting I store this cake in the fridge, covered for up to 4 days. I allow it come back to room temperature before serving so the frosting has time to soften. You can also make the cake layers the day before, and wrap well and store at room temperature before frosting.
  • Different pan sizes: I haven’t tested this recipe with other pans but here is what I would recommend. For a sheet cake, grease a 9×13 pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. For cupcakes, line two cupcake pans with paper liners and fill about ⅔ full. Bake for 18-25 minutes.
  • Freezing: Leftover cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. You can wrap cake slices in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the fridge, and then serve at room temperature the next day.
  • Room temperature ingredients: Make sure your eggs and dairy are at room temperature so they blend easily into the batter and create a smooth batter that will result in a cake that rises properly.
  • Strawberries: You can use frozen strawberries for the puree, but you will need to cook down the puree for a few minutes longer.

Nutrition

Calories: 1002kcal | Carbohydrates: 138g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 304mg | Potassium: 368mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 108g | Vitamin A: 1573IU | Vitamin C: 93mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 2mg
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8 Comments

  1. Can I use egg whites from a carton? I can’t wait to bake this divine cake! Thank you ; )

    1. Hi Veronica – yes I think that should be fine!

  2. 5 stars
    What a divine strawberry cake recipe! Adding freeze dried strawberries to the frosting is such a brilliant idea, and the sour cream added to the cake batter gives it such nice flavor. Another winner from Boston Girl Bakes!

  3. 5 stars
    This cake is SO moist and delicious, the perfect fruity flavor!

    1. Taylor Smith says:

      Thanks Caitline!❤️

  4. 5 stars
    Have been searching for the perfect cake for Mother’s day and this is it! Love that it uses so many real strawberries, looks amazingly moist and decadent! I love using freeze dried strawberries in my baking!

  5. 5 stars
    Moist, rich, flavorful — what’s not to love?? My kids gobbled this up. The cream cheese added a nice contrast to the sharper strawberry notes. 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I love this strawberry cake. The pink cake is so pretty, and the strawberry frosting is to die for.

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