Top Homemade strawberry cake

The only thing that sets this strawberry cake apart from the others? Reduce the fresh strawberry puree and add it to the best white cake batter. Embrace your canned strawberry cake.

This strawberry cake completely blew me away. After years of mediocre strawberry cakes, my expectations were rather low. It was time to put my efforts to the test of taste. Biting into the first pastel pink forkful was the moment of truth...

a slice of homemade strawberry cake on a white plate

I cried tears of joy. Or were those tears really due to the fact that I just messed up all the dishes with all these strawberry cake recipe tests? Hmm.

Let's get down to business. The homemade strawberry cake is episode 1 of Sprinkled, my new video series! Watch me make the recipe below:

I find it difficult to put real strawberry taste in a cake without the crutch of a false strawberry taste. My goal was to create a strawberry layer cake made entirely from real strawberries. These are strawberries inside the cake and in the icing as well. Using freeze-dried strawberries, I tackled strawberry icing. I'll come back to that later. But what about the strawberry cake? Things have always been quite dull in terms of flavour and texture.

Strawberry cake problems

Cutting strawberries and folding them into cake dough works, but then you only eat vanilla cake with pieces of strawberries.
Mashed strawberries and incorporate them into cake batter is a possibility, but the texture is never perfect. There's too much cash. Why don't you add flour to make up for that liquid? In this case, your cake is too dense. And the taste is still lacking.
Strawberry jam might work, but I'd rather start with real strawberries.
So how can we put real strawberry taste in the cake batter without adding too much liquid? WE HAVE TO REDUCE THE STRAWBERRIES. Ding ding ding! We have a winner.

strawberry cardboard

How to put real strawberry flavor in a cake

Puree fresh strawberries.
Reduce on the stove.
Allow to cool.
Stir in cake dough.
Puree 1 pound ruby red strawberries. You will need a food processor or blender for this step and again for icing.

Strawberry puree in a food processor
Take this strawberry puree and have it reduced over the heat. That's where, my friends, all the magic happens. As I said earlier, you want a lot of concentrated flavor in a small amount of liquid.

You will start with a cup of bright pink puree and reduce it to half a cup. After 30 minutes, it will be very thick and very red. Add this thick, highly concentrated strawberry flavour to your cake batter, instead of the finer strawberry puree.

strawberry puree in a glass measuring cup
The reduced strawberry puree will be incorporated into the cake dough. There is no need to pass the seeds beforehand - they disappear when the cake is baked. As the reduced strawberry puree should completely cool down, I suggest starting the day before. Just leave the strawberry puree reduced in the refrigerator overnight and prepare the cake batter the next day.

strawberry cake batter in a glass bowl

Strawberry cake dough
The cake dough starts with my white cake. This vanilla-flavoured cake proved to be the best starting point for a strawberry cake. I kept most of the recipe, but I removed some of the wet ingredients to make room for half a cup of reduced strawberries. The cake is light, elastic, fluffy and fluffy.

The reduced strawberry puree will dye the cake batter a pretty pastel pink and, if you wish, you can add a small drop of pink or red food coloring to lighten this hue. It is not necessary, of course. (I added a small drop.) Expect a velvety, slightly thick cake batter.

No artificial strawberry aroma.
Nothing that comes from a box.
Just pure strawberries.
Strawberry cake dough in round cake pans
Strawberry icing
You can taste the flavor of the fresh strawberry in the baked cake, but the flavor is REALLY enhanced when you combine it with strawberry icing. Like strawberry cake, strawberry icing has always given me a sense of defeat. The problem was the fresh strawberries. The icing was always silly because of the added humidity. And no amount of fresh strawberries could give me the strawberry taste I wanted. Instead of settling for an artificial strawberry aroma, I took something from Sally's Candy Addiction: strawberry dust! Take freeze-dried strawberries, grind them and throw them into the icing.

(Actually, I added freeze-dried strawberries to the cake batter as one of my test recipes. It was a terrible decision and an epic failure. The cake was excruciating. Texture, taste and appearance. Just... No. But freeze-dried strawberries are a YES for icing!)

Where to buy freeze-dried strawberries? They are more common than you think. I always find freeze-dried strawberries in my usual grocery store, in the dried fruit department. Wegmans, Giant, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Amazon and Target all offer them.
Instead of a thicker strawberry buttercream, I used my recipe for silky cream cheese frosting. I added freeze-dried strawberry "dust" and milk, and I got a frosting so pink that Barbie would be jealous!


  • 2 and 1/2 cups (285g) sifted cake flour (spoon and even)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 stick; 170 g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cup (350g) crystallized sugar
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75g) crème fraîche or plain yoghurt, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup reduced strawberry puree (see note)
  • optional: 1-2 drops of red or pink food colouring
  • Cream and strawberry cheese frosting
  • 1 cup (10-12 g) freeze-dried strawberries.
  • an 8-ounce block of whole cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) icing sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste


  1. Prepare the reduced strawberry puree and let it cool completely. See the note. You can prepare it a few days in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator or cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw before using in the recipe.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch cake pans.
  3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Book.
  4. Using a hand or whisked stand mixer, beat butter and sugar at high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides and roll up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, if necessary. Beat the egg whites at high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Then beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape the sides and roll up the bottom of the bowl if necessary. With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients until they are barely incorporated. With the blender always at low speed, slowly pour the milk 'just' until it is mixed. Don't mix too much. Whisk in 1/2 cup of reduced strawberry puree, making sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The dough will be slightly thick. Add food colouring, if desired. (I use 1 small drop).
  5. Pour the dough evenly into the cake pans. Bake for about 24-25 minutes or until cakes are cooked through. To check the cooking, insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. If the cake comes out clean, it is cooked. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the moulds placed on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cooled before icing and assembling.
  6. Make the icing: Using a blender or food processor, turn freeze-dried strawberries into a powderycruouscruus. You should have about 1/2 cup of crumbs. Book. In a large bowl, using a manual blender or on-foot with a pallet or whisk accessory, beat the fresh cheese for 1 minute at high speed until completely smooth and creamy. Stir in butter, beating until combined. Add the icing sugar, strawberry powder, 1 tablespoon of milk and vanilla and beat at medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Add another tablespoon of milk to lightly dilute, if desired. Taste, then add a pinch of salt if necessary. Makes about 3 cups of icing.
  7. Assemble and glaze: First, using a large serrated knife, cut a thin layer on top of the cakes to create a flat surface. Throw (or crumble on ice!). Place a layer of cake on your cake rack or serving plate. Cover the top evenly with icing. Cover with the second layer and spread the rest of the icing on top and sides. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting the cake. This allows the cake to keep its shape when cutting - it could undo slightly without time in the refrigerator.
  8. Cover the rest of the cake well and keep in the refrigerator for 5 days.

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