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Homemade Strawberry Cake

Fresh strawberries are one of the best things about summer. I’ve always loved them – eating them fresh or baked into a cake. I love a good strawberry cake mix, but this cake isn’t that. This one is all about the real, fresh strawberry flavor. It can be a challenge to get enough fresh strawberry flavor to flavor a whole cake, but it’s worth it. It took a few renditions to get it right, but this glorious dessert was the final result, and my oh my was it worth it.

Three layers of moist, perfectly tender cake are loaded with strawberry flavor from a strawberry reduction made from fresh strawberries. The layers are filled and frosted with a rich cream cheese frosting that derives its flavor (and it’s lovely pink color) from powdered freeze-dried strawberries. The result is an absolutely delicious, beautiful, festive summertime cake that will have you and your guests coming back for seconds.


This Homemade Strawberry Cake is full of sweet, fresh strawberry flavor! Moist strawberry cake layers are paired with a strawberry cream cheese frosting for the ultimate strawberry cake! The texture isn’t light and fluffy, but instead tender with a tight crumb. You might even find it a little dense, but not too heavy.


Strawberry cake

3 cups (400g) of quartered strawberries*

3/4 cup (173g) sour cream

1/4 cup (60ml) milk

4 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour (measured properly)

1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temperature

7–9 drops pink food color, optional

Strawberry cream cheese frosting

2 cups (46g) freeze dried strawberries*

16 oz (452g) cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup (172g) unsalted butter, room temperature

10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup chopped strawberries


To make the cakes

To make the strawberry reduction, add the strawberries to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of puree.

Add the puree to a medium sized saucepan and cook over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a slow boil, stirring consistently to keep it from burning, until it has thickened and reduced to 3/4 cup, about 20-25 minutes. To measure, pour the puree into a measuring cup. If it’s more than 3/4 cup, add it back to the pan and continue cooking.

When the puree has thickened and reduced, pour into a large measuring cup and allow to cool to at least room temperature. This strawberry mixture can be made ahead, if you like, and stored in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper in the bottom and baking spray on the sides.

Combine the strawberry reduction, sour cream, milk, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl, then separate about 1 cup of the mixture into another bowl or measuring cup. About 1 1/2 cups should remain in the other bowl. Set both aside.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the butter about a tablespoon at a time, allowing it to incorporate before adding the next tablespoon. As you add more butter, the mixture will start to clump together a bit a should end up resembling wet sand.

Add the larger of the reserved egg mixture (about 1 1/2 cups) to the dry ingredients/butter mixture. Stir on the lowest speed until it’s incorporated, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Increase the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds to one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the remaining egg mixture in a slow stream until incorporated.

Scrape the sides of the bowl, then turn speed back up to medium high and mix until well combined, about 10-15 seconds.

Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans and bake 24-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs.

Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

For the frosting

To make the frosting, add the freeze-dried strawberries to a food processor and grind into a powder. It should give you a little more than half a cup of strawberry powder.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.

Slowly add half of the powdered sugar and the vanilla extract and mix until smooth.

Slowly add remaining powdered sugar and strawberry powder and mix until smooth. Add some salt, to taste. Set aside.

To put the cake together, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat. Refer to my tutorial, if needed. Place the first cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round.

Add about 1 cup of frosting to the top of the cake layer and spread evenly. Add about half of the chopped strawberries and press into the frosting.

Add the second layer of cake, another cup of frosting and the remaining chopped strawberries.

Top the cake with the remaining layer and frost the cake with the remaining frosting. Refer to my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake, if needed.

Pipe the shell border around the top and bottom of the cake. I used a large closed star tip for the top – Ateco 847. For the border around the bottom of the cake, I used Wilton tip 22.

Add a few strawberries on top for decoration and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cake is best when stored well covered and eaten within 3-4 days.


NOTE: I used a full pound of strawberries for the puree for the cake layers and additional strawberries for between the cake layers. Your strawberries MUST have great flavor in order for your cake to have any flavor. If your strawberries are lacking, your cake will be too.

If you’d prefer not to use freeze dried strawberries, you can use fresh strawberries. Just check out my Homemade Strawberry Frosting.