Fresh Strawberry Cake

I have something to celebrate with you today! Fresh Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s made exclusively from real strawberries (no mixes, gelatin, or artificial food coloring required) and is one of my most treasured dessert recipes.

100% from scratch Fresh Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting. Homemade without Jello or cake mix.

To date, I’ve used this same Fresh Strawberry Cake recipe to make a big sheet cake for my sister’s bachelorette party (we cut it into hearts and, um, other shapes), a triple layer cake for my little niece’s first birthday party, and now today I’m sharing it honor of another special occasion: my wedding anniversary!

Ben and my wedding cake was strawberry, so every year, I bake a different strawberry dessert to celebrate. (See: Strawberry Oatmeal Bars, Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes with Whipped Strawberry Frosting, Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, and Strawberry Almond Skillet Cake).

Today’s Fresh Strawberry Cake was the original recipe I made our very first anniversary, and now today, seven (!) years later, I’m revisiting it to refresh the photos and add helpful cake baking tips I’ve learned along the way.

I’m also revisiting this Fresh Strawberry Cake because it is sublime. Every time I eat it, I can’t help but close my eyes, take a moment to appreciate its idyllic fluffy, buttery texture and pure strawberry flavor, and think to myself, this is love.

Fresh Strawberry Cake. Made with real strawberries and with an amazing cream cheese frosting.

A Fresh Strawberry Cake Fit for Heaven

In fact, if you told me that in heaven instead of growing fruit, the strawberry bushes sprout Fresh Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting, I would believe you. It is divine.

For as much as I love dessert—and thus imagine it in my personal renditions of heaven—I am excruciatingly picky about cake, perhaps more so than any other.

To be truly fantastic, a cake needs to be:

  • Moist. Yes, I am using the “m” word. Nothing disappoints quite like a dry cake.
  • The Right Kind of Sturdy. While I want my cake to be tender, it also needs to hold up to to my fork. My ideal cake is a little bit substantial, but still light and airy enough to melt on your tongue.
  • Frosted. Cream cheese frosted, specifically. For this strawberry cake, I made an easy fresh strawberry cream cheese frosting. It will take all of your willpower not to sit on your counter with the bowl on your lap and quietly eat it all with a spoon. (Do this for a few bites though; you’ll be glad.)
  • From Scratch. If I am going to eat cake, I want it to be the real deal. It’s why I made this Fresh Strawberry Cake with only fresh berries, no food coloring (were you expecting a hot pink crumb? You’ll have to add gelatin or use an artificially colored mix), and ditched the box.
  • As Low Maintenance as Possible. Let’s be honest; cake is kind of a pain. The effort that goes into a from-scratch cake like this one is part of what makes it special. AT THE SAME TIME, I never ever want to make a recipe more difficult than it needs to be, including homemade strawberry cake.

This from-scratch strawberry cake includes only the steps that are absolutely necessary to get you delicious results that will make you proud of your own baking prowess (like alternating between adding the dry and wet ingredients) and skips the ones that aren’t (no egg-white whipping, thank goodness).

Fresh Strawberry Cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting. This is a from-scratch cake with a delicious natural strawberry flavor!

My Tips to Bake the Best Fresh Strawberry Cake

A few simple steps make this strawberry cake taste like it came from a bakery.

  • Use Fresh OR Frozen Strawberries. Both yield great results, so pick whichever option gives you the best-quality berry. In the spring and summer, I go for fresh since they are in season. In the winter, I find I get better (and less expensive) results using frozen berries. If using frozen, thaw the berries completely first.
  • Measure Your Strawberry Puree. I’ve suggested an approximate amount of whole berries you’ll need to yield the strawberry puree called for in this recipe, but be sure to double check before adding it to the batter.
  • Don’t Skip the Egg Whites. This recipe calls for one whole egg and two egg whites. The egg whites help the cake rise and make it light and fluffy, while the yolk from the whole egg adds richness.
  • Alternate the Dry and Wet Ingredients. Critical to ensuring the best-ever texture.
  • Don’t Overbeat the Batter. As soon as the batter disappears, the cake is ready to bake.

Bake This Recipe as a Strawberry Layer Cake (or a Sheet Cake or Cupcakes!)

As written, this recipe will yield a single 9-inch round layer or a 2-layer mini 6-inch cake. Because the cake is rich and buttery (and because I don’t always feel like fussing with cake layers), I bake it as a single layer most often.

That said, if you’d like to bake a fresh strawberry layer cake (or even strawberry cupcakes or a strawberry sheet cake) you can absolutely use this recipe! Here’s how:

  • To Make a 2-Layer Strawberry Cake: Double the cake and frosting recipe.
  • To Make a Mini 2-Layer Cake (6 inches): Bake as directed, dividing the batter between two 6-inch cake pans like these. Increase the frosting recipe by 1.5 (or double it if you like a large amount of frosting).
  • To Make a 3-Layer Strawberry Cake: Triple the cake recipe; increase the frosting recipe by 2.5 (or triple it if you like a large amount of frosting and want to be sure to have enough).
  • To Make a 9×13-inch Strawberry Sheet Cake: Double the cake recipe (if you have a little extra batter, you can bake it as cupcakes); increase the frosting by 1.5 times (for a thinner layer) or double it (for a thicker layer).
  • To Make 12 Cupcakes: No change to the cake batter. Bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees F for 22 to 25 minutes. Double the frosting.

Fresh Strawberry Cake with cream cheese frosting. So delicious and perfect for special occasions!

For an Extra Special Fresh Strawberry Filling

This cream cheese frosting is made with fresh strawberries, so you’ll achieve a fresh strawberry filling by making the recipe as directed.

  • That said, you can also make this a strawberry cake with fresh strawberries in the middle (be sure you are following one of the layer cake options above).
  • Slice the strawberries thinly and pat them dry. Place the first cake layer on your plate and spread frosting over the top. Arrange the berries in a single layer on top of the frosting, then add the next cake layer. Continue frosting/layering as you please.
  • Sliced fresh strawberries will last in a cake for three days in the refrigerator. They will soften and make bits of the cake moist, but it will still be delicious.

Without the sliced fresh strawberries added, this strawberry cake will last in the refrigerator for five days.

Though if you manage to keep it around that long, call me. I’d be eager to assist!

Fresh Strawberry Cake. Made with fresh strawberries (no box mix!) with a delicious strawberry cream cheese frosting.

This Fresh Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is so special to me. Whatever occasion you find to make it—an anniversary, a birthday, an impromptu I’m in the mood for cake right now, so why not?—I know it will bring a bite of bliss to your kitchen too!

Fresh Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 1 9-inch round*
Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Fresh Strawberry Cake from scratch! 100% homemade without gelatin. Bake it as a layer cake with fresh strawberry filling, as cupcakes or as a sheet cake.

Ingredients

For the strawberry cake:

  • 1 cup whole strawberries — divided (fresh, or frozen and thawed), plus additional for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk — at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter — at room temperature (1 stick)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites — at room temperature
  • 1 large egg — at room temperature

For the strawberry cream cheese frosting:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter — at room temperature
  • 3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese — at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar — plus additional if you prefer a sweeter or stiffer frosting
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry puree — reserved from cake recipe
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, then lightly coat with nonstick spray. Set aside.

  2. Place the strawberries in a food processor or blender and pulse until pureed. Set 1 tablespoon aside for the frosting, then measure out an additional 1/3 cup for the cake. If you are a little short of 1/3 cup, blend in a few more strawberries as needed.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla, and 1/3 cup strawberry puree. Set aside.

  4. In the bowl of an stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl), cream the butter on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy. Slowly add the granulated sugar and continue to beat until fluffy and well combined. Stop the mixer and add the egg whites. Beat on medium, just until incorporated. Add the whole egg and mix again, just until combined.

  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture and mix just until the flour disappears. Add in all of the strawberry mixture and mix just until combined. Slowly add the remaining flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Stop mixing as soon as the flour disappears. If you have a bit of flour stuck to the bottom or sides of the bowl, finish stirring it in by hand.

  6. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and the top springs back lightly when touched, about 30 to 35 minutes. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let the cake cool in the pan completely. Do not be tempted to frost the cake before it is cool, or the frosting will turn into a big melty mess.

  7. While the cake cools, prepare the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the cream cheese, stopping as soon as the two are fully combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then gradually add the powdered sugar. Once it all has been added, increase the mixer speed to medium and continue beating until the frosting is smooth. Don’t overbeat it—once it looks nice and creamy and evenly blended, it’s time to stop. Beat in the strawberry puree, salt, and vanilla until evenly combined. If you'd like the frosting stiffer or sweeter, gradually beat in additional powdered sugar until your desired stiffness/sweetness is reached.

  8. To serve: Transfer the cake from the pan to a serving plate. Tuck strips of waxed or parchment paper underneath the bottom of the cake to keep the plate clean. Spread the frosting generously all over the top of the cake, then down and around the sides. Garnish with fresh berries as desired. Remove the strips of paper and refrigerate until ready to serve. Prior to serving, let the cake stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

Recipe Notes

  • Cake layer can be baked 1 day in advance—cool completely then wrap airtight and store at room temperature.
  • Frosting can be prepared 1 day in advance—place in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Fully frosted or unfrosted cake can be frozen for up to 2 months—let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature prior to serving.
  • *To make a 2-layer cake, 3-layer cake, sheet cake, or cupcakes, see notes in the blog post above.
  • Recipe adapted from Sprinkles Bake Shop, via Martha Stewart
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cream Cheese Frosting, Fresh Strawberry Cake, Fresh Strawberry Filling, Strawberry Layer Cake

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 slice, of 10) — Calories: 368, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 55mg, Carbohydrates: 56g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 41g, Protein: 4g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

And for posterity, a look back! The first photos of my Fresh Strawberry Cake…and of a certain couple too.

My original Fresh Strawberry Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, as inspired by our wedding cake.

Sprinkles-Strawberry-Cake-Recipe

The original bride and groom, with crafts as inspired by Pinterest:
Just-Married-Sign-The-Law-Students-Wife

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

68 comments

  1. Awww, so sweet! I loved reading this!
    We didn’t save the top tier of our wedding cake either. Our bakery told us that if come in on our 1-year anniversary, she’ll give us a fresh top tier for celebrating. Neat, huh?

    • GENIUS! Sounds like you get the best of both worlds Christina. Thinking about this makes me want to go cake tasting all over again…

  2. I’ve been wanting to make a strawberry cake and this one looks delicious. Happy Anniversary!

    • Thanks Megan! Mass strawberry-themed baking is a must for spring…and summer…and OK maybe fall too. If you try this one, you gotta let me know what you think!

  3. Happy anniversary! What a sweet post, and your marriage points are so.true!!! We didn’t save a tier either, but I wish we had celebrated with this cake – yum!

  4. Happy Happy Anniversary to you guys! This cake looks heavenly!

  5. Making this ASAP! Haven’t ever really been a cake person….but am making an exception. Will be dreaming of it tonight!

  6. I love that you had a Strawberry wedding cake!!! And I agree, a cake frozen for a year is probably not as good, so I think you did it just right. Besides, now he got this awesome, fresh, beautiful cake in place!
    Congratulations you two!!

    • Thanks a million Kim! I still can’t believe it’s been a year. I keep hoping things will slow down, but somehow I think I’ll be making this strawberry cake again before I know it!

  7. I’m not married yet, but I can see the same thing happening with me and my best friends! No cake is safe! LOL

    Strawberry cake has been on my kitchen bucket list for a while now, and I love how your recipe is already halved. Thanks for sharing, and happy anniversary!!! :)

  8. I have never understand the point of freezing the top tier of your wedding cake. Nothing ever taste as good as fresh does. This cake looks so fluffy and packed with strawberry flavor. Since you loosely based it off Sprinkles Cupcakes strawberry cupcake, I know its good!

    By the way, you and your husband are adorable!

    • Glad you can understand where I am coming from Nicole! Plus, I’ll take any excuse for a fresh-baked slice of cake ESPECIALLY Sprinkles.
      Also, thanks for your nice words on our wedding pics. If only I had a pro to style my hair and make up every day of the week!

  9. The freezing-the-cake thing never made sense to me. It would be all gross after, wouldn’t it? This cake is a far better idea.

  10. Happy anniversary, Erin! One year of fun, another year of excitement! Your pics are so cute and lovely, I just can’t stop laughing, lol. And your cake looks so moist and awesome. Delish!

  11. Happy Anniversary! Love the photo’s and this recipe just sounds amazing!

  12. Happy anniversary! Your wedding photos are so cute!

  13. Happy anniversary. And the cake looks delicious.

  14. Happy Anniversary my friend! The wedding photos (and this cake!!!) are beautiful. :) And things I’ve learned from living with my fiance? Yes, they eat A LOT!

  15. Happy anniversary! Love the ‘things you’ve learned’ so true! We devoured our top tier within days of our wedding. And the dishwasher bit couldn’t be more accurate ;)

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  17. Happy 1 year! I am going on 13 years and can relate to the things you said!

    You were a gorgeous bride. And nice arms. Welcome to your gun show :)

    And this cake. Hubba hubba. Pinning, ziplisting, loving it!

    • Oh how this comment made me laugh Averie! Comforting to hear that not EVERYTHING in a marriage changes overtime, haha. Glad you like the look of the cake too! Have a wonderful weekend :)

  18. omg erin, i just made this (at midnight, in my college apartment) and it is unbelievable. forget anniversaries, this is going to be my everything cake. birthdays, brunches, valentines day, just because… thanks for a fab recipe!

    • Emma, I am so happy that you love this cake!!!! Thanks so much for taking time to share your review. It always makes my day to hear from readers who enjoy my recipes. And I agree–no anniversary needed to bake it!
      Also, I think midnight sounds perfect–that way you have a freshly baked midnight snack.

  19. I’m really late but happy anniversary! And what a pretty bride you were. :)

    I love that you didn’t use a cake mix or jell-o in the cake part of this. Just because I don’t have access to either!

  20. Aw yay! Happy Anniversary Erin my dear! This is my first visit to your blog but I can already tell that we’re going to be ‘old friends’, haha… my husband and I celebrated our first anniversary in November last year. Getting married was the best decision of my life, ever! The top tier of our cake is still in my in-law’s chest freezer… it’s raspberry, Grand Marnier and white chocolate cake with royal icing so I hope that the icing possibly provided some protection (I would be devastated if it’s been ruined by freezer burn). Thanks for sharing this gorgeous recipe with us. And may you and your husband enjoy many more decades to come! xx

    • Laura, I’m so happy you found my blog–WELCOME!! And congrats on your recent wedding too. Fingers crossed for your cake. It sounds absolutely amazing. I love unusually flavored cakes (and I’m impressed you could even resist finishing it right then, haha. Credit to your self control.) Thanks for your kind comment and hope to connect with you again soon!

  21. You two are adorable :) We saved ours, it was gross! It was a tradition thing. My advice to you both…NEVER stop communicating!!!

    • Good for your for sticking with tradition! Our cake was so close I could’t resist diving in early, lol. Sounds like great advice too. Thanks Lisa!

  22. Happy belated Anniversary!

    “An unloaded dishwasher says ‘I love you'” … So freaking true it’s not even funny!

    We saved our cake. It was something that I had no idea we were supposed to do, but my mother (who also made our wedding cake) was prepared and wrapped the cake in about 4 different layers from aluminum foil to zip lock bags. I’m sure if she had giant banana leaves she probably would’ve used those too. The cake was still great but I’m sure if it wasn’t protected it probably would’ve met a freezer burnt death.

    If I were Ben, I would’ve questioned our marriage if you ate that cake without me! But this one sure makes up for it. Whole strawberries and cheesecake frosting sound like a perfect combination for a cake! I can’t wait to have strawberries that need to be used!

    Here’s to many, many more years of you two sharing this cake!

    • Many, many thanks for the well-wishes! So cool that your mom made your cake, and it sounds like she knew what she was doing to save it too. I’ll have to try 4-layer foil approach (and maybe banana leaves) next time ;-)

  23. this looks so yummy! is the frosting pipe-able? like for cupcakes?
    thanks

    • Hi Liliana! If you chill the frosting well, you could do some basic piping, but for a more intricate design where you really want the shape to hold, I’d recommend a more traditional buttercream. This frosting is super tasty, but it’s not the sturdiest. Hope that helps!

  24. I think that is hilarious that you and your girlfriends at the top tier of your cake!! And I think you’re onto something with this. Why let it get freezer burnt when you can have a fresh one?!

  25. Such an awesome beautiful post! And that cake is amazing! 

  26. This cake is the definition of true love.

  27. Want to know if you make the 9 x 13 cake how log do I bake it.?

    • Hi Mary! The bake time will be fairly similar to the 9-inch cake; you might need to add a few minutes, but just keep an eye on it and adjust accordingly. I hope you love the recipe!

  28. I was searching for a strawberry cake without a cake mix or jello and I was so glad to find your recipe. It turned out beautifully and was so delicious!!! Thank you!!!

  29. A very beautiful yet simple cake! I love how you made the cream cheese frosting! (:

  30. This is the best birthday cake! Making this for my mom’s birthday this weekend!

  31. The cheesecake frosting is killer! Can’t get enough of it.

  32. The best cake for the spring. All the kids in our family loved it.

  33. This sounds so yummy! Have you tried tasting it without the frosting? My husband isn’t a fan of frosting but he LOVES strawberries!

    • Hi Kim! Yes, I think it is still good without! You could also do frosting on the side. I like this frosting because it is much less sweet. (A simple vanilla glaze made with powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract would be nice too!)

  34. Would the cake not rise if i used whole eggs instead in place of egg whites?

    • Hi Georgiann, I would not recommend this. The egg whites bind the cake and add protein but not fat; egg yolks contain fat which would make the cake heavier. I hope you enjoy it if you give it a try!

  35. I only buy fat free ( skim) milk. Should I add something to make up difference between that and the whole milk?

    • Hi Barb! You could make you own blend using half skim milk and half a higher fat dairy product, such as heavy whipping cream or half-and-half. You could also just use skim, but the cake won’t be quite as rich. I hope you enjoy!

  36. I love strawberries and this cake looks delicious!
    so I made this cake today and it was a hit!
    Thank you!! I love how you made the cream cheese frosting!

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