Fresh Strawberry Cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting is here to give us a reason to celebrate each and every day. It’s made exclusively from real strawberries (no mixes, gelatin, or artificial food coloring required) and is one of my most treasured dessert recipes.

Fresh strawberry cake recipe from scratch served on a plate with fresh strawberries

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To date, I’ve used this same strawberry cake recipe to make cakes for all kinds of special life events, ranging from bachelorette parties to my niece’s birthday party to my own wedding anniversary.

It’s also an ideal recipe to make on any given day when you feel like celebrating life.

Homemade cake has a way of turning even the most routine evening into a joyful mini-event. (There’s cake? It might not have felt like a party before, but it sure does now!)

Instead of making a strawberry cake recipe using cake mix, this homemade strawberry cake is fresh and moist, and its flavor and color come entirely from real strawberries.

I adore this cake.

It is sublime, and 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.

A beautiful and simple cake served on a plate with fresh fruit

The Very Best Strawberry Cake Recipe

For as much as I love dessert, I am excruciatingly picky about cake, more so than any other type of dessert.

To be truly fantastic, a cake must 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 my fork. My ideal cake has some substance, but it is still light and airy enough to melt on your tongue.
  • Frosted. Cream cheese frosted, specifically. For this old fashioned strawberry cake recipe, 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, quickly eat it all with a spoon. (Do sneak 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 (no strawberry cake recipe with jello). It’s why I made this strawberry cake recipe from scratch with only fresh strawberries, 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. You can add fresh fruit to box cake mix, but it won’t be the same.
  • As Low Maintenance as Possible. Let’s be honest; cake is kind of a pain and everyone knows it. The effort that goes into a from-scratch cake like this one is part of what makes it special and why whoever is lucky enough to have a slice will appreciate you for making it. AT THE SAME TIME, I never ever want to make a recipe more difficult than it needs to be, including homemade strawberry cake. This recipe does take some time, but it is highly doable.

Also a cake lover? Check out all my cake recipes here.

A slice of cake served on a plate with fresh strawberries

5 Star Review

“Wow! Such an easy-to-put-together cake, trust me put down the boxes cake mix and just make this! So worth it. The fresh strawberries added into the icing is absolutely perfection.”

— Carissa —

How to Make Strawberry Cake

Part of what makes this strawberry cake special are the simple ingredients and ideal texture.

Each ingredient plays an important role.

This from-scratch strawberry cake includes only the steps that are absolutely necessary to yield the 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 separate egg-white whipping, thank goodness).

Strawberry Cake Secrets

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

  • Use the Best Berries. Both fresh and frozen strawberries yield great results, so pick whichever option gives you the best-quality strawberries. In the spring and summer, I go for fresh strawberries 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 strawberries 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. How do you make a fluffy cake? 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 (this Lemon Cake uses the same trick).
  • Alternate the Dry and Wet Ingredients. Critical to ensuring the best-ever texture.
  • Don’t Overbeat the Batter. As soon as the flour disappears, the cake is ready to bake.

The Ingredients

  • Strawberries. The shining star of this homemade cake recipe. Strawberries make the cake moist, flavorful, and give it a beautiful pink color.

Substitution Tip

You can use fresh strawberries or frozen and thawed strawberries. I’ve also made this recipe with raspberries with excellent results.

  • Flour + Whole Milk. All-purpose flour helps give the cake structure and milk provides moisture. As I mentioned above, this cake has the perfect sturdy yet soft texture. Use whole milk for the best results. Even if you don’t buy it regularly, go ahead and spring for a small carton. I promise it is worth it.
  • Vanilla Extract. Vanilla strawberry cake = heaven.
  • Butter. To give the cake the body and texture it needs. Also, FLAVOR. Butter is delicious and makes this strawberry cake recipe tasty.
  • Sugar. For both sweetness and for texture. I do not recommend any substitutions for the sugar.
  • Egg + Egg Whites. For volume and a tender crumb.
  • Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting. To create the ultimate strawberry cream cheese frosting, I combined butter, reduced-fat cream cheese, powdered sugar, more fresh strawberry puree, salt, and vanilla extract.

How Do You Thicken Cream Cheese Frosting?

If you like your cream cheese frosting to be extra thick, gradually beat in additional powdered sugar until your desired stiffness and sweetness is reached.

The Directions

  1. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray.
Strawberries in a food processor
  1. Puree the strawberries. Set aside a portion for the cake and for the strawberry cream cheese frosting.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients.
A hand mixer in batter
  1. In a stand mixer, cream the butter until fluffy, then add the sugar and cream again. Stop the mixer and add the egg whites, then beat until incorporated. Add the whole egg, mixing until combined.
  2. Time to alternate! Slowly add half of the dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients, then the remaining dry ingredients. Stop mixing as soon as the flour disappears.
Cake batter in a pan
  1. Pour the batter into the cake pan, smoothing the top. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 to 35 minutes. Let it cool completely.
Pink frosting in a bowl
  1. Prepare the frosting: Using a stand mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and strawberry puree, then slowly beat in the powdered sugar. Increase the speed, and beat until smooth. Don’t overbeat it!
Frosting being added to a cake
  1. To frost: Place the cake on a serving plate. Spread the frosting generously all over the cake, and garnish with fresh strawberries.
  2. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. When you want to serve it, let it sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes (you can taste flavors more fully if the cake isn’t ice cold). ENJOY!
Fresh strawberry cake recipe from scratch with tasty frosting

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.
A pink and moist dessert served on plate with fresh fruit

Storage Tips

  • To Store. You do need to refrigerate a cake with cream cheese frosting. Without the optional sliced fresh strawberries added, this cake will last in the refrigerator for five days. Sliced fresh strawberries will last in a cake for three days in the refrigerator.
  • To Freeze. Fully frosted or unfrosted cake can be frozen for up to 2 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature prior to serving.

Meal Prep Tip

The 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.

What to Serve with Strawberry Cake

Fresh strawberry cake recipe from scratch served on a plate with fresh strawberries

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

The Best Cake Pans

With a nonstick, easy-release coating, these cake pans make cleanup a breeze. You’ll love using these for any of your favorite cake recipes!

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

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

This fresh strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting is incredibly 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!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make a Fresh Strawberry Filling?

Yes, you can also make this a strawberry layer cake with fresh strawberries in the middle (be sure you are following one of the multi-layer cake options above). Start by slicing the strawberries thinly and patting 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.

How Do You Keep Strawberry Cakes from Getting Soggy?

This is only a concern if you use fresh strawberry slices to fill or garnish the cake. Strawberry slices soften, release moisture, and make the cake around them moist. The safest way to keep strawberry cakes from getting soggy is to keep your fresh strawberry slices separate from the cake. Add the strawberries on top right before serving, or garnish individual pieces of cake with fresh strawberries instead of adding the berries to the layers.

What is the Difference Between Strawberry Cake and Strawberry Shortcake?

Strawberry shortcake is typically served with a biscuit-like base, whipped cream, and strawberries. It’s crumbly, and the layers are all prepared separately. A true strawberry cake is moist, fluffy, and combines all the ingredients into the cake itself. (Here is my favorite shortcake recipe.)

What Can I Do with Leftover Cream Cheese Frosting?

If you have extra frosting (lucky you!), you can use it as a dip for fruit or pretzels. It would also be delicious spread on top of cookies or One Bowl Brownies.

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

Strawberry Cake

4.66 from 44 votes
Heavenly fresh strawberry cake from scratch with cream cheese frosting. Bake it as a layer cake with filling, sheet cake, or cupcakes.

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 1 hr 30 mins

Servings: 1 9-inch round*

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
 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the bowl of a 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Notes

  • TO MAKE AHEAD: 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.
  • TO FREEZE: 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

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice, of 10Calories: 368kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 4gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 55mgFiber: 1gSugar: 41g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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211 Comments

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  1. The cake wasn’t strawberry at all except for the seeds in it. It was definitely dense and bread like! The frosting was amazing! I even tried to make some extra purée and put it between the Three layers (it didn’t work) I followed the directions to a T. I was left very disappointed in the cake for my daughters 21st birthday. The frosting is a keeper, but next time I’ll just make my regular white cake recipe with it.1 star

    1. Hi Victoria, I’m so sorry to hear the cake didn’t come out for you. It’s hard to know what may have gone wrong without being in the kitchen with you. I (and many other readers) have loved this recipe, so I really wish you would’ve enjoyed it too!

  2. This cake is the perfect amount of strawberry, cream, sugar, and sweetness! Follow the directions and you will be golden. I took the tips to make the cake 2 tiered (just double everything) and added fresh strawberries to the frosting layer between the two cakes. Highly recommend! Tastes like my very expensive wedding cake!5 stars

  3. This cake is AMAZING INCREDIBLE DELICIOUS ADDICTING AND SOOOOO SPECIAL!!!! Go make it now!!!! I literally couldn’t stop eating it. I’m not even a huge strawberry cake person but I had a hankering for it when I saw the recipe and now it’s my new favorite cake. I made it GF using Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 flour and it turned out great. Possibly slightly more dense than with normal flour but that’s typical of GF. Was still soft and fluffy with a great crumb! If you’re on the fence go make this cake NOW. And try to stop yourself eating the whole thing in one sitting ???5 stars

        1. Hi Maricela! I’ve only tested the recipe as written, so I wouldn’t be able to advise how this would work in 2- 8 inch square pans. I do have numerous suggestions about sizes and layers of cake in the blog post. Hope you enjoy it!

  4. Wow!
    Such an easy to put together cake, trust me put down the boxes cake mix and just make this! So worth it. The fresh strawberries added into the icing is absolutely perfection. I just wanted to eat it by the spoonful, but I controlled myself. Haha will make again I’m sure.5 stars

    1. I’m so happy that you’ve enjoyed the cake, Melissa! Thank you for sharing this kind review!

  5. Cake came out as described, it was very dense (which is not my favorite), however, I served it with coffee to offset the thickness. Strawberry flavor more pronounced in the icing and not the cake. But it was winner. I will make again for a baby shower or wedding shower.5 stars

  6. I have made this cake twice in the last month for family birthdays. It’s absolutely delicious! I look forward to trying more of your recipes.5 stars

    1. Hi Claire! Typically cream cheese frosting can be made up to three days in advance. You may also have to rewhip it to fluff it back up. Hope this helps.

    1. Hi Juan! If you own a stand up mixer I suggest using the paddle. But a lot of people do not, so you can definitely use a hand mixer as well. Hope this helps!

  7. Made this for a birthday cake for my father in law. The cake part was very chewy and dense, My husband called it a biscuit cake. It did not have much strawberry flavor and I added extra purée (and there was still some left over). The icing was very sweet but good. Everyone ate it but all agreed it was “different”. I followed directions exactly with all fresh ingredients and it wasn’t terrible but I won’t make it again.2 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, Becky. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

  8. Taste really great but the cakes would never rise. I made the cakes twice just to make sure and on the second time I whipped the butter and sugar extra long to try to create more air. Each cake came out less than an inch tall.3 stars

    1. I’m sorry you had trouble with this recipe, Emily. Unfortunately, it’s so hard to say what might’ve gone wrong without being in the kitchen with you. I hoped it would of been a success for you.

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, Francie. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

        1. Hi Francie! Not exactly. Step 4 in the recipe card specifically tells you what to do with the eggs. Hope you enjoy the cake!

  9. I do not understand how much of the puree goes into the cake? Is it 1 cup or 1/3 cup? Could you clarify? Thank you.

    1. I agree this was very confusing. I ended up guessing and using 1 c. I assumed in trippling i would use a full.3 stars

      1. Hi Kenalyn, I’m sorry it was confusing for you but it is stated in Step 1. Did your cake not turn out?

  10. Just made this for my 4 year olds birthday. It turned out really well. I made a double recipe and made two cakes. I cut each cake in half and put icing in the middle of each cake. I had to make a 2.5x icing recipe to cover the cakes and have the middle layer. We loved it! We used 250g of frozen strawberries and had a lot of puree left over.4 stars

  11. I made this strawberry cake for an Easter gathering. It was amazing! Moist and delicious! I could have eaten the frosting with a spoon! This cake will definitely be on repeat at our house!!5 stars

  12. My fiance and I are going to make this cake for our wedding, but want to use a bundt pan instead. Is there anything that you think we should do differently from the recipe as written here?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Joseph! I’ve only tested the recipe as written so it would be hard to say how it would come out in a bundt pan. I’m positive you would have to adjust the time on baking. I would recommend spending some time experimenting with it before the big day! Hope you enjoy it!

  13. Erin,
    Have you tried using this recipe for cupcakes? Any thoughts on that? Thanks for the time taken for your reply. …xox…

    1. Hi Diane, I have lots of notes in the blog post that talks about how to adapt this using all kind of pans, including making cupcakes. Hope this helps!

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