This post was originally published in June of 2018. I’ve updated it to include step-by-step photos but the recipe remains the same.
Did you know that Americans consume about 3 1/2 pounds of strawberries per person per year? Guys, I think I bring up that average all by myself.
Because I cannot get enough strawberries—or any berry, really. And I love that good strawberries are available pretty much all year (at least in Phoenix).
So you know I needed to give strawberries their very own cake. And trust me when I tell you that this strawberry layer cake is DELICIOUS! Also trust me when I tell you you need to make yourself one very soon.
Sweet and packing a very strawberry-y punch, you’ll fall hard for this cake at bite one. (And you’ll want to eat the strawberry cream cheese frosting with a spoon. It’s that good.)
Why you’ll love this strawberry layer cake:
- It’s super easy because it starts with a cake mix
- You don’t need a stand mixer to make it!
- It freezes really well (on the off chance you have leftovers. . .)
How to make strawberry layer cake
The cake layers are super sweet and made with fresh berries baked right in. BAKED RIGHT IN!
Start by crushing some fresh berries with a rolling pin; put them in a zip-top bag and just take out your frustrations on that fruit!
You don’t need to puree them, just mush them up a bit so they look like the pic above.
- Combine cake mix and a few other ingredients in a large bowl
- Beat to combine
- Add egg whites and vanilla and beat
- Then add the crushed berries, juices and all
- Beat until the berries are incorporated
- Divide batter between 8-inch cake pans and bake about 30 minutes
Remember that your cake layers need to cool completely before you frost them! If you try to frost them while they’re hot your frosting will melt.
How to make strawberry cream cheese frosting
Because of the strawberry layer cake’s sweetness, the frosting is a cream cheese frosting. The added tang from the cream cheese helps balance the sweet nicely.
- Puree strawberries in a food processor and transfer them to a small pan
- Cook the berries until they’ve reduced by about half, then stir in lemon juice
Because cooking berries can take away from their fresh flavor, I like to add lemon juice to brighten the flavors back up; I don’t recommend leaving it out.
Cool your puree to room temperature before proceeding with the frosting (or your frosting will melt!).
- Combine room temperature butter and cream cheese in a bowl and beat until smooth
- Beat in powdered sugar, milk, and salt
- Add the cooled puree and beat to combine
Then it’s just a matter of frosting your cooled cake layers, slicing the cake, and devouring!
How to store strawberry layer cake
Should you happen to have uneaten cake you can store it, covered, in the fridge for about 2 days. (Unlike some cakes, this one must be stored in the refrigerator because of the cream cheese in the frosting.)
If you can’t eat all the leftovers in two days, this cake freezes well.
Slice the cake, set the slices on a baking sheet, then pop the baking sheet in the freezer for about half an hour to set the frosting. Once the frosting has hardened, tightly wrap each slice individually with a few layers of plastic wrap and/or freezer paper. You can store it this way for a couple of months.
Can I use frozen strawberries in this cake?
Unfortunately no—I don’t recommend using frozen berries in the cake layers. You can use frozen berries in the frosting though. Obviously frozen berries will take a little longer to reduce so keep that in mind.
You really can’t go wrong with a fresh strawberry layer cake can you? Let’s all make one this weekend and bring that 3 1/2-pound average up to 4!
If you make this strawberry layer cake be sure to let me know what you think by leaving a comment and rating below. And post a pic on Insta too—tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see your beautiful creations!
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries
- 1 15.25-ounce box white cake mix*
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 3-ounce box strawberry gelatin
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment, spray the parchment, and set pans aside.
- Place berries in a large zip-top plastic bag and use a rolling pin to mash them. Set aside.
- Combine the cake mix, vegetable oil, milk, and gelatin in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the egg whites 1 at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Beat in the strawberries and their juices until combined.
- Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Set pans on a wire rack to cool completely before filling and frosting.
- Puree the berries in a blender or food processor. Pour into a small saucepan and add the lemon juice. Place pan over medium heat and bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Turn heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until puree reduces by about half (8 to 10 minutes). You'll have about 1/3 cup of puree. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Once puree is cool, place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (You can also use a hand mixer and a large mixing bowl.)
Beat until very smooth, then add 4 cups powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and salt and mix to combine. Beat in the puree until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then turn mixer to medium and beat until very smooth. Add additional powdered sugar if frosting is too thin and additional milk if frosting is too thick.
Set one cooled cake layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake circle. Spread or pipe a layer of frosting on top. Top with a second cake layer, then frost and decorate the cake as desired. Slice and serve.
- Be sure to let your strawberry puree cool to room temperature before using it in the frosting. If you use it while it's still hot your frosting will melt.
- Uneaten cake can be stored, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 days or in the freezer (tightly wrapped) for up to 2 months.
Adapted from Big Taste of Little Rock