Strawberry Cake

Strawberry Cake – Tender strawberry cake layers with fresh strawberries and cream cheese frosting.

Inspiration

A couple years ago, I was in Dallas for my consulting job and had some time to grab lunch with my older brother. I travel to Dallas quite a bit for work and Chris always takes me to the yummiest restaurants (Porch, Smoke, Savor… to name a few). We usually don’t get a lot of time together, so we often skip dessert (insert sad face emoji here). This time around, however, we had just enough time to make a stop at the Cake Bar.

Of course, I wanted to order a slice of everything, but narrowed it down to two flavors: chocolate and strawberry (a customer favorite, I was told). I’m typically a chocolate lover, but this time (to my surprise) I was blown away by the strawberry cake. It was perfection; so flavorful and moist. I just couldn’t stop shoveling it into my mouth. I knew immediately that I had to recreate this cake when I got home.

Strawberry Cake

As soon as I got returned from my trip, I started looking at strawberry cake recipes. Based on my research, I knew I wanted to use flavored gelatin because it would give the cake an added punch of strawberry flavor that strawberry puree on its own didn’t seem to achieve in most recipes. The Cake Bar cake had such a great strawberry flavor. I’m convinced they used the flavored gelatin too. I’d love to find out someday!

The cake turned out super moist and fluffy, not dense like so many other strawberry cakes do. The sifted cake flour also helps to create a light cake.

So, as far as the cake goes, I’m giving it two thumbs up. I’m super happy with how it turned out and will be putting it in my arsenal of cake recipes.

Filling

When I originally made this strawberry cake, I paired it with a strawberry puree filling. I’ve since changed the filling and now fill the cake with more cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries. It helps to make the cake a little less sweet actually.

Frosting

I used to not love cream cheese frosting until I learned to make my own. This one is SO good! It’s my go-to cream cheese frosting. I’ve used it in so many cakes (you can see the list HERE). I use less cream cheese than most people do, I think. Just enough to give it a tart flavor, but not too much where the flavor steals the show.

I hope you love this cake as much as I do. And if you’ve ever had the Cake Bar version, I’d love to know how you think it compares!

Enjoy!

 

Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Courtney Rich
Strawberry cake layers with cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries
5 from 49 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake
Servings 1 3-layer, 8-inch cake

Ingredients
  

FOR THE STRAWBERRY CAKE

  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 3 oz. package of strawberry flavored Jell-O
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 5 large egg whites room temperature
  • 3 cups plus 3 tablespoons (366.5 g) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.8 g) salt
  • 1 cup (240 g buttermilk) room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) pure vanilla extract

FOR THE CREAM CHEESE BUTTERCREAM

  • 1 1/2 cups (339 g) unsalted butter, slightly chilled
  • 4 oz. cream cheese slightly chilled
  • 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar, measured and then sifted
  • 3 tablespoons (43.3 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping you’ll want to make an extra 1/2 batch.
  • Fresh strawberries

Instructions
 

  • For the Strawberry Cake
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch or four 6-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, then place parchment rounds on the bottom and spray again. Set aside.
  • In a medium size bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, Jell-O, and sugar for about 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. 
  • With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the egg whites, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each addition. 
  • Add the sour cream and vanilla. Mix for another 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  • With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again on low for another 20 seconds.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans (about 16 ounces of batter in each pan). I used three 8-inch pans and my cooking time was 22 minutes. Baking time should be between 22-25 minutes for the 8-inch, but make sure to check on your cakes around 22 minutes, inserting a toothpick into the top of the cake (should come out with just a few crumbs) or gently tapping the top of your cake (shouldn't jiggle, but instead, bounce back up when done).
  • Let cool in your pans for 10 minutes and then invert onto wire cooling racks until completely cooled.
  • For the Cream Cheese Frosting
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and cream cheese and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
  • With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until incorporated. 
  • Keeping the mixer on low, add the cream, vanilla and salt.
  • Turn the mixer to medium and beat the frosting for 3-5 minutes, or until it is light in color (almost white) and texture.
  • To remove air bubbles from the frosting, use a wooden spoon to stir and push out the air bubbles. 
Keyword cream cheese buttercream, strawberry cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

 

Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Strawberry cake layers with cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries

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Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

Get my free cake decorating guide
Everything you need to know about decorating a cake like a pro!

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Comments

  1. To see if they use gelatin, you could always call and say you have an allergy to gelatin and see what they say! Easy way to find out 🙂

  2. This looks amazing! Can’t wait to make it!

    Question: why does the buttermilk have to be room temperature? Could it be cold or heated? I’m pregnant and get nervous about leaving anything out since that’s when bacteria grows. Would that destroy the cake?

    1. Great question! Buttermilk and other “wet” ingredients better blend together and are better absorbed by the dry ingredients when they’re at room temperature – which helps the cake to rise more evenly. It wont’ ruin the cake if you use cold buttermilk.

  3. Just made this version on Saturday. Wow. Like really… WOW. I had never baked cakes before and this is my 4th one from you. You rock. I was very surprised to like this cake so much. Plus it freezes great 😉

  4. Hi Courtney!
    I’m wanted to ask can I make my own cake flour? I noticed you added cake flour instead of all purpose flour… I love following you and all your beautiful cakes 😊
    Thank you
    Wink@sweets😉

    1. Hi! Thank you. Yes you can make your own cake flour – it’s an easy google search, but I prefer store bought cake flour because it has a slightly sweeter taste to it and gives the cake a light texture. I don’t think homemade cake flour gives the same result. It’s close though

  5. Would love your recipe for the original strawberry purée filling too! I’m on the hunt for a great one. ❤️

  6. Kudos with this newer version of the Strawberry cake! I thought the older recipe was great, but thanks for tweaking it cause I love it even more now! Amazing what an extra 3 tablespoons of cake flour will do! Happy dance at high altitude. : ) p.s. waiting anxiously for my cake disks!

  7. I have been weighing my ingredients to make baking a little quicker. If I just convert all of the ingredients will the cake still come out right?

  8. Thank you for this great recipe I am looking forward to trying it and I am ure the gelatib makes all the difference: although I am not sure what kind of gelatin you are using… is the Jello a powder? or cubes of gelatin?
    I live abroad and we only have plain gelatin powder (which we have to moisten first) or gelatin leaves (which we have to soak and squeeze…) ..

  9. I loved the cake! It was my first try baking a cake from scratch and completely decorating it. It had such a great flavor but the cake itself was dense. Do you have any idea on what I may have done to cause it or tips to avoid it in the future? I left it in the fridge decorated overnight and cut the next day.

  10. Do you find that the strawberries between the layers get soggy if you make this one ahead of time? Also assuming you wouldn’t freeze this one…

    1. They’ll get soggy if you store it too long. I made this one the day before I served it and was happy with everything.

  11. Hi Courtney I was wondering if I could use egg whites from a container instead of a whole egg for this strawberry cake?

      1. 5 stars
        Hi Courtney, I am wondering where in the recipe we are supposed to add the yolk? I didn’t see it in the instructions. Thank you!

  12. Love your blog! I’m going to make this recipe next week, can I add strawberry purée into the batter for this recipe? Thanks!

  13. Would you say this cream cheese frosting is stable enough to do intricate piping? Or should I use a basic buttercream instead?

  14. This recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of baking powder, but that is more than 4 grams. Is it supposed to be 1 teaspoon of baking powder?

  15. Hi Courtney! I’ve tried so many of your cakes and they’re amazing:) how would I convert this one to a sheet cake for 8-10 people?

  16. This cake is amazing! The first two times I made it, it was extremely DRY. Then I noticed it was because I misread the recipe. I was cooking those poor cakes for 33 minutes instead of 22. Today I did it right and omg! Best cake EVER!! Super moist and the fresh strawberries in between each layer just really sat the cake apart from the others! Thank you for an amazing recipe!

  17. This cake recipe is amazing! So glad I tried it. I’ll be making it for my sisters birthday. One thing I noticed is that there is a tangy note to it, is that from the Jello? It’s making me wonder if I didn’t mix it well enough

  18. Do I sift the cake flour first then measure? And if I’m making a 3 layer 9 inch cake, do I have to double the recipe one time?

      1. Hi Courtney
        I’m planning on making this cake for my toddler’s 2nd birthday. She loves strawberry and I’ve never made a strawberry dessert that I like so this will will be interesting!
        Just had a question re the icing: how would you rate the sweetness? Is it as sweet as American buttercream or more along the lines of SMBC?

  19. I just saw in some comments about the egg whites where you said you’ll need the egg yolk as well. I didn’t see anywhere in this recipe where it mentioned using egg yolks… Maybe that was my problem? Can you help?

    1. You don’t need egg yolks in this cake. Maybe you were thinking my strawberry lemonade cake where you save the yolks for the curd?

  20. Hi Courtney,

    I tried this cake for my daughters birthday. It had a nice strawberry flavor however it turned out very dry. Not sure what I did wrong. I had to bake it close to 30 minutes as the center came out wet until 25. Any suggestions to make it more moist? I have made your biscoff cake and that was so good. Thank you for all your recipe suggestions 😊

      1. I think the extract is incorrect on the cake, is it a tablespoon or teaspoon, the grams are off on what a tablespoon would be.

  21. 5 stars
    Your site is so very helpful…I decided to make this, this evening. It just came out of the oven and smells amazing. I have an issue with my cakes not being as tall and not sure what my problem is. Everything is fresh and I am carful not to overmix and new oven has oven thermometer in them. This might be a silly question but how tall are the cakes when they are done baking?

      1. I’ve made twice now and both times cakes came out short. Maybe a little over an inch. What am I doing wrong? All ingredients are fresh amd room temperature. It’s still yummy. Just didn’t seem to rise. Also this is my 1st time using cake flour. Help! My cakes always rise!

  22. Probably would be a good idea to specify how much jello. I put 13 ounces of the jello in the mix and after it took 40 minutes to cook and came out super sour I realize it probably meant ONE, 3 ounce package of jello. 😞

  23. 4 stars
    I’ve made this cake 5 times now. It is absolutely delicious amd moist. But they are never more than a little over an inch tall. Today I 1 1/2 the recipe and put in 8 inch pans and I got the couple inches. What am I doing wrong? Ingredients are fresh, don’t think I’m over mixing and pans are going right in the oven and being rotated so bake evenly. It’s delicious as it’s coming out for me but I want it to reach its full potential. Please help 😊

    1. I’d just make sure you’re mixing the butter, sugar and eggs really well so they’re light and fluffy before adding dry ingredients. These layers aren’t as tall as some of my others either, so don’t stress too much.

  24. 3 stars
    While I was really excited to try this recipe, I found it to be very dense and on the dry side. I followed the recipe to a tee. I’m curious why it turned out so poorly.

  25. I wanted to make this cake for about 60 people. I was going to either do a 10 inch cake with an 8 inch cake on top, or possibly a rectangular cake. Any tips? Should I double or triple this recipe? Thanks!

  26. I was reading through the recipe and just wasn’t sure about the assembly. Do you put a layer of the cream cheese frosting and then cut up fresh strawberries? I would love to try this recipe!

  27. Hi Courtney,

    I’m wondering how far in advance I can assemble this cake? I’m wondering if the strawberries between layers will make it soggy/go bad.

    Thanks!
    Alison

  28. I love this cake! I’ve made it a handful of times. How do you think it would turn out with orange jello?

  29. 5 stars
    Great recipe. This is definitely a summer showstopper with lots of flavor. The frosting is perfect. I thought the cake was a bit on the sweet side but my family loved it. Check the bake time sooner than later. Mine was perfectly baked at 12 minutes! 🙂

  30. Loved this cake! So flavorful, and the texture is 👌🏼. However, I encountered a slight hiccup when making cupcakes…the cupcake liners do not adhere to the cupcakes after cooling; they just fall away in their own. I had the same issue with your white cake recipe and have used several different liners. Any tips? Thanks!

    1. I’ve read a few things saying it could be a moisture issue or over baking but I’m not really sure.

  31. 5 stars
    I made this for my daughter’s birthday because she loves strawberries and the color pink. It was so delicious! Everyone at her party was raving about it. I did have a bit of leakage from the fresh strawberries, so I wish I had patted them a bit drier before putting them in, but it made the cake even more moist!

  32. Hi! I’m going to make this cake tomorrow and I’m not exactly sure where to use the fresh strawberries? Just in the frosting? And if so, when and how do I incorporate them? And about how many? It doesn’t mention them in the recipe.

    Thank you!

  33. I’m planning to make this recipe but looking for a substitution for the strawberry Jell-o because I’m trying to avoid food dyes. What can I use instead to incorporate the strawberry flavor?

  34. Do you think I could freeze my whipping cream in an ice cube tray? I use a few tablespoons of it and then end up always throwing the rest away. Do you think it would thaw normally?

  35. About how many slices can you get out of this size cake? I am going to make this for a birthday party and there will be about 12 people.

  36. 5 stars
    I haven’t tried this recipe but I’m sure its amazing. Would your vanilla buttercream recipe pair well with this strawberry cake? So instead of the cream frosting? I’m looking for a good strawberry cake with vanilla buttercream recipe. Hope to hear back thx.

  37. 3 stars
    I have successfully made several of your recipes and they were fantastic- the chocolate with salted caramel buttercream is a continued fan favorite! But I made this and it was super dense. I’m know I didn’t over beat it and it was a beautiful color all around so I don’t feel like I over cooked it. Any idea on what happened? Or is this just a denser cake. I also froze my layers… is this a cake that can’t be frozen?

  38. 3 stars
    Cake was super dense. I am an avid baker. Followed the instruction, didn’t miss a thing! Made 3 6in rounds and each were only an inch thick. Not sure how that would have translated to an 8in pan. Would have been super thin. Mostly if not all of my cakes bake up to two inch so that was unfortunate not to know ahead of time that it needed to be doubled at least

  39. I am so excited to make this cake for my daughter’s birthday. I was planning on doing stripes with the frosting using your stripe tool, but will the cream cheese frosting be too soft for that? Should I switch to a buttercream? Thanks!

    1. Cream cheese buttercream can be a little trickier but will still work. If you don’t want to have to stress at all, then yeah, I’d switch to regular.

  40. How do I make this recipe into cupcakes? And if I’m looking for a pink frosting, can I just use food coloring? Thanks!

    1. You’ll just bake them for about 20-25 minutes but don’t change anything else. Yes you can use a little food gel coloring for the pink.