This Strawberry Cake is a celebration of the bright, sweet flavors of real strawberries, offering a vibrant alternative to cakes that rely on artificial colors and flavors. Made with a reduced strawberry puree and infused with a hint of strawberry emulsion, this cake promises a delightful taste experience, complemented by a frosting rich with freeze-dried strawberries. Whether for a special occasion or a weekend treat, this strawberry cake is sure to impress and satisfy.

As someone who cherishes the natural sweetness and complexity of fresh strawberries, I was inspired to create a cake that honors this beloved fruit in every layer. This Strawberry Cake is the culmination of that inspiration, featuring real strawberries not just as an ingredient but as the star of the show. My goal was to craft a recipe that brings the essence of strawberries to the forefront, creating a cake that’s as delicious to eat as it is beautiful.

If you love strawberries as much as I do, you have got to check out my Strawberries & Cream Cookies and my Strawberry Macarons. You will be in strawberry heaven!

Freshly made strawberry cake

The Chemistry of Strawberry Cake

The magic of this Strawberry Cake lies in its careful balance of ingredients and techniques. Reducing the strawberry puree concentrates its flavor and eliminates excess moisture, ensuring the cake has a strong strawberry presences without compromising its texture. The incorporation of strawberry emulsion amplifies this fruit flavor, enhancing the cake’s aroma and taste. The cake’s tenderness is achieved through the creaming of butter and sugar, creating a light, airy base that’s enriched with eggs and moisture with buttermilk. The frosting, whipped to fluffy perfection, carries the essence of strawberries through the inclusion of freeze-dried fruit, offering a perfect complement to the cake’s berry notes.

Can I use frozen strawberries for the puree?

Absolutely! Frozen strawberries can be a great alternative to fresh, especially out of season. Thaw them before pureeing and reducing to ensure the best flavor concentration.

How do I achieve a smooth frosting with freeze-dried strawberries?

Grinding the freeze-dried strawberries into a fine powder before adding them to the frosting will ensure a smooth, even consistency and distribute the berry flavor throughout.

Freshly made strawberry cake

Why do I need to chill the cakes before frosting?

Chilling the cakes firms them up, making them less crumbly and easier to handle during the frosting process. This step helps achieve a cleaner, more professional finish.

What’s the difference between strawberry puree and strawberry emulsion?

Strawberry puree is made from actual strawberries, providing natural color and flavor. Strawberry emulsion, on the other hand, is a flavoring agent that offers a more concentrated strawberry taste without adding additional liquid to the recipe.

Freshly made strawberry cake

What is in Strawberry Cake?

Cake Flour

Has a lower amount of protein and is very fine. It gives your treat a specific flavor and makes them very white or light in color. It’s made of soft wheat so it should not be used in place of all-purpose or bread flour. Only use when your recipe specifically calls for it.

Baking Powder

Puffs up your batter or dough instead of spreading it out. Baking powder contains a little bit of baking soda, an acid & cornstarch. Because of this, it only needs a liquid to react. It also consists of two different acids, so it’s double reacting. It reacts as soon as it’s mixed with a moisture and then again when it’s heated up.

Baking Soda

Elevates the pH level of your batter or dough. It increases the spread in your treat and encourages browning, which gives the crispy outside and soft inside texture that everyone loves. Baking soda needs both an acid and a liquid to react. Things that will activate your baking soda are: vinegar, fruit juice, molasses, brown sugar, tartar, buttermilk and sour cream. Baking soda only reacts once, which is right when it’s mixed into your batter or dough. The soda creates little air bubbles all throughout your treat. When the air bubbles get heated up in the oven, they expand.

Fine Sea Salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt, it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your treat, making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.

Unsalted Butter

It is always important to use unsalted butter when baking. If you use salted butter, you have no way of knowing how much salt you are adding to your dough or batter and it will result in an overly salted treat.

Butter adds fats to your dough or batter which helps with moistness, flavor and texture. Butter melts at body temperature, which creates a ‘melt in your mouth’ sensation.

When baking with butter the temperature is important. If the butter is too warm your treat will melt down too fast and overspread in the oven, leaving you with a greasy, flat mess. If your butter is too cold it will have the opposite problem and not melt down enough, leaving your treat too thick.

Granulated Sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter. It helps add moisture to your treat and helps it evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Eggs

Adds both a protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because, when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the egg white mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking, which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick treats. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters and doughs together and help them from collapsing. Unless otherwise specified, always use large eggs.

Buttermilk

Adds moisture and helps to tenderize the gluten, creating a soft crumb and tangy flavor. It also helps rise the pH level of your batter, increasing the rise from the baking powder.

Vanilla Extract

When using pure vanilla extract, as opposed to imitation flavoring, it will add the deep rich flavor that everybody wants in a treat.

Strawberry Puree

Provide the vibrant, fresh strawberry flavor that sets this cake apart.

Strawberry Emulsion

Gives extreme strawberry flavor with a tiny teaspoon.

Unsalted butter

Often the main ingredient of frosting, it adds structure to your buttercream. It also adds a smooth and velvety texture. Butter melts at body temperature, so it will make your frosting have a melt-in-your-mouth sensation.

Powdered Sugar

Is just finely ground granulated sugar. It will absorb moisture in your batter or dough. It dissolves easily, ensuring a smooth texture without grittiness. Because it is so fine, it can melt quickly in the oven and spread cookies out more. Powdered sugar also stabilizes and thickens the frosting, thanks to the small amount of cornstarch it contains.

Heavy Whipping Cream

Makes a softer, more spreadable frosting. When melted with chocolate it adds more fat and moisture to the mixture, resulting in a silkier blend.

Freeze Dried Strawberries

Offer an intense berry flavor to the frosting, complementing the cake’s natural strawberry essence.

Freshly made strawberry cake

Storage Tips

Store the frosted cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For best flavor and texture, let it come to room temperature before serving.

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Why make strawberry cake?

By following this recipe, you’re set to create a dessert that’s not only beautiful but deliciously infused with strawberry flavor. This cake is perfect for those who appreciate the allure of real, uncomplicated ingredients coming together to create something truly special.

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Strawberry Cake

5 from 1 vote
Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12
This sweet strawberry cake is made with all REAL strawberries and no food coloring.

Ingredients 

Cake

  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup strawberry puree **reduced from 1 cup
  • 1 tsp strawberry emulsion

Frosting

  • 1 cup freeze dried strawberries **chopped
  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp strawberry emulsion

Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
  • Wash strawberries and chop them up in a blender or food processor. Do this until you have 1 cup of chopped strawberries. Pour them into a saucepan over medium heat. Allow the strawberries to boil, stirring occasionally, until they thicken and reduce to 1/2 cup
  • In a bowl combine the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a standing mixer add the butter and sugar, mix until combined and then turn the mixer on high and whip for 1-2 minutes until lighter in color and texture. Scrap the bowl down every 30 seconds or so.
  • Add the eggs and mix until fully combined.
  • Add the buttermilk, vanilla extract, strawberry puree and strawberry emulsion, mix until combined.
  • Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour the dry ingredients in, allow to continue mixing until the batter comes together and is smooth.
  • Pour the batter into two 8" cake pans that have been sprayed with non-stick spray and lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the cakes when done and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan. Wrap the cooled cakes in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill before frosting.

Frosting

  • In a standing mixer add the butter and mix until softened.
  • Add the powdered sugar and mix until combined, it will be dry and crumbly.
  • add the cream and mix until combined.
  • Add the freeze dried strawberries and strawberry emulsion. Mix until combined.
  • Turn the mixer on high and whip for at least 2 minutes, the frosting will be lighter in color and texture.
  • Frost your chilled cake, stacking 1 on top of the other with frosting in between. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 902kcal Carbohydrates: 109g Protein: 7g Fat: 50g Saturated Fat: 31g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 13g Trans Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 182mg Sodium: 406mg Potassium: 372mg Fiber: 3g Sugar: 83g Vitamin A: 1569IU Vitamin C: 247mg Calcium: 97mg Iron: 5mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.

Freshly made strawberry cake