Strawberry Layer Cake

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This pretty-in-pink cake is made 100% from-scratch with fresh strawberries and frosted with a cream cheese buttercream.

Homemade strawberry layer cake with fresh strawberries and cream cheese frosting

10 years ago today I hit “publish” on my very first blog post— chocolate chip cookies. And the rest, as they say, is history. Almost 1,000 recipes later and I’m still here and loving it. When I first realized this big milestone was coming up, I wanted to do something big and special. So I’m giving away a stand mixer (the something big) and I baked us this lovely strawberry cake (the something special).

And this cake is so special! With layers of homemade strawberry cake made with puréed fresh strawberries, a strawberry-cream cheese filling, sliced fresh strawberries, it may be the most strawberry-y cake ever. There’s so much wonderful strawberry flavor going on here. I frosted the entire cake with the creamiest cream cheese frosting and decorated it with fresh roses and chamomile flowers to make it a little extra-fancy for the occasion. Of course, you can dress this cake up or down however you like. It’s a simple, yet elegant cake all on its own.

I wish I could share a slice with each and every one of you! Thanks so much for 10 amazing years here on the internet. Think we can go for another 10? 

Homemade strawberry layer cake with fresh strawberries and cream cheese frosting

Recipe Notes

  • This cake uses quite a bit of strawberry purée to get a clear strawberry flavor in the finished cake. You’ll need a food processor or a high-powered blender to purée the strawberries. Lots of other recipes also have chopped strawberries in the batter, but I opted for thinly sliced fresh strawberries in between the cake layers for even more bright strawberry flavor.
  • You don’t need to use any food coloring, but I found that using just a bit of pink gel food coloring helps bring out the color.
  • This cake can be baked in either 8 or 9-inch round pans. 8-inch will be taller, 9-inch will be wider and shorter. You can use 2 or 3 pans, depending on the look you’re going for: double layer (2 pans), triple layer (3 pans), or quadruple layer (2 pans, then slice each layer in half). Baking times will vary slightly, and cakes are done with the edges pull away from the pan, the top has just started to brown, and the center springs back when gently pressed. These are the pans I use.
  • I recommend cake flour for this recipe for the best texture. However, I have tested it with all-purpose and it was still a good cake, just more dense. You can also make your own cake flour— measure 1 cup all-purpose flour and remove 2 tablespoons. Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and sift together. Use 1:1 for cake flour.
  • For extra help with your layer cake, see my tutorial how to build a layer cake. It includes tips on how to prep cake pans and how to bake flat even cake layers.

Homemade strawberry layer cake with fresh strawberries and cream cheese frosting

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Strawberry Layer Cake

This pretty-in-pink cake is made 100% from-scratch with fresh strawberries and frosted with a cream cheese buttercream.

Ingredients:

Strawberry Cake:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 226 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pink gel food coloring (optional)
  • 3 cups (360 grams) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup (310 ml) strawberry purée (see Notes)

Cream Cheese Buttercream:

  • 8 ounces (1 brick, 226 grams) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 113 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups (455 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Strawberry Filling:

  • 1 cup of cream cheese buttercream (above)
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry purée
  • 1-2 cups thinly sliced fresh strawberries (depends on how many cake layers you have)

Directions:

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 8 or 9-inch round cake pans (see Notes) and line the bottoms with parchment paper. See my full tutorial on how to prep cake pans.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until light and creamy, about 3-4 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl down at least once.
  3. Add eggs once at a time, mixing and scraping after each. Then add vanilla, almond extract, and food coloring (if using). Mixture will look curdled.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Add it to the mixer bowl in 3 additions, alternating with the strawberry purée, and ending with the flour mixture. Batter will be thick.
  5. Divide batter among prepared cake pans and bake until the edges pull away from the pan and the tops spring back when lightly touched, 30-35 minutes.
  6. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then remove carefully and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. You can use the cake layers at room temperature, or chill them in the fridge for easier assembly.
  7. Make ahead: Cake layers can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, or double-wrapped in the freezer for up to several months. If frozen, let thaw in their wrappings in the fridge overnight.

To make the buttercream and filling:

  1. Beat the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt with an electric mixer on low until combined. Turn speed up to high and beat for 4-5 minutes until smooth, light, and creamy.
  2. To make the filling, remove all but 1 cup of the buttercream from the mixer bowl and set aside in another bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of strawberry purée and beat on low speed until smooth.
  3. Make ahead: Buttercream can be stored in the fridge for 1 week and in the freezer for at least a month. Let come to room temperature and beat until smooth before using.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Top with strawberry filling. How much you use will depend on how many cake layers you have— use all, or divide in half or thirds.
  2. Arrange sliced strawberries on top of filling.
  3. Place another cake layer on top and repeat filling, strawberries and additional cake layers as needed.
  4. Cover cake with cream cheese frosting and frost as desired. See my full tutorial on how to frost a layer cake.
  5. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving and store any leftovers in the fridge. Cake will keep for several days.
Notes:
  • You'll need approximately 10-12 ounces (283-340 grams) of fresh strawberries to make the purée for the cake and filling. Add to a high-powered blender or food processor (what I used) and blend until smooth.
  • You can use frozen strawberries for the purée. Thaw and drain to remove excess liquid before blending.
  • This cake can be baked in either 8 or 9-inch round pans. 8-inch will be taller, 9-inch will be wider and shorter. You can use 2 or 3 pans, depending on the look you’re going for: double layer (2 pans), triple layer (3 pans), or quadruple layer (2 pans, then slice each layer in half). Baking times will vary slightly. These are the pans I use.

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below, send me an email, or take a photo and tag it on instagram with #completelydelicious.