Sunday, July 8, 2012

Recipe of the Month: Strawberry Cake From Scratch

Happy Sunday!  This month's recipe is perfect for summer!  I mean, who doesn't love strawberries?  Mmmm.....

I had a special request several months ago for a strawberry cake.  A quick Google search revealed lots of recipes, but almost all were made with cake mix and strawberry jello.  These aren't necessarily bad, but I wanted a completely from-scratch cake using only fresh strawberries.  

After a little more searching, I came across this recipe which looked quite promising.  It is based off of the Cook's Illustrated white cake which I have used before, so I knew it had to be good.  I was not disappointed!   It tastes just like fresh strawberries!  The texture is tender, but still holds together well.

The best part about this recipe is how versatile it is!  I've made layer cakes with both vanilla buttercream and cream cheese frosting.  This weekend, I made strawberry cupcakes and topped them with lemon buttercream for a strawberry lemonade cupcake. 

I've also topped the cupcakes with a rum buttercream and sprinkled lime zest on top for the perfect strawberry daiquiri cupcake.  

Strawberry goes well with so many other flavors...citrus, chocolate, vanilla, cream cheese....The possibilities are endless!  Now that I've made you really hungry for strawberry cake, here's how I make it: (the full recipe is below)

I started by pureeing frozen strawberries until compltely smooth.  I have used both fresh strawberries and frozen berries and both turned out equally as delicious.

The original  recipe called for adding the strawberry puree to the wet ingrediants, but I just added the milk, eggs, and vanilla to the blender and gave it a quick pulse instead of using an extra bowl.  I'm all about saving on dishes (I make enough dirty dishes as it is!)

After combining the dry ingredients with the butter, I added the strawberry mixture.  I think the batter is the most beautiful delicate pink color.  If you want it a little more colorful, you can add a drop or two of red food coloring at this point.

The batter will deepen slightly in the oven.  The cakes on the right just came out, while the cakes on the left are getting ready to go in the oven.

Everyone was so excited about the cake, I didn't have a chance to get a picture before they cut it!  But I guess you can see the inside this way :)

On a side note, when I bake/cook, I'm usually making an extra large batch, so the amounts in pictures will look like more than what the recipe calls for.  I always scale the recipes down to a normal amount since I imagine most of you aren't making a triple batch of cupcakes!  So, go by the amounts in the recipes, not by what you see in the photos.

Strawberry Cake
Approx. 8 oz strawberries, either fresh or frozen
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup cake flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temp

Place strawberries in a food processor or blender and process until completely smooth.  Measure ¾ cups of strawberry puree and return to the blender.  Discard extra or use for another recipe.  (I recommend pouring it over vanilla ice cream…yum!)

Add egg, vanilla, and milk to the blender and mix on medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix to combine. Continue beating at slow speed and add butter. Mix until combined and resembling moist crumbs.

Add strawberry mixture and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute. Stop mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl, mix for 30 seconds more.
Note: The batter will not get any pinker in the oven so if you prefer a deeper color, add a drop or two of pink or red food coloring.

Divide the batter evenly among the pans or cupcake tins.

Bake for about 25 minutes for layer cakes or 18 minutes for cupcakes. Let cakes rest in pan for about 10 minutes and turn out onto wire racks. Let cakes cool completely before frosting.

Happy baking (and eating!)  As always, let me know if you have questions about any of my recipes.  I love hearing from you!  You can email me or post on Facebook.


  1. Do you use 3/4 of a cup of the stawberry puree or what the 8oz of strawberry puree minus 3/4 of a cup?

    1. You use the 3/4 cup for the recipe.... After pureeing the strawberries, measure out 3/4 cup. You will have a couple of tablespoon leftover, discard it or use in another recipe. Return the 3/4 cup puree back to the blender and add the remaining wet ingredients. Sorry for the confusion! Happy baking!

  2. What temp do you bake it at?

    1. 350 degree F. I'll edit that in the recipe. Thanks!

  3. Did you double the recipe for the cake you made? Curious because I am about to try this recipe out and I want to make sure I make enough for a pretty thick cake. Thanks!

    1. Hi! No, one recipe makes two layers like you see in the pics. They usually bake up about 2 inches thick. Hope that helps! Happy baking!

  4. I made this cake the other day and it was absolutely DELICIOUS!!! The cake was full of flavor, and everyone loved it , and I will be making it again :)

  5. I halved this recipe and made cupcakes today to test it out for my daughter's 3rd birthday. I had been looking everywhere for a strawberry recipe that did not require a mix or jello to be added. The results were a moist and delicious cake, although lacking a lot of the strawberry flavor I was looking for. This could be because I used frozen strawberries, so for her birthday I'll use fresh and see what happens. The subtle flavor is still delicious and the cake is so moist.

  6. Hi! I am planning on making this cake in a 6 inch cake pan (3 inch depth). Do you have any suggestions on how much batter to prepare...will the above recipe suffice? Also, how long should I bake it and at what temperature? I'd appreciate any input...Thank you!

  7. Thus far this cake has turned out great! I changed the steps around a little bit and creamed the butter and sugar first together.It makes the cake fluffier. Then alternated adding the wet and dry until mixed well, then beat on medium for 1-2 minutes. Also I only added 3 teaspoons of baking powder. I find that 4 created a cake that was over-leavened (just my thoughts!) But otherwise I LOVE this recipe, great work!