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Homemade Strawberry Cake

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Summer is my absolute favorite time of year. When those juicy, ripe, red strawberries start popping up at the farmer’s market, I get so excited to bake this incredible strawberry cake. The sweet, jammy strawberry flavor paired with the soft, fluffy texture of this cake is simply heavenly.

I have so many wonderful memories around this cake. My grandma used to make it every year for my birthday in June when strawberries were at their peak. The nostalgic aroma of strawberries and vanilla would fill her little yellow kitchen as we chatted and caught up while it baked. She’d always let me lick the bowl too!

Now I carry on her tradition and make this velvety cake for my kids every summer. I love seeing their eyes light up when I take it out of the oven, hot and bubbly and bursting with strawberries. It’s the perfect treat for backyard barbecues, picnics in the park, or just because.

If you also love the taste of fresh, ripe strawberries, you have to try this cake. The sweet fruit flavor shines through in every soft, moist bite. It’s so easy to make too. Just stir together a quick batter and fold in juicy strawberries. Pop it in the oven, and your kitchen will smell absolutely heavenly.

Before we get started baking, here are some common questions about this delightful cake:

What kind of pan do I need to use?

I recommend using either an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan for this strawberry cake recipe. Choose a light-colored metal pan rather than glass or dark metal, which can cause overbrowning. Make sure to grease the pan well with butter and dust it with flour to prevent the cake from sticking. This allows the cake to pull away cleanly from the sides of the pan. An 8-inch pan will yield a slightly thicker cake while a 9-inch pan will be more thin and flat. Both work well!

How long will the cake last?

Properly stored, this homemade strawberry cake will stay fresh for 3-4 days at room temperature. Be sure to store it in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. For even longer freshness, you can refrigerate the cake for up to 1 week. Allow the chilled cake to come to room temperature before serving for the best texture.

Can I use frozen strawberries instead of fresh?

You certainly can use frozen strawberries! Just make sure to thaw them first and drain off any excess liquid so the cake doesn’t get too soggy. Place the frozen berries in a colander and rinse under cool water until thawed. Gently press with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Their shape may not hold up as nicely as fresh berries, but they will still provide plenty of sweet strawberry flavor when baked into the cake. Adjust the amount based on how juicy they are after thawing. Enjoy strawberry cake all year round with good quality frozen berries!

What if I don’t have buttermilk?

No problem! You can easily make a substitute by mixing 1 cup of regular milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Allow it to stand for 5 minutes at room temperature, and the milk will curdle and develop a tangy flavor similar to buttermilk. Use the curdled milk cup-for-cup in place of buttermilk in this recipe. Another option is to substitute 3⁄4 cup plain yogurt plus 1⁄4 cup milk in place of 1 cup buttermilk. Let it stand for 5 minutes before baking too. Either method works great!

Can I customize this cake?

Absolutely! Feel free to play around with different fruit fillings or frostings. Raspberries, blueberries or blackberries would be delicious too. For the frosting, experiment with whipped cream, cream cheese frosting, or a fluffy marshmallow frosting. You could even leave the cake unfrosted for a simple naked cake. Make it your own with your favorite flavors!

Now let’s get to baking this sensational summertime treat!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes


  • For the cake:
  • 1 1⁄4 cups (156g) all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⁄2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3⁄4 cup (150g) granulated white sugar
  • 1 1⁄4 teaspoons baking powder
  • For the filling:
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) cornstarch
  • 10 ounces (283g) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:
  • 1⁄4 cup (57g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1⁄2 cups (180g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 ounces (113g) cream cheese, softened
  • 2-3 tablespoons (30-45ml) milk, if needed for consistency
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray and line the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper too.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the batter in 3 additions, mixing just until incorporated after each. Be careful not to overmix.
  6. Make the filling: In a medium bowl, gently toss the sliced strawberries with the sugar, vanilla and cornstarch until evenly coated. Set aside to let the juices develop, about 10 minutes.
  7. Assemble the cake: Pour half the cake batter (about 1 1⁄4 cups) into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Spoon the sugared strawberries evenly over the batter. Top with dollops of the remaining cake batter, then gently spread into an even layer.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  9. Make the frosting: In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat on low speed until combined, then increase to high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 full minutes. Add milk only if frosting is too thick.
  10. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the cream cheese frosting. Garnish with fresh strawberry slices if desired. Enjoy!

Cooking Tips:

  1. Choose ripe, red strawberries with bright green caps for the best flavor. Underripe berries will be sour.
  2. Slice the berries about 1⁄4-inch thick so they don’t sink to the bottom as the cake bakes.
  3. Let the sugared strawberries sit for about 10 minutes so they release their juice and plump up before assembling.
  4. Cool the cake completely before frosting so the frosting sets up nicely without melting.
  5. Whisk the cream cheese frosting well or beat it with a mixer to make it light, soft and spreadable. Add a splash of milk if it seems too thick.
  6. Garnish with extra strawberry slices or berries for a pop of beautiful color!

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