If you love strawberry cake, but you’re looking for an all-natural alternative to the boxed cake mixes (or recipes made using strawberry Jello) this is the only all-natural strawberry cake recipe you’ll ever need– and it actually tastes like strawberries. I grew up eating artificially flavored boxed strawberry cakes (it was the 80s♡). The crumb was delightfully pink and heavily strawberry-scented like a Strawberry Shortcake doll…and I loved it (and being honest I still do). But I don’t love how boxed cake mixes are full of artificial ingredients so I created this super tender and moist strawberry cake. It has plenty of strawberry flavor using real strawberries in the batter and in each of the strawberry toppings. This is one of the very best homemade strawberry cake recipes there is. As always, you can find the step-by-step recipe photos below.
What is in this All-Natural Homemade Strawberry Cake Recipe?
This strawberry cake is infused with real strawberries and topped with a simple strawberry gelée (which also makes a perfect strawberry cheesecake topping), homemade strawberry-vanilla bean whipped cream, and finally fresh strawberries. It’s super light, moist, and full of real strawberry flavor. And while it doesn’t taste like the artificial boxed mix, it will please even the most die-hard strawberry cake fans.
Feel free to further intensify the strawberry flavor by using a full 2 teaspoons of all-natural strawberry extract in the cake batter instead of a combination of 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of strawberry extract, as I’ve done for this recipe. I love the balance of the vanilla with the strawberry, but if you want more of that boxed strawberry flavor, use 2 teaspoons of pure strawberry extract and omit the vanilla altogether.
Best Ever All-Natural Strawberry Cake From Scratch Ingredients
As I mentioned above, if you want an even more intensely strawberry-flavored cake, substitute all or some of the vanilla extract used in the cake batter with strawberry extract. You can also make this recipe without any strawberry extract (it’s still delicious). This part is up to you. Also, for the strawberry-vanilla bean whipped cream you may sweeten it more or less to your taste.
Strawberry Cake Batter Ingredients
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour or Italian 00 flour (255g)*
- 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar (350g)
- 4 teaspoons baking powder (17g)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (4g)
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, room temperature (140g)
- 10 ounces (2 cups) frozen or fresh strawberries (285g)
- 3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature (175g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (4g)
- 1 teaspoon strawberry extract (4g)
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (30g)
Strawberry Gelée Ingredients
- 1 pound fresh or frozen strawberries, washed and sliced (453g)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (14g)
- 1 sheet of gelatine (5g)
Strawberry-Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Ingredients
- 1 cup cold heavy cream (250g)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons homemade strawberry sugar (sub granulated sugar) (25-40g)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or sub vanilla extract) (2g)
- 1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract (optional) (2g)
*I use 00 flour when I’m in Italy, and traditional American cake flour for this recipe when I’m in the States. And the weight of these different flours varies based on the humidity content of the flour and also the environment you’re living in. No matter where you live, just be sure to use the ‘scoop and level’ method to measure your flour into measuring cups and the recipe works perfectly every time.
How to Make a Light and Moist All-Natural Strawberry Cake From Scratch
Every layer of this delicious strawberry cake complements the next and I can’t recommend it enough to have you top it with fresh strawberries because they really add to the overall experience.
- Prepare the baking pans + make the strawberry milk. Line 24 muffin tins with paper or foil muffin cups, or butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line with a round of parchment to fit the bottom of the pan and set aside. Heat the strawberries in a saucepot over medium heat stirring occasionally to release their juices (about 8 to 10 minutes). Strain the strawberries through a fine-mesh strainer pressing down with a rubber spatula to get 3/4 cup of juice. Return the juice back to the saucepot (reserving any solids in a bowl). Cook the juice over medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes stirring frequently to reduce the juice to 1/4 cup. Add the juice to the milk and stir to combine.
- Measure the dry ingredients. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
- Combine the strawberry milk with the remaining wet ingredients. Combine egg whites, strawberry milk, vanilla extract, strawberry extract, and vegetable oil, whisk well to combine.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/176°C + make the cake batter. Preheat the oven while you make the cake batter. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a handheld mixer) add the flour mixture. With the speed on low add the butter one piece at a time and mix for about 1 minute or until well blended and only pea-sized butter pieces remain. With the mixer still on low, slowly add 1/2 of the strawberry milk mixture, increase the speed to medium-high and mix for about 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low and add the remaining strawberry mixture and mix just until blended (30 seconds). Turn off the mixer and give it a final stir using a rubber spatula.
- Bake the cake/cupcakes. Using a measuring scoop, evenly distribute the batter amongst muffin cups, or pour equal amounts of batter into two prepared 9-inch cake pans. Bake muffins for 15 to 20 minutes (9-inch cakes for 20 to 25 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops are light golden brown.
- Cool the cake/cupcakes. Remove the cakes from the oven to a wire rack and let them cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Then remove the cakes/cupcakes from the baking pan and turn them right side up to finish cooling on the wire rack (about 2 hours). Cooled cakes can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator, freezer, or at room temperature for up to 2 days depending on how cool it is in your kitchen.
- Make the strawberry gelée. Add a sheet of gelatin to a bowl with 3 tablespoons of water and allow it to bloom for about 8 minutes, or until it’s pliable but not falling apart. Meanwhile, add the strawberries to a small pot with the heat turned on medium-high to release the juices. After about 4 minutes of cooking, some of the juices will have released. Remove about 1/4 cup of this strawberry juice and add it to a small bowl. Gently squeeze the water out of the gelatine sheet and add it to the strawberry juice and stir to combine until no gelatine pieces remain, set aside. To the remaining pot of strawberries, add the sugar and lemon juice and continue cooking and stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the strawberry sauce to a small bowl and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Add the gelatine mixture to the strawberry sauce and whisk to incorporate. When the strawberry gelée has cooled to room temperature, add a spoonful to the center of each cupcake (or each 9-inch cake) leaving a border around the edge. If freezing the cupcakes, place parchment squares on top of the gelée and pop them into the freezer in an airtight container.
- Make the strawberry-vanilla bean whipped cream. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until soft or stiff peaks form. Pipe or dollop a spoonful of whipped cream on top of each cupcake (or cakes) and top it off with fresh strawberries (chopped or whole), Enjoy!
All-Natural Strawberry Cake step-by-step recipe photos
How to Make Homemade All-Natural Strawberry Cake Batter Step-by-Step Photos
How to Make Strawberry Gelée Step-by-Step Photos
How To Make Strawberry-Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Step-by-Step Photos
Pro Tip | How to Make Strawberry Coulis (above) — It’s Not Necessary for this Recipe but it’s Delicious
If you want to go the extra, extra mile and make an easy homemade strawberry coulis (a sweetened seed-free strawberry purée sauce) to drizzle over the tops or to do some fancy plating, by all means, do it. It starts by making a reduced strawberry purée using fresh or frozen strawberries and it can be easily frozen and used for all types of desserts like strawberry-shortcake scones, drizzled over ice cream, or cheesecakes, even French toast, or to make the best strawberry-lemonade, or strawberries and cream crêpes.
Can You Freeze Homemade Strawberry Cake and Cupcakes?
Yes, you can freeze this strawberry cake and they taste just as great when thawed (or eaten while still half frozen♡) as the day they were baked. In fact, any photos in this post that are topped with whipped cream are all using previously frozen cupcakes. You can even top the strawberry cake (or cupcakes) with the strawberry gelée before freezing them just like I did and it sort of melts into the cupcake. Just add a small square of parchment paper to the tops of each one after you’ve added the gelée and freeze in an airtight container.
When ready to eat, take them out of the freezer and allow them to thaw at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Just before serving make the strawberry-vanilla bean whipped cream and pipe or dollop a small amount on top of each cupcake (or regular cake). Add fresh strawberries (chopped or whole) and serve. You may freeze the cupcakes for up to 3 months in an airtight container. You may also thaw them in the refrigerator overnight if desired.
Looking for More Delicious Desserts to Make?
We’ve got a few other recipes below we think you might like, from our favorite no-bake summer recipes to a few others worth heating up your kitchen for.
- Easy Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Cheese Pie (No-Bake Recipe)
- Crispy + Flaky Southern Strawberry-Rhubarb Fried Pies (Best Ever Hand Pies)
- The Best Key Lime Pie with Biscoff Cookie Crust
- Lucky Lunar New Year Fried Cherry Pie “Wontons”
- The Very Best Southern Pecan Pie
- Black Sesame Triple Coconut Cream Pie (Celebrating Brain Cancer Awareness Month + My Mama)
- Cherry Crumb-Crunch Pie w/Scratch Made Cherry Pie Filling + Streusel Topping
- Best Ever Arkansas Possum Pie (100% Scratch-Made)
- Authentic Italian Strawberry Crostata di Marmellata (Strawberry Jam Tart)
Let’s get started!
We’d love to hear how this recipe turned out for you🤗! If you make it (and have time), please rate it and leave a comment after the recipe card. And if you love it so much you feel like shouting it from the rooftops on social, we definitely won’t mind!Print