My Easy Strawberry Cake recipe is a simple white layer cake filled with bright strawberry jam, frosted with an almond buttercream, and festooned with a lovely wreath of fresh berries. Nobody needs to know it all starts with a cake mix 🙂
A doctored cake mix can be a beautiful thing, when you know what you’re doing. A couple of simple changes can make a good quality mix like Duncan Hines tastes so much more like homemade. For this classic white cake mix I used buttermilk in place of the water, and flavor extract to bring out its best. If you like cakes with a light fluffy texture, you’ll have a hard time finding a homemade cake that tops it.
The time you save on the cake is well spent on a creamy homemade frosting (this is one thing I don’t ever buy ready-made) and the little extra effort it takes to decorate the top with that berrylicious crown.
I’ve had this cake in mind for a while now, and I was just waiting to spot decent strawberries at the grocery store. But oddly it was the chamomile flowers I found first, and then went in search of berries. The tiny flowers are such a harbinger of spring, and if you want to take the theme a step further you can actually flavor your cake with a packet of chamomile tea. I didn’t go that far, but I love the look, to me they look a lot like strawberry blossoms.
How to decorate a plain cake with a fruit and (edible) flower wreath~
Did you wear a flower head wreath when you got married? I did! This is such a fabulous way to adorn a plain cake, and takes very little skill to pull off.
- Use small fruit such as berries, and make sure they’re in tip top shape.
- raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, or wild berries work well.
- Most berries will be used whole, but strawberries, unless super small, should be sliced in half lengthwise.
- Include some sort of greenery, either the natural strawberry tops, or bright mint leaves, etc. to give a wreath like effect. Use delicate stems if they’re attached to your berries.
- Small edible flowers like the chamomile blossoms I used work perfectly as accents. Any edible flowers will work if you don’t have chamomile flowers on hand.
- Tiny dandelions, daisies, white impatiens, pansies, jasmine, mini roses, or honeysuckle blossoms would all look just as nice. A white and yellow theme looks extra spring-y with the strawberries.
- Arrange the fruit along the outer edge of the cake, starting with your largest elements, and then filling in with the smaller leaves and blossoms. Don’t bee too precise, go for a natural look.
- Use restraint, and keep it spare and simple.
The simple vanilla buttercream frosting is the one my mother always made for family birthday cakes, and I’ve never had any reason to stray from it.
Other than the fact that I use cream and she used milk to thin it down, it’s straight from her recipe file. It’s simple to whip up, and I love the texture. It’s one of those frostings that hardens on the very outer edge, so when you slice into it there’s a little bit of crackling. It’s intensely sweet (no apologies here,) not too buttery, and, in this case, flavored with almond extract which I adore.
I meant to minimally frost the sides of my cake naked cake style, but I didn’t quite achieve the effect I was going for…still working on that 😉 But however you choose to frost the sides, this cake is elegant enough for any celebration, from Mother’s Day and Easter, to a bridal or baby shower.
If you make this cake or try this technique I’d love to see, tag me on Instagram @theviewfromgreatisland!
Strawberry bakes are perfect for spring entertaining ~
- Strawberry Buttermilk Cake ~ this cake has been super popular on the blog, and it’s one of those uber simple but versatile recipes that can go from breakfast and brunch to dessert.
- Strawberry Crumble Pie ~ you’ll make this pie in high season, when you have so many juicy strawberries you don’t know what to do with them all.
- Strawberry Shortcake Scones ~ perfect for treating someone special, like Mom, maybe?
- Strawberries and Cream Tart ~ a classic!
Go ahead, take a big bite, you know you want to!
Easy Strawberry Cake
- 15 ounce white or yellow cake mix
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil, I use safflower
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp almond extract
- approximately 1 cup strawberry jam
- 1/2 cup (one stick, 8 Tbsp) at room temperature butter
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 5 Tbsp heavy cream, more if needed
- about 15 small to medium strawberries sliced lengthwise
- small edible flowers, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350F (or according to your cake mix instructions)
- Lightly butter and flour two 9 inch cake pans and set aside.
- Whisk together the cake mix, eggs, oil, buttermilk, and extract until well mixed and there are no large lumps. Small lumps are ok. Divide evenly into the two prepared cake pans and bake according to your cake mix instructions. For me it was about 23 minutes. The cake should be risen and not wobbly or wet looking in the middle. Cool for 15 minutes before removing cakes from the pans. Let cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting beat the soft butter with the sugar, extract, and the cream until it becomes smooth and spreadable. Add more cream to loosen it, or more sugar to firm it up.
- Place one layer of the cooled cake, flat side up, on a platter. Spread the top evenly with the jam.
- Place the second layer on top of the jam. Frost the top of the cake generously, and then skim coat the sides of the cake to give it a 'naked cake ' look. Alternatively you can completely frost the sides, it's up to you.
- Platce the berries around the outer edge of the top of the cake, in a wreath-like pattern. If you're using blossoms, add them as well. Note: I like to add the fruit and flowers shortly before serving.
- Use an extra box mix and create a 4 layer cake for an extra special occasion.
- Chocolate cake mix? Why not!