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Homemade Yellow Cake with Strawberry Frosting




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strawberry cake with fresh strawberries

Homemade Yellow Cake with Strawberry Frosting ~ simple, homey, and fresh, this strawberry cake makes such a nice finish to an early spring meal, and it would look adorable studded with birthday candles.  

A slice of homemade strawberry cake with a fork and a glass of milk

This strawberry cake is my way of welcoming in spring

Everything comes early to Los Angeles, and spring is no exception.  I always know when it’s starting because I get no sleep. The other night I was up at 3 am and I knew right away what was happening.  The birds start singing hours before dawn!  I want to be annoyed, but how can I be?  Spring is a wonderful thing.  Anyway, no wonder I’ve got strawberries on the brain 🙂

Homemade Strawberry Cake on a platter

The pink strawberry cake is so pretty and spring-like, it would be appropriate for all the season’s occasions.

From baby showers to birthdays, for sure, but it’s also the kind of cake that looks right at home under a glass dome on the kitchen counter.  Go ahead and festoon it with fresh berries if you like, I happen to prefer to let the pretty swoops and swirls of pink frosting speak for themselves.

Strawberry layer cake with fresh strawberries

This is the perfect yellow cake recipe

The batter is nice and thick and silky, thanks to room temperature ingredients and a super thorough creaming

Have you read my Best Baking Tips for Layer Cakes?  I’m a big believer in taking the extra time to cream the butter, sugar, and eggs really well; it results in the best texture in the finished cake.  If you’ve had trouble with heavy or dense homemade cakes, make sure your ingredients are at room temperature, and that you cream your butter and sugar for a full 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl as you go.  Using a stand mixer is the best option.

Cake batter in pans

The difference between a white cake and a yellow cake

  • White cakes are made with egg whites only, and are sometimes made with cake flour, which results in an extra tender cake.
  • Yellow cake is made with whole eggs ~ it’s the egg yolks that gives it its golden color.  Yellow cake is a richer, sturdier cake over all.

Frosting a strawberry cake

How to make a fresh strawberry frosting

Strawberry frosting can be tricky to get right.  I had to go through a few trials before I was happy.  Basically the issue is that fresh strawberries contain a lot of moisture, and moisture is the enemy of a buttercream frosting; it makes it runny.  Some recipes will have you use freeze dried strawberry powder, some use strawberry extract, and some use jam, but none of these methods are what I’m after, which is more of a fresh strawberry flavor.  What’s my solution?

  • I puree a pint of fresh strawberries
  • Then I cook that down in a saucepan until it’s thick like strawberry butter and measures 1/4 cup.
  • I chill the thick puree and whip it up with my frosting ingredients.  The result is a subtle, but fresh strawberry flavor.
  • Cream cheese and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice add a welcome tang and help emphasize the fruit flavor.
  • I add a little bit of corn starch, which you can’t taste, but helps to absorb moisture and thicken the frosting.

Fresh strawberries on a cutting board

I like the subtle combination of the yellow cake with the strawberry frosting, but if you’d like more of a strawberry presence in the cake itself, you have a couple of options…

  • Add chopped strawberries to the batter.
  • You can also add a layer of sliced strawberries between the layers.

a yellow cake with strawberry frosting, cut open

Strawberry desserts are a specialty around here!

a slice of Homemade yellow cake with strawberry frosting

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strawberry cake with fresh strawberries
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4.8 from 10 votes

Homemade Strawberry Cake

Homemade Yellow Cake with Strawberry Frosting ~ simple, homey, and fresh, this strawberry cake makes such a nice finish to an early spring meal, and it would look adorable studded with birthday candles.  
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Yield 10 servings

Equipment

  • two 8-inch cake pans
  • blender or food processor to puree the strawberries
  • stand mixer (optional)

Ingredients

  • 1 pint or about 12 strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

cake

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks (or 1 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (you can use almond if you prefer)
  • 1 1/4 cups cultured buttermilk (you can use half & half, or milk)

frosting

  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 5 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line two 8-inch cake pans with a round of parchment paper.
  • Trim the tops from the strawberries and add them to a high speed blender like Vitamix, or a food processor. Blend until they're smoothly pureed. Put the puree and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove. Turn the heat down to medium and let the puree boil for about 15-20 minutes until it is thickened to 1/4 cup. Watch carefully and stir often so it doesn't scorch. Scrape the thick puree into a jar and refrigerate until completely chilled. This is going to be the strawberry componant of your frosting.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  • To make the cake, cream the sugar and butter together in a stand mixer for a solid 5 minutes, scraping down the sides a couple of times to get everything well incorporated. You can use a hand held electric beater, but be sure to cream until light and fluffy. This step helps create a lovely texture in your cake.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat well in between each egg, and scrape down the sides of the bowl between each egg as well. Blend in the extract.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture, and then, when it is almost all the way incorporated, add the buttermilk. Mix just until combined. Finish mixing the batter by hand to blend in everything from the bottom of the bowl.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the pans and spread out evenly. Bake for 35 minutes, or until risen and the top springs back when lightly touched. A toothpick should come out clean. Let the pans cool on a rack for 15 minutes before turning out of the pans to cool completely before frosting. Note: do not frost the cakes until they are completely cool.
  • While the cakes are baking, make the frosting, I like to chill it in the refrigerator to give it a chance to firm up before I use it. I use my stand mixer again for this, but you can use electric beaters if you prefer.
  • Cream the butter, cream cheese, and strawberry puree (1/4 cup) together, then start adding the sifted sugar, one cup at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often. You should end up with a creamy thick frosting. If it seems too thin, beat in the cornstarch and/or a little more sugar. If it seems too thick, add a bit of lemon juice. Cover with plastic and refrigerate. The frosting will thicken up a little bit as it chills. When you're ready to frost the cake, give the frosting a fresh beating.
  • After frosting the cake, keep refrigerated.

Homemade Strawberry Cake Pin

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18 Comments

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  • Reply
    Jennie Vian
    May 25, 2020 at 10:42 am

    5 stars
    I made this recipe for my husbands birthday and it was a big hit!! Thanks as usual for an amazing recipe!! I used a small 5 layer set of cake pans so it had lots of layers – super delicious and we topped slices with sliced strawberries!!

  • Reply
    Adrienne
    April 17, 2020 at 7:13 am

    I am looking forward to making this for my husband’s birthday this weekend. Okay to make the cakes the night before and leave on counter until the next day and then frost?

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 17, 2020 at 7:37 am

      Yes, be sure to wrap the completely cooled cakes in plastic wrap, individually.

    • Reply
      Adrienne
      April 19, 2020 at 8:54 pm

      5 stars
      My daughter and I made this cake today for my husband’s birthday and we all loved it. It makes a pretty cake and we added fresh strawberry slices for decoration. It does take a long time to make but is worth it. I’d make it again for a special occasion.

  • Reply
    KANEEZ FARID
    April 11, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    Hi Sue,

    Is it possible to use raspberries and strawberry combo for the frosting?? Most stores were out?

    Thanks

  • Reply
    Judith
    April 10, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    Hi Sue,

    I really love your recipes, your pictures and I already made so many! Almost everything turned out perfect.
    But this cake was so compact, not fluffy at all, the frosting sooooo sweet … What flour did you use? I live in Europe so flours are different … I’m really looking for the perfect vanilla cake American style!
    Yesterday I had to make the pita bread again… it is perfect and me family loves it…

    Thanks Judith

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 11, 2020 at 6:31 am

      Hi Judith! I use all purpose flour here in the US. I would call the texture light but not fluffy like boxed cake mixes tend to be, this one has that distinctive homemade texture. It depends on you really creaming that butter and sugar for 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl. Also be sure you measure that flour correctly, if you use metric, a cup would be 125 grams. Hope this helps, and glad you loved the pita bread!!

    • Reply
      Annie
      June 11, 2020 at 8:57 pm

      Hi! In your ingredients you said baking powder but in the instructions you put baking soda. Which is it?

      • Reply
        Sue
        June 12, 2020 at 4:25 am

        Not sure where you’re seeing soda, Annie, it’s baking powder in both.

  • Reply
    KANEEZ FARID
    April 10, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    Hi there,

    I was searching for this type of cake and was happy to find your recipe!!! Is it possible to make this with a plant based milk with some apple cider vinegar to make it into buttermilk?? I was going to replace the butter with vegan butter as well. Thank you

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 10, 2020 at 9:48 pm

      I think that would work fine Kaneez.

      • Reply
        KANEEZ FARID
        April 11, 2020 at 8:19 am

        5 stars
        Thank you.

  • Reply
    gran
    March 6, 2020 at 11:55 am

    This cake looks amazing! I have one problem, I am one of those people that cannot stand the taste of the tangy cream cheese. What, if anything, could I use.? Thanks!
    Gran

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 6, 2020 at 3:31 pm

      First let me say that you don’t really taste the cream cheese ‘as such’ in the frosting, but you can leave it out if you like, just add a bit more butter. Normally I might suggest sour cream, but that might be too soft with the strawberry puree.

  • Reply
    Par
    March 6, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Here in Ohio strawberries are not good yet in the stores. Can I use frozen?

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 6, 2020 at 10:21 am

      Yes that will work just as well ~ thaw them, then puree, then cook down.

  • Reply
    Nan
    March 6, 2020 at 8:29 am

    I can’t wait to make this. It sounds delightful and looks so pretty. This recipe, along with your recent tips for bakers screams “Winner Winner” !

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 6, 2020 at 8:35 am

      Thanks Nan, I can vouch for the winner winner part, it’s pretty tasty 😉