Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream has layers of moist cake, strawberry buttercream, and fresh strawberries. It’s a perfect summer dessert, but can also be prepared during the off season using frozen strawberries. If you’ve been seeking a homemade strawberry cake recipe, you’re going to love this recipe!
If there’s any time of the year to enjoy strawberries, it’s right now.
Maybe I’m craving them because of my lack of success with strawberry in the garden. I was so excited about the prospect of fresh strawberries that I bought not one, but two plants!
I believe that so far they have yielded me 4-5 berries total. And I must say, they were some tasty strawberries.
This moist, delicious layer cake is full of flavor. I adapted a recipe from Sweetapolita (one of my many blog crushes), and couldn’t have been happier with the results.
However, I did make a few changes. Her version is more of a strawberry jello cake. Since I’ve never used gelatin in a layer cake (or any cake), I decided to omit it.
Rosie says that strawberry gelatin adds great color and flavor, so I decided to ramp up the other ingredients, adding orange juice, zest and fresh strawberries in between the layers. For the frosting, I used an Italian meringue buttercream because, well, meringue buttercream is awesome.
- For my best layer cake tips, check out this tutorial.
- Meringue buttercream makes this cake so much lighter than buttercreams prepared using confectioners’ sugar. However, I realize it’s a more advanced recipe. Check out this post for my best Italian Meringue Buttercream tips! If you’d prefer to use an American buttercream, check out this strawberry buttercream recipe from Barefeet in the Kitchen.
- I recommend purchasing 2 pints of strawberries to prepare the cake, though you might not need all of them. If you plan to decorate the top with fresh strawberries, it looks nice to have uniform berries with bright red exteriors. I like having an assortment to pick through, especially because sometimes there are some not so fresh berries hiding in the middle of the clamshell.
- I recommend using fresh strawberries when they’re in season, and frozen strawberries during the off season.
Looking For More Strawberry Recipes?
Check out my Strawberry Pie, Chocolate-Covered Strawberries, and Strawberry Vanilla Jam Crumb Bars!
Strawberry Layer Cake
For the Strawberry Cake
- 1/4 cup strawberry puree, room temperature (made from fresh or frozen strawberries)
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons pulp-free orange juice, preferably fresh squeezed
- 10 ounces all-purpose flour (see notes)
- 3 ounces cornstarch (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- zest of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon)
- 12 ounces granulated sugar (see notes)
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- Fresh strawberries for layering and topping the cake
- Whipped cream for topping the cake, optional
For the Strawberry Buttercream
- 16 ounces granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon corn syrup, optional, helps prevent crystallization
- 6 large egg whites
- 20 ounces unsalted butter, cubed at at room temperature
- 1/2 cup strawberry puree
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pulp-free orange juice, preferably fresh squeezed
- Red food coloring, optional
- To make strawberry puree, place a handful of fresh or frozen strawberries in a blender and puree until smooth. Divide into 1/4 cup for the cake and 1/2 cup for the buttercream.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8 or 9-inch nonstick cake pans. I recommend spraying a tiny bit of baking spray in the bottom of each pan, then line each one with parchment rounds. You can use butter and flour if you prefer, but don't grease the sides. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the puree, milk, vanilla, and orange juice. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and zest.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn down the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl after each egg.
- Swiftly alternate between adding the dry and wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry. Scrape down the bowl once more to ensure there are no dry patches.
- Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Spread the tops evenly with a small offset spatula.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool for several minutes in the pan. Carefully invert onto cardboard cake rounds lined with parchment. Allow to cool completely. Once cool, you can wrap the cakes well in plastic wrap and store them at room temperature for two days, the refrigerator for five days, or the freezer for several months.
For the Buttercream
- Add sugar, water and corn syrup (if using) to a medium sauce pot; do not stir. Cover, and turn the heat to high.
- While the sugar is coming to a simmer, whisk the eggs on high in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Remove the cover from the sauce pot after some steam has formed. Cook the sugar to the soft boil stage, 235-240 degrees F.
- Turn the mixer speed down to medium and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl. Once the syrup is incorporated, turn the speed up to high and allow the meringue to continue forming a stiff peak.
- Mix on high speed until the meringue reaches room temperature. Once the meringue reaches room temperature, slowly begin incorporating the butter. Next, slowly add the strawberry puree, orange juice and food coloring.
- Place the first layer of cake on a revolving cake stand. I prefer to leave the bottom cake round in place so it's easy to transfer the finished cake to a display stand (but remember to remove the parchment paper!).
- Spread approximately one cup of buttercream on top and spread it around evenly with an offset spatula. Layer thin strawberry slices on top of the buttercream. Top the strawberries with a bit more buttercream.
- Repeat with the second layer (remove the cake round this time).
- Place the 3rd layer on top. Frost with a thin layer of buttercream. Use an offset spatula to apply a thin layer of frosting to the sides, taking care to make sure the top and sides are even. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to set this first layer of buttercream.
- Cover the entire cake with a final layer of frosting. For decoration, I used some fresh cream whipped with sugar and vanilla, topped with strawberries.
Adapted from Sweetapolita (the original cake has been removed so I'm linking to the homepage).
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
For immediate help troubleshooting a recipe, please email me using the form on my contact page. I’ll try to respond to urgent questions as quickly as possible! For all general questions, please leave a comment here :)
Laura Dembowski (@piesandplots) says
I love layer cake almost as much as Italian meringue buttercream. It’s the best! I wish I could see the inside of the cake, as I bet it is as pretty as the outside. Your site is also gorgeous :)
meringue buttercream is the best!!!! especially with strawberry … lovely cake ^_^
I can’t tell you how long I looked for a recipe for a fresh strawberry cake! I love that you added orange juice. It’s just gorgeous & I look forward to trying it soon!
Savory Simple says
Let me know what you think!
Mama's Gotta Bake says
Superb frosting skills!
very pretty!! love the colour
So pretty. Perfect girly cake. Love strawberries
This cake looks so darn good! I want some. Now, please!
oh yum yum yum!
Beautiful cake. And thanks for stopping by my blog.
Donna @ The Slow Roasted Italian says
Oh Jen, this is divine! Fabulous summer cake. Well heck I am sure anytime it would be amazing.
I can’t find potato starch where I live. Can I substitute it with corn starch?
Jennifer Farley says
yes, that will work fine.
If you don’t want to use the potato starch do you just add the 3oz to the flour total?
Jennifer Farley says
Are you opposed to cornstarch? That would be a better swap. It will give you a nice soft cake. Otherwise, yes, 3 ounces of flour will be fine.
Glame' Grame says
Perhaps trying a touch of beet powder for coloring instead of food dye. It doesn’t have an effect on the flavor.
Jennifer Farley says
You can certainly try that!
Jennifer Blake says
You can’t go wrong with anything strawberry. This is so perfect. I never get a smooth outer layer of frosting!
What a dreamy cake! I love, love meringue buttercream! This creation is amazing!