A delicious, homemade-from-scratch best ever strawberry cake with a thick cream cheese frosting and garnished with sugared strawberries. The perfect cake for Mother’s Day!

Right in time for Mother’s Day, I’ve got you covered for dessert 🙂 This strawberry cake is relatively simple to make (no worrying about different pans and layering cakes with frosting in between), moist and flavorful, packed with strawberries, and it’s beautiful! And after your mom goes crazy over this cake, then you’ll want to use this recipe for all kinds of occasions – a baby shower (for a girl), a pink-themed party, a gorgeous Spring/Summer cake…there are so many times when you’ll need a delicious-from-scratch pink strawberry cake!

How do you make a strawberry cake with real strawberries?

The base of this strawberry cake has real strawberries in it! It also has an amazing topping of sugared strawberries making this cake quite the delicious strawberry treat!

To make this cake, you’ll start by beating the butter until smooth and then adding in the sugar. You’ll add in some lightly beaten eggs to this mixture and then some lemon juice. Why add lemon juice to this cake? A bit of lemon is as good as a dash of salt in bringing out the flavor in this cake. It really intensifies the delicious strawberry flavor all while keeping things tasting fresh and light. The acidity of the lemon is also important for the final texture of the cake. And then you’ll add in the buttermilk. You can definitely make your own buttermilk (remove 1 tablespoon from 1 cup of milk and replace that tablespoon with vinegar or lemon juice), but I do think this cake is best with a good store-bought buttermilk.

To keep this cake from being overmixed (and thus resulting in a denser cake) you’ll combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. You’ll sift together the flour and cornstarch a few times which is going to give you a bit of a “DIY cake flour”. You’ll get a finer crumb and a more moist cake without being overly dense. Then you’ll mix in the dry jell-o, baking soda, and salt. Once this mixture is combined, you’ll add it to the wet ingredients and beat the two until JUST combined. Again, you don’t want to overmix the cake batter here.

Finally, you’ll fold in those *real* finely chopped strawberries!
The cake gets baked and meanwhile you can make the delicious cream cheese frosting and sugared strawberries that will finish off this cake beautifully.

How do you make strawberry cream cake?
I call this a strawberries and cream cake because it’s got a delicious strawberry cake base and then a perfect cream cheese frosting to top it all off making it a “strawberry and cream” flavored dessert. I’ve talked a lot about making the cake, so let’s quickly cover that cream cheese frosting. The most important thing for the cream cheese frosting is to make sure the cream cheese and the butter are both at room temperature. This will give you the perfect smooth and creamy base for the frosting. You don’t want the cream cheese or butter melted, microwaved, or softened. They should both at the same room temperature for best results.

The one “secret” ingredient to my cream cheese frosting that I think makes it the best is vanilla bean paste. The paste has a more intense vanilla flavor and adds gorgeous flecks of beans to the frosting. I love what the paste does for this frosting, but pure vanilla extract also is delicious in it’s place.

How do you make a strawberry cake from scratch?
This strawberries and cream cake is from scratch, but I am aware that using a strawberry jell-o mix could be considered by some to be cheating 🙂 Honestly, I’ve tried dozens of strawberry cakes over the years and my favorites always have strawberry jell-o mix in them (which is why my recipe includes it as well). If you’re concerned about using the jell-o mix, you can use strawberry extracts or a reduced strawberry puree. Here is a recipe that does not include strawberry jell-o mix.

Strawberries and Cream Cake
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins

A delicious, homemade-from-scratch best ever strawberry cake with a thick cream cheese frosting and garnished with sugared strawberries. The perfect cake for Mother's Day!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 9 x 13 cake
Calories: 312 kcal
Author: Chelsea, adapted from MyRecipes


Strawberry Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups + 3 tablespoons white flour
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry jell-o mix, dry (not prepared)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or milk mixed with lemon juice--check notes)
  • Optional: 3-4 drops red food coloring
  • 2/3 cup finely diced fresh strawberries


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) full-fat cream cheese at room temperature, don't use low fat
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (OR 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar (depending on desired consistency; I usually use 3 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


  • 1 and 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • Get Ingredients Powered by Chicory


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan and set aside.
Beat the room temperature butter with hand mixers until light and creamy. Slowly add in the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.

In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs and then add to the butter mixture and mix. Add in the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Beat in the buttermilk. If desired, add in the red food coloring here too and mix that in.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and cornstarch 2-3 times and then add in the jell-o mix, baking soda, and salt. It is important to separate bowls so the cake isn't over-beaten which will result in a dense cake.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat at low speed until just combined.
Remove the stems from the strawberries and finely chop. Add in the finely chopped strawberries to the cake.
Pour the batter evenly in the prepared 9 x 13 pan.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
Cool the cake for at least one hour and then chill in the fridge for another hour.

Beat the softened butter and room temperature cream cheese until completely creamy. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar until smooth and your desired consistency.

Spread the frosting evenly over the cake.

Sugared Strawberry topping (optional)
Stir together the sliced strawberries and sugar in a medium bowl. Let them stand at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes. Add them to the cake ONLY when serving and not beforehand.

Recipe Notes:
*If you don't have buttermilk, remove 1 tablespoon from your milk and replace it with fresh lemon juice or white vinegar. Mix and allow to sit for 5 minutes before using.

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