This strawberry cake is perfect for strawberry lovers! Moist, tender strawberry cake layers flavored with real strawberries and frosted with Shortcut Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. This cake is the perfect treat for strawberry lovers and completely made from scratch!
If you love the taste of strawberries, this is definitely a great, easy strawberry cake recipe to try!
We are flavoring the cake layers with real strawberries in the form of strawberry reduction which is a concentrated strawberry puree for fresh strawberry flavor. The addition of sour cream and buttermilk adds great moisture to the cake layers. For this cake, we will be using a reverse creaming method to create a tender crumb.
Ingredients for Strawberry Cake
- All-purpose flour – Regular all-purpose flour works great in this recipe as we will be using a “reverse creaming” method. (See: How to Make Strawberry Cake)
- Granulated sugar – For sweetness.
- Baking powder + baking soda – Leavening agents to help the cake layers rise when baking.
- Salt – Enhances the flavor of the cake and balances the sweetness.
- Unsalted butter – Room temperature. Cut the butter into cubes as we are using the reverse creaming method. (See: How to Make Strawberry Cake)
- Strawberry reduction – Cooked and pureed strawberries. Check out my post on how to make it here!
- Egg whites – Room temperature. You can use fresh egg whites or egg whites from a carton.
- Sour cream – Room temperature. Adds moisture to the cake layers.
- Vanilla extract – Pure vanilla extract adds amazing flavor.
- Buttermilk – Room temperature.
- Pink gel food coloring – This is optional, but a couple drops of pink gel food coloring creates a beautiful pink color.
How to Make Strawberry Cake
For this cake, we are going to be using something called a “reverse creaming method”.
In many cake recipes, the butter and sugar are first “creamed” or mixed until they are well combined and become light and fluffy. Then eggs are added, and then the dry ingredients and wet ingredients are alternated to make the cake batter.
Reverse creaming means adding the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, leavening agents, and salt) to a bowl and mixed on low speed. Then, add room temperature butter to the flour mixture and mix into the dry ingredients to create a crumbly texture. And finally, the add the liquid ingredients and mix. To make life easier, I recommend using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to make this recipe.
The goal of reverse creaming is to minimize the formation of gluten in the cake. The less gluten, the more tender the cake. By first combining the butter with the dry ingredients, the butter is fully coated in the flour which prevents the formation of gluten. This will lead to a finer crumb and wonderful texture!
Check out my blog posts on Strawberry Shortcut Swiss Meringue Buttercream to find more information on how to make this delicious buttercream frosting!
Strawberry Cake Recipe Tips
Room temperature ingredients
To create the perfect texture and crumb in the strawberry cake, be sure that all of the chilled ingredients (butter, egg whites, sour cream, buttermilk) are at room temperature. If the ingredients are all the same temperature, they combine more easily which makes for a great texture and crumb.
Pink gel food coloring
This ingredient is optional, but highly recommended. Without the added color, the strawberry cake layers bake and have a muted pink color. A couple drops of pink gel color amps up the pink color of the cake layers to make them more visually appealing. You could also use red gel color if desired. Gel food coloring is highly concentrated so a little goes a long way!
Assembling the cake
For this cake, I filled and frosted the cake with Strawberry Shortcut Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Use a cookie scoop to portion the frosting in between layers. Add a crumb coat with an offset spatula and chill the cake for 30 minutes. Apply a thick coat of frosting to the chilled cake and smooth the icing on the sides using a cake scraper. I left a raw edge on the top of this cake and added fresh strawberries for decor. Decorate the cake however you would like! Be creative and have fun!
Storing and serving
Store the frosted strawberry cake in an airtight container or cake box in the refrigerator for up to five days. Cover any exposed cake with a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap to prevent the cake from drying out. Serve the strawberry cake at room temperature. Remove the cake from the refrigerator at least one hour before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is strawberry reduction?
Strawberry reduction is one of the star ingredients in both the cake and buttercream. Strawberry reduction is cooked strawberries that are blended to create a smooth, concentrated strawberry sauce. Check out my blog post on How to Make Strawberry Reduction to learn more!
Can I use different size pans?
Yes, absolutely! For this recipe, I used three 7-inch cake pans. Here is the breakdown for different pan sizes.
The baking times will vary slightly depending on your pan size. Insert a toothpick in the center of the cake layer to see if the cake is done baking. If the cake layer is ready, it will come out clean. You can also give the cake a gentle poke and it will bounce back. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes and then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Are raw egg whites safe to eat in the strawberry buttercream?
Yes! The key to being able to enjoy this Strawberry Shortcut Swiss Meringue Buttercream is to use pasteurized egg whites. Pasteurization removes potentially harmful bacteria from the egg whites. I do not recommend using fresh egg whites for buttercream.
Can I use regular milk in place of buttermilk?
Yes, you can. However, I highly recommend using the buttermilk for the best texture and flavor. If you are fresh out of buttermilk, you can make a buttermilk substitute! Check out my baking tutorial blog post on How to Make Buttermilk Substitute!
Can I make cupcakes out of the cake batter?
Believe it or not, cake batter and cupcake batter are not the same, unless you are using a boxed cake mix. The formulation of ingredients can be different as they can act differently while baking. Check out my recipe for Strawberry Cupcakes if you are looking for a strawberry cupcake!
- Stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or electric hand mixer for the strawberry cake batter
- Stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or electric hand mixer for the strawberry buttercream
- 3 – 7" or 8" round cake pans see: FAQ for additional sizes
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter room temperature, cubed
- 5 egg whites room temperature
- ¼ cup sour cream room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup strawberry reduction click here for the recipe
- ¾ cup buttermilk room temperature
- 1-2 drops pink gel food coloring optional
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and parchment circles (see pan sizes in FAQ).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer, mix together all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low speed until combined.
- Add cubed room temperature butter one piece at a time while mixing on low speed until all the butter is added. Continue to mix until the mixture resembles wet sand and is crumbly.
- Turn the mixer off. Add in egg whites, sour cream, vanilla extract and strawberry reduction. Turn the mixer to medium speed and mix for one minute.
- Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly drizzle in the buttermilk. Once all the buttermilk is added, scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl to ensure all the ingredients are well incorporated. Mix for an additional 30 seconds on low speed.
- Portion the cake batter into the prepared cake pans. Use a kitchen scale to ensure the layers have equal amounts of batter.
- Bake the cake layers for 25-30 minutes. The cake layers are done baking when an inserted toothpick comes out clean or the cake bounces back when gently poked.
- Remove the pans from the oven. Allow the cake layers to cool in the pans for 15 minutes before removing the cake and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Strawberry Shortcut Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine pasteurized liquid egg whites and powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure the ingredients are well combined.
- Turn the speed to medium-high and whip the egg white mixture until thick and opaque, approximately 3 minutes. (Note – the egg white mixture will not whip up to stiff peaks)
- Add in salt and vanilla extract and continue to mix until combined.
- Turn the mixer to low speed. Add room temperature butter, one tablespoon at a time, until all the butter is added. Allow the butter to mix for a few seconds in between each addition of butter.
- Once the butter is added, turn the mixer to medium-high speed and whip the buttercream for 5-10 minutes. The buttercream may appear to curdle or separate – this is normal – just continue to whip the frosting. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally while whipping.
- Once the buttercream appears smooth and creamy, add in the strawberry reduction and mix on medium speed until well combined into the frosting. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is well combined.
- Once the buttercream is smooth and silky it is ready to use, if desired, you can switch to the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for several minutes to remove air bubbles and make the buttercream very smooth.
Assembling the Strawberry Cake
- Level the cake layers with a serrated knife. Place one cake layer on a cake board or plate. Add desired amount of frosting to the top of the layer and spread evenly. Continue to repeat this process until the layers are stacked.
- Spread a very thin layer of frosting all over the cake (crumb coat). Chill your cake for 30 minutes until the buttercream frosting is slightly firm to the touch.
- Frost and decorate the cake with the remaining strawberry buttercream. Add fresh strawberries for decoration, if desired.