This wonderfully vintage strawberry cake recipe uses the best of all worlds : a cake mix to make it quick, fresh strawberries to enjoy the bounty of the season AND a strawberry buttercream frosting that will blow your mind!
Retro Strawberry Cake
Now, I don’t mind a homemade strawberry cake (I love my strawberry bundt cake!) but what a lot of baker’s don’t talk about is that strawberries don’t always yield the strongest flavor and when making cakes that translates into a lighter, sometimes barely noticeable taste. Yes, when you condense and boil strawberries in a sauce, you get flavor. When you make a jam, same thing.
But simply adding fresh strawberries into a cake, even if it’s condensed mixture, realle doesn’t give you a KAPOW of strawberry flavor.
Strawberry Jello and a Cake Mix
Enter the 1960’s and their love of Jello in everything.
Strawberry jello gives you that taste KAPOW and color (which I mean, let’s face it, pink cake is the bomb.) And believe it or not, it actually helps to REDUCE the amount of sugar you need in a strawberry cake recipe to make up for those tart berries.
I really have to laugh when people get a hate on for a packet of Jello, then POUR TWO CUPS OF SUGAR INTO THEIR CAKE RECIPE! Hahahah!! I mean, come on that’s hilarious! I get it if you don’t want gelatin, but when people fuss that it’s a pacakged product? Oh my. Let’s talk about refined white sugar!
How to Make Strawberry Cake
This is a super easy recipe, but it still takes some time. We make a homemade cream cheese strawberry buttercream icing, and we take the time to frost the cake up nicely. The easiest part is baking the cake!
- Combine cake ingredients.
- Pour the batter into two 8 inch round pans,
- Bake the cakes until done.
- Cool the cakes ( freeze if desired!)
- Prepare the frosting
- Frost the cakes!
How to Store This Cake
This cake is better when it’s refrigerated, as the icing needs to stay cool otherwise because between the butter, cream cheese and fresh strawberries it won’t last long. You can refrigerate it until the outer layer of icing is hard ( around 30-45 minutes) THEN cover it with plastic wrap to keep the moisture in. This can be made the day before and kept in the fridge. Simply bring it back to almost room temperature to slice and serve!
More Fresh Strawberry Recipes
This is one of my new favorite ways to welcome summertime strawberries, though nothing beats a strawberry pretzel salad or upside down strawberry rhubarb cake! Happy baking, I hope you give this one a whirl! Let me know in the comments below if you tried it!
And if you are brave….try my lemon buttercream frosting on this…. I can’t imagine that it would be a bad combo!
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Classic Strawberry Cake
- Prep Time
- 30 minutes
- Cook Time
- 30 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 1 box Vanilla Cake Mix
- one 3 ounce box strawberry gelatin mix (Jell-O)
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup crushed fresh strawberries
- 1/2 cup salted butter softened
- 1/2 cup cream cheese softened
- 1 cup crushed strawberries
- 4-6 cups icing/confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Strawberry Cake Directions
- Preheat your oven to 350°. Prepare the 2 cups of crushed strawberries,
- Grease two 8 inch round baking pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the top of the parchment paper as well.
- In a large bowl attached to a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, add the cake mix and gelatin. Whisk together until combined.
- Add in the milk, oil and eggs
- Beat the mixture on low speed for 30 seconds, then beat on medium 2 minutes. ( just like regular cake mix instructions on the box)
- Mix in one cup of crushed strawberries on low speed.
- Divide the batter between the two pans evenly.
- Tap the pans on the counter gently a few times to release the air bubbles.
- Place the pans into the oven.
- Bake the cakes until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 30-35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool the cakes in the pans for around 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks, flipping over gently, then remove the parchment paper.
- Cool the cakes on the rack completely. IF baking on a hot day, freezing the cake layers helps when icing it! Simply place in your freezer (not stacked or they will stick!) for an hour or two to completely chill them.
- In a large bowl attached to a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy and smooth. Add in the cream cheese, and beat again until smooth.
- Beat in a half cup of crushed strawberries and the vanilla extract.
- Gradually beat in enough confectioners’ sugar to reach desired consistency and sweetness.
- Assemble the cake by placing the first layer on the serving plate or platter you will use to serve. Spread some icing over the top, then place the remaining 1/2 cup of crushed strawberries on top in the very middle. (see photo)
- Place the other cake layer on top, pushing down gently to spread out the crushed strawberries in the middle, but try not to let the filling leak out the sides. Spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake to cover.
- Place the iced cake in the refrigerator and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. The icing needs to get nice and cold to set for slicing.
- When ready to serve, remove the cake from the refrigerator and slice.
- I used 6 cups of icing sugar for my icing. How much you use will depend on how juicy your strawberries are, how much water content is in your butter and cream cheese , and your own personal tastes.
- This needs to be refrigerated for a few hours before eating!
- You don't need to use all of the icing. If desired, halve the recipe and make a thin glaze instead. It all depends on how much icing sugar you add.
- Freeze any leftover icing!
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.