Ditch the boxed mix and artificial flavors and make this easy, moist strawberry sheet cake from scratch. It’s made with fresh strawberries and a slightly tangy whipped strawberry cream cheese frosting that’ll impress your friends and family.
When spring and summer come around, strawberry season is in full swing, and fresh strawberry sheet cake is one of my favorite desserts for gatherings. I love serving it with a scoop of vanilla or roasted strawberry ice cream for a cool and refreshing treat.
When you’re short on time, like I am with a busy schedule of raising three kids, baking an easy recipe is just what you need. This moist strawberry cake is easy to make from scratch, has fresh flavors, and has no artificial ingredients.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easy to make. This strawberry sheet cake uses simple baking ingredients. Fresh strawberries are gently pureed and added straight to the batter, no need to cook and reduce!
- Fresh, sweet strawberry flavor from scratch. No jello or cake mix necessary! The sweet flavor of fresh strawberries shines in this cake and whipped cream cheese frosting.
- Ideal for spring and summer gatherings. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, BBQs, birthdays, Sunday family dinners or even a weeknight treat are a great time for serving strawberry sheet cake.
Ingredients You'll Need
For the strawberry cake, we’re using:
- Cake flour. This will produce a soft, tender crumb.
- All-purpose flour. Balances the structure of the cake so it’s not too soft and tender.
- Baking powder and baking soda. Leavening agents that help the cake to rise and have a fluffy texture.
- Salt. Enhances the sweetness of the cake.
- Unsalted butter. Use softened to room temperature butter (it should be slightly firm to the touch, yet leave the impression of your finger when you press into it).
- Granulated sugar. Adds just enough sweetness to the cake.
- Eggs. Contributes to the structure of the cake and adds moisture and richness. Bring them to room temperature.
- Vanilla. For the best flavor, always use pure vanilla extract when possible.
- Milk. Moistens the cake batter and adds flavor. Make sure to use room temperature whole milk.
- Fresh strawberries for the lightly pureed strawberries. Lightly puree fresh strawberries in a food processor until thin enough to mix into the cake batter but not completely smooth so you can still see small pieces of strawberry.
NOTE: Fresh strawberries yield the best flavor and texture, but you can use completely thawed frozen strawberries that are strained from any excess liquid.
For the strawberry cream cheese frosting, we’re using:
- Cream cheese. Super important to bring to room temperature for a smooth and creamy frosting. Use the block type of cream cheese and not the whipped cream cheese!
- Unsalted butter. Use room temperature softened butter to easily combine with the cream cheese.
- Powdered sugar. Adds the sweetness and will create a spreadable consistency.
- Vanilla. Just like in the cake batter, use pure vanilla extract.
- Fresh strawberries for strawberry puree. Make enough strawberry puree for the cupcakes and frosting. You can even make it the day before and store it in the refrigerator overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.
How To Make Strawberry Cake (Step-By-Step)
Note: Begin by greasing a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter and dust with flour, shaking off the excess. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C.
- Sift dry ingredients. Sift the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.
- Cream butter and sugar. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Add eggs and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then mix in the vanilla. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add dry ingredients and milk. In three parts, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk until the batter is just combined. Do not overmix the batter.
- Add strawberry puree. Gently fold in the strawberry puree until evenly combined.
- Transfer to the baking pan. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and spread it evenly.
- Bake the cake. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake is set and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
How To Make Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (Step-By-Step)
- Beat cream cheese and butter. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.
- Add powdered sugar. Beat in the powdered sugar on low speed. If the mixer is too high, the sugar will make a mess on the counter.
- Add strawberry puree and vanilla. Beat in the strawberry puree and vanilla until evenly combined.
- Beat the frosting. Increase the mixer to high and beat the frosting for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Use room temperature ingredients (butter, eggs, milk, strawberry puree, and cream cheese) so the cake batter and frosting come together and blend evenly.
- Use a kitchen scale for accuracy. Weighing ingredients will give you accurate results. Plus, you can measure ingredients into the bowl with fewer utensils to clean.
- Sift the flour to break up any lumps so it will blend smoothly with the wet ingredients.
- Don’t overbake the cake. The cake is done when it starts to pull from the sides of the pan, and when you gently press into the top of the cake, it will spring back.
- Cool the cake before frosting it. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting. Otherwise, you will have melted frosting on your cake plate.
Here are some ways you could tweak this strawberry cake to your preference:
- Make it a mixed berry cake. Using the same process to make the strawberry puree, you can use a mixture of your favorite berries.
- Add a chocolate element. Chocolate and strawberries go well together (chocolate covered strawberries anyone?). You can top this cake with easy chocolate ganache like this cookie dough cake or use decadent chocolate buttercream.
- Make it gluten free. Substitute a good quality cup-for-cup gluten free baking flour for the cake and all-purpose flour. If using cup measurements, spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level it off with the back of a knife.
- Make cake flour. If you don’t have cake flour on hand, measure 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and replace 3 tablespoons with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Make sure to whisk them together to combine.
- Substitute buttermilk. You can substitute an equal amount of buttermilk for the whole milk.
Here’s how to store cake:
- In the refrigerator. The frosted strawberry sheet cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.
- In the freezer. Wrap the strawberry cake with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Note: I don’t recommend freezing whole frosted cakes. For the best texture, freeze the sheet cake and decorate it up to 1 day before serving.
You can substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour, but the cake will not be as tender.
You can evenly divide this batter into two round 9-inch cake pans and begin checking for doneness at 20-25 minutes.
This recipe is best as a cake and will not create moist, bouncy, and tender cupcakes. Instead, try making Strawberry Filled Cupcakes.
You can add some freeze-dried strawberries (made into powder in the food processor). I only recommend adding just enough for some color. If you add too much, it will change the overall strawberry flavor.
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Please leave a starred rating and comment below if you make this Fresh Strawberry Sheet Cake. I love reading your feedback! And if you’d like to make this recipe later, don’t forget to pin it on Pinterest! Happy Baking!Print