Go Back
strawberry cake recipe by sugar and sparrow

Homemade Strawberry Layer Cake

Layers of fluffy, flavorful strawberry cake and strawberry buttercream. Flavored with the perfect combination of fresh and freeze-dried strawberries.


Strawberry Layer Cake

  • 3/4 lb (12oz) fresh strawberries, pureed and reduced to 1/2 cup
  • 3/4 Cup (180ml) whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 Cups (255g) cake flour, sifted before measuring
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 Cup (170g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 Cups (350g) granulated white sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 Cup (75g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 drops pink food coloring, optional

Strawberry Buttercream

  • 2 Cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 Cups (34g) freeze dried strawberries
  • 6 Tbsp (90ml) whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 7 Cups (840g) powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt


Make the Strawberry Layer Cake

  1. Start by pureeing 3/4 lbs of fresh strawberries with a food processor. Afterwards, you should be left with about 1 cup of puree. Place the strawberry puree into a saucepan over medium-low heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. When you’re done with the reduction, you should have about 1/2 cup (if you have more, keep cooking!). Place the reduced puree into an airtight container and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes, or until it reaches room temperature. Then, whisk it together with the whole milk and set aside.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare three 6-inch or two 9-inch cake pans by spraying the sides with cooking spray and fitting the bottoms with wax or parchment paper circles. In a medium sized bowl, place the sifted cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk to combine. 

  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, whip the butter on high for one minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat on medium for another 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer to low and add the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is incorporated before adding the next, then turn the mixer to high and beat for 1 minute.

  4. Turn the mixer to low and add the vanilla and sour cream until incorporated. Keeping the mixer on low, add all of the dry ingredients at once until just combined, then add the strawberry milk mixture and pink food coloring (if using) until just combined, about 30 seconds. Give the batter a few stirs by hand to make sure everything is incorporated without over-mixing. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans, no more than 2/3 full.

  5. Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for five minutes, after which you can turn them out and continue to cool them on a wire rack or sheet pan for several hours.

Make the Strawberry Buttercream

  1. With a food processor, grind the freeze-dried strawberries into a fine powder and set aside. Whip the butter using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed until it’s creamy and light in color (5-10 minutes). Add vanilla, milk, and strawberry powder and continue to mix on medium for 1 minute.

  2. Add the powdered sugar a few cups at a time, scraping down the bowl and paddle after each addition. Add the salt and mix on low for another 30 seconds.


  1. After cooling and leveling the strawberry cake layers, fill and frost with strawberry buttercream. To create the look pictured, create a smooth buttercream finish with the strawberry buttercream. Then, divide the remaining buttercream amongst two piping bags – one fitted with Wilton Tip 1M and one fitted with Wilton Tip 4B. Pipe rosettes and stars in a crescent moon shape on top of the cake and as accents on the side of the cake. Finish the look by garnishing with fresh sliced strawberries and chamomile flowers.

Recipe Notes

Make Ahead Tips: 

  1. You can make the reduced strawberry puree up to one week before using in the cake recipe and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you're ready to make the cake. Just bring it back to room temperature by letting it sit on the counter for at least an hour. 
  2. The cake layers can be made ahead and stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to two days. Alternatively, you can wrap them and store in the freezer for up to two months before thawing and decorating. 
  3. The buttercream can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. When you're ready to use it, bring it back to room temperature and re-whip with your stand mixer on low for one minute to bring it back to frosting consistency.

To make this recipe as cupcakes: fill tins no more than 2/3 full and bake at 350ºF for 15-17 minutes.