This Easy Strawberry Layer Cake is a stunning dessert to serve for any occasion. It features three irresistible layers of pink cake, that are frosted with a fresh strawberry cream cheese icing. It’s the kind of cake you’ll want to make over and over again.
Easy Strawberry Layer Cake
I bake, ninety-five percent of the time, completely from scratch. It’s a fact that’s well demonstrated here in the recipe index on my website. Whether it’s strawberry shortcake, pound cake, cookies or homemade brownies, baking is my happy place. That being said, I also think that it’s perfectly acceptable to bake using a boxed cake mix from time to time. This recipe for strawberry layer cake is made with a “doctored” cake mix and no one will be able to tell.
Tips for Making Easy Strawberry Layer Cake
- For this recipe, don’t follow the directions on the back of the cake mix box, follow the written recipe.
- Cake mixes have continued to dwindle in volume over time which results in smaller cakes. The addition of flour to this recipe increases the volume and does an excellent job masking the obvious cake mix flavor.
- The sweetened jello not only heightens the strawberry flavor but, it also adds enough sweetness for the extra flour added to the mix.
- It’s very important to drain the mashed strawberries well before adding them to the frosting.
- The cream cheese frosting is softer, not stiff like a classic buttercream, due to the fresh strawberries.
- Place strips of waxed paper under the bottom cake layer to keep the cake pedestal clean when frosting. Gently remove before chilling the cake.
- To keep things simple, I wanted to show you how arranging fresh berries on top sends the presentation of this cake into the stratosphere. Garnishes don’t have to be fussy to be impressive.
When to Serve Strawberry Layer Cake
There’s simply no wrong time of year to enjoy this delicious cake. The color makes it ideal for holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. However, I could see serving this cake for tea parties, casual summer gatherings, wedding and bridal showers. It would also make an amazing birthday cake for the strawberry lovers in your life.
Due to the fresh strawberries in the frosting, allow enough chill time for the frosting to set. If some pools around the bottom, it makes it even more luxurious to eat and no one will ever believe this started with a cake mix. For more cake mix inspiration, checkout my Parade article featuring 24 Can’t Miss Cake Mix Hacks.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Easy Strawberry Layer Cake
- 1 15.25 oz box strawberry cake mix
- 1/2 cup self-rising flour
- 1 3.0 oz box strawberry gelatin
- 1 cup buttermilk or whole milk
- 2/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- 2 8 oz blocks cream cheese softened
- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 1/2 cup mashed strawberries well drained
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 6 cups powdered sugar plus additional, as needed
- few drops red or pink food coloring optional
- strawberries for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour three 9-inch round cake pans or spray with baking spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together, cake mix, flour, gelatin mix, buttermilk, oil and eggs. Beat on medium speed until fully combined.
- Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean. Cool in the pans for 20 minutes then remove and cool completely on a cooling rack.
- To make frosting: In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, whip together cream cheese butter and vanilla for 2 minutes or until fluffy.
- Lower the speed of the mixer and gradually add powdered sugar. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add strawberries and food coloring, if using. Whip until fully combined. Add additional powdered sugar to stiffen frosting to your taste.
- Frost between cake layers first, then top and sides. Decorate with whole strawberries. Chill for 6 hours or overnight to allow icing to set. (You may wait until just before serving to garnish with berries)
- Slice and enjoy. Store leftovers chilled.
- Mashed strawberries release a fair amount of juice. If the berries aren't drained well, you may need extra powdered sugar to stiffen the frosting. This frosting is naturally smooth due to the fresh berries, not stiff like a buttercream.
- Placing strips of wax paper under the bottom layer of the cake will keep the cake pedestal clean while frosting. Gently remove before chilling the cake.