Homemade Strawberry Cake with Buttermilk

Homemade Strawberry Cake with Buttermilk is a delicious dessert with natural strawberry flavor and a moist crumb. Decorate with strawberry buttercream or other favorite frosting and serve for any occasion. Makes two 9 inch rounds.

Homemade strawberry cake is perfect for Easter, Mother’s Day, or any spring occasion. We’re serving it to celebrate National Strawberry Day but it’s a great dessert everyone will love.

Strawberry cake recipe without gelatin on a plate with fresh strawberries.

This strawberry cake recipe is made without gelatin so it’s vegetarian-friendly but has plenty of natural strawberry flavor.

You’ll need strawberry jam (or preserves) and freeze-dried strawberries to flavor the cake instead.

Strawberry layer cake with strawberry buttercream frosting.


All purpose flour

Baking powder


Freeze dried strawberries – these replace the strawberry Jello powder in a lot of recipes. Use 1/3 cup whole dried strawberries or 2 Tablespoons ground strawberry powder.

Granulated sugar

Vegetable oil – using oil in place of butter allows the flavor or the strawberries to shine. Oil also increases moisture.

Strawberry jam (or preserves) – adding 1/3 cup strawberry jam to the cake adds natural flavor and moisture.

Large eggs – eggs add structure to the cake

Vanilla extract

Buttermilk – buttermilk gives cakes a softer and lighter texture. It also keeps the cake from being too sweet.

Strawberry cake with strawberries in the middle.

Tips and Tricks:

This strawberry layer cake is simple and delicious, but it’s not as brightly colored as one made with a boxed mix. Since this recipe is made from scratch, any color comes from the freeze dried berries and the strawberry jam.

How can I add more color to this cake?

If you’d like a more pink cake, increase the freeze dried berries to 1/2 cup and/or add red food coloring.

The cake shown in these photos does not have color added.

Can I make the cake with fresh strawberries instead of jam and dried strawberries?

Using a mixture of strawberry jam and freeze dried strawberries adds concentrated flavor without adding too much liquid to the batter. Just substituting pureed fresh strawberries would add too much liquid into this cake.

If you would like to use fresh strawberries, they will need to be cooked down so the flavor concentrates.

See this recipe for strawberry sauce for the method, but let the berries cook down even more to reduce the liquid.

Strawberry layer cake slices on plates.

How to Decorate:

Frost with any type of buttercream: berry flavor naturally pairs well with vanilla or chocolate. For the most strawberry flavor, the best frosting for strawberry cake is strawberry buttercream.

To add fresh strawberries between cake layers: stir sliced strawberries with a little sugar for 10 minutes, then place them between the layers. This will add some natural sweetness and extra moisture to the cake.

To add fresh strawberries to the top of the cake: cut berries into quarters or halves and place around the cake.

Steps of how to decorate strawberry cake with fresh strawberries in the middle.

How to Store Strawberry Cake:

This cake can be kept at in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days or stored in the fridge for 4 days.

Cakes topped with fresh berries should be stored in the fridge (berries may leave some juice on top of the buttercream, but this will not affect flavor).

Unfrosted cakes can be frozen for 1 month: let cool then wrap tightly and freeze. Thaw overnight before decorating.

Homemade Strawberry Cake with Buttermilk

Homemade Strawberry Cake with Buttermilk

Emma J. Watling
Delicious and moist strawberry cake made with strawberry jam, freeze dried strawberries, and buttermilk. This flavorful two-layer cake is great year-round for any occasion. Decorate with any frosting and/or fresh strawberries. Try strawberry buttercream for extra berry flavor.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 12
Calories 342 kcal


  • Two 9 inch round cake pans


  • 2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup freeze dried strawberries = 2 Tablespoons ground
  • cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup strawberry preserves or jam
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk see below for substitute



  • Lightly grease or spray two 9 inch round pans or line with parchment. Set aside.
  • If using whole freeze dried strawberries, place in a bag and crush to a powder.

Combine Dry Ingredients:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and ground freeze-dried strawberries. Set aside.

Make the cake batter:

  • In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), combine the sugar, oil, and strawberry jam. Use a hand or stand mixer to beat on low until smooth.
  • On medium-low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Then, stir in the vanilla.
  • Add in half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
  • Using low speed, stir in all of the buttermilk.
  • Add in the remaining flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.
  • Distribute the cake batter evenly between the two cake pans.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out nearly clean.
  • Let cakes cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes then move to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting as desired.

Suggested frosting:

  • For more strawberry flavor, use strawberry buttercream. This cake is also great with chocolate, white chocolate, or vanilla buttercream.
    Add extra jam or preserves, fresh sliced strawberries, or strawberry sauce between layers for more moisture and flavor.


Buttermilk substitute: stir together 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup milk until creamy. Use as directed above.
Optional additions: increase freeze-dried strawberries to 1/2 cup for a little extra flavor and/or add food coloring for a pink cake.
To make cake ahead: let cool completely then wrap cakes individually. Store at room temperature overnight or freeze in a an airtight container up to 1 month (let thaw before use).
If cake is decorated with any fresh berries, store at room temperature up to 2 days or in the fridge for 4 days.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 342kcalCarbohydrates: 51.7gProtein: 4.3gFat: 13.7gSaturated Fat: 2.9gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 182mgPotassium: 147mgFiber: 0.9gSugar: 26.6gCalcium: 66mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Layer Cake, Strawberries, Strawberry Cake, Strawberry Frosting
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