This Fresh Strawberry Cake is sweet, juicy, and summery! Each bite is packed with the zesty twist of lemons and a burst of fresh strawberries. It’s a perfect centerpiece for your summer brunches or a simple weeknight treat.Jump to Recipe
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Simple to make: Don’t let the fancy flavors fool you! This fresh strawberry cake is as easy as it gets.
- Perfect for any occasion: Whether it’s a birthday party, family gathering, or a simple tea-time treat, this cake fits perfectly into any scenario.
- Visually pleasing: With its golden crust and vibrant red strawberries, this cake is sure to impress guests at any gathering.
Fresh strawberry cake
I’m not the hugest baker, but I do love fruity, summery desserts like my strawberry snacking cake and strawberry rhubarb galette. This fresh strawberry cake checks all of the boxes! With inspiration from this strawberry skillet cake, it showcases the season’s freshest produce.
It carries the perfect level of tartness from the lemon and sweetness from the strawberries. And the cake itself has a tender crumb thanks to the addition of sour cream. Once baked, it features a golden-brown crust with the perfect crunch from a sprinkling of lemon-infused sugar.
I recommend serving this cake slightly warm, allowing the vibrant, juicy flavors to shine through. Pair it with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate summertime dessert.
Ingredients & substitutions
- Unsalted butter: Adds richness and moisture to the cake. If you only have salted butter, omit the added salt in the recipe.
- Sugar: Delicately sweetens this fresh strawberry cake. If you prefer, you can use cane sugar or coconut sugar as a healthier alternative. Just note that the color will change.
- Eggs: Provide structure to the cake. Make sure your eggs are at room temperature.
- Vanilla extract: Enhances the cake’s flavor, adding a sweet and creamy element. I recommend using pure vanilla extract for this recipe.
- Lemon: You will need both lemon juice and zest to give the cake its refreshing citrus taste. Substitute it with lime for a different flavor profile.
- All-purpose flour: Makes up the base of the cake, offering a balance of structure and tenderness. For a gluten-free alternative, use a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend.
- Baking powder: This helps the cake rise, giving it a light and airy texture.
- Kosher salt: Balances the sweetness, creating a full-bodied dessert flavor.
- Sour cream: Creates an ultra-moist and tender cake. If you don’t have full-fat sour cream, you can replace it with full-fat Greek yogurt instead.
- Strawberries: The star of the cake! If possible, use local farm-picked strawberries for the sweetest, juiciest flavor. Or, replace them with raspberries or blueberries in a pinch.
How to make fresh strawberry cake
- Prepare your pan: Preheat your oven to 350F and butter a 9-inch round springform pan. Remember to butter the parchment paper as well to prevent sticking.
- Mix the wet ingredients: Whip together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until it turns pale and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Don’t forget to put in the vanilla and lemon juice.
- Combine the batter: In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and sour cream into the butter mixture, ending with the flour mixture.
- Add the berries: Fold in the fresh strawberries using a rubber spatula, then transfer the batter into the springform pan. Mix together the remaining sugar and lemon zest and sprinkle it over the cake batter.
- Bake: Bake your fresh strawberry cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the pan before moving it to a serving plate.
Once your fresh strawberry cake is baked to golden-brown perfection, top it off with some of these additions:
- Lemon glaze
- Whipped cream
- Fresh berries
- Mint leaves
- Vanilla bean ice cream
- Berry compote
- A dusting of powdered sugar
Frequently asked questions
I don’t recommend making this cake with frozen strawberries as it can make the cake soggy. If that’s your only option, let them fully thaw and drain before mixing them into the batter.
Yes! To make this cake gluten-free, just swap out the all-purpose flour with a 1:1 gluten-free blend. The final texture and flavor may be slightly different.
Instead of a springform pan, you can use a regular 9-inch cake pan. Just make sure to line it with parchment paper for easy removal.
Storage & reheating
If you have leftover fresh strawberry cake, follow these simple storage instructions:
- Fridge: Your cake will last in an airtight container on the countertop for up to 3 days.
- Fridge: For longer storage, transfer the cake to the fridge for an additional 2-3 days.
- Freezer: Once completely cooled, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and freeze for 3 months.
- Reheating: Bring the cake to room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving it. Alternatively, you can warm it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds or in the oven for 2-3 minutes at 350F.
- Lime raspberry cake: Replace lemons with limes and strawberries with raspberries.
- Almond strawberry cake: Add some almond extract to the batter for a nutty flavor.
- Rosemary infused: Add some chopped fresh rosemary to the batter for a unique twist.
- Strawberry muffins: Pour the batter into a muffin tin and reduce the baking time to make muffins.
- Mini fresh strawberry cakes: Pour the batter into mini cake tins to create individual serving sizes.
- Don’t overmix: Overmixing can result in a tough fresh strawberry cake. Mix until the ingredients are just combined.
- Room-temperature ingredients: Ensure your butter, eggs, and sour cream are at room temperature for smooth mixing.
- Zest before juicing: It’s easier to zest a whole lemon, so make sure to zest before juicing it.
- Cool completely before serving: Allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan to prevent it from breaking.
- Bake on the middle rack: For even cooking, bake your cake on the middle rack of the oven.
Looking for more fruit-based recipes?
If you enjoyed this fresh strawberry cake recipe, be sure to check out some more of my fruity favorites like these:
If you try this Fresh Strawberry Cake, let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Fresh Strawberry Cake (With Lemon)
- 1 stick unsalted butter softened (more for cake pan)
- 1 ¼ cup sugar divided
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup lemon juice juice from 2 small lemons
- 2 medium lemons zested and divided
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 pound strawberries fresh, not frozen (halved or quartered if large)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round springform pan on the sides and bottom, add parchment paper to just the bottom or add to sides if you want, then butter the parchment paper as well, this will help to prevent sticking and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until pale and fluffy on medium speed with a paddle attachment for 5 minutes.
- Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla and lemon juice and beat until combined.
- In a bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt, mix to combine.
- Alternate the flour mixture and sour cream into the butter mixture, begin with the flour mixture and end with the flour mixture along with half the lemon zest, beat just until combined after each addition.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in strawberries (if your berries are small, keep them whole, if they are larger cut them in half or quarters). Add the batter in the prepared springform pan.
- In a small bowl combine the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and half the lemon zest, using your fingers, gently rub the zest into the sugar and sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake batter.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes. Check the cake after 40 minutes with a toothpick, if it comes out clean, it’s ready, if not add the additional 5 minutes.
- Remove the cake and place it on a cooling rack. Let it cool completely in the pan, remove the parchment paper and add to a serving plate. Slice and serve the cake.