This delicious Strawberry Cake is tender and moist and absolutely loaded with fresh strawberries. It’s an easy one-layer cake served with vanilla bean whipped cream.
This simple strawberry cake has a moist and tender crumb loaded with fresh strawberry flavor. It’s reminiscent of strawberry shortcake and it’s the perfect way to celebrate strawberry season. Serve it at your next holiday event, brunch, or for a weeknight treat.
Also, this single-layer cake requires no fancy decorating or frosting in order to impress. Simply serve it topped with delicate whipped cream studded with vanilla beans for an easy yet beautiful presentation.
Key Ingredient Notes
Flour – all-purpose flour creates a tender but sturdy crumb that can hold up to all the strawberries packed inside.
Granulated Sugar – white sugar provides just enough sweetness.
Baking Powder – gives the cake rise. Note, this is not baking soda and cannot be interchanged.
Oil – using oil instead of butter creates a very moist cake that can bake long enough to fully cook the strawberries without drying out. I like to use canola oil but vegetable oil will work.
Strawberries – plump fresh strawberries are the star of the show here. They’re stuffed in the middle and on top so that they are in every bite.
Vanilla Bean Paste – I like to use vanilla bean paste in the whipped cream for this recipe. The paste has a more intense flavor and the little specks of vanilla throughout look pretty. Vanilla extract can be substituted.
Step By Step Instructions
Note: Full list of ingredients, their amounts, and instructions can be found in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Tip: Don’t skip lining the bottom of the pan. The cake will stick without it. To help the parchment stay in place, grease the bottom and sides of the pan before adding the parchment.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together whole milk, canola oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until they come together.
Pour half of the cake batter into the bottom of the prepared pan and spread it out into an even layer.
Nestle half of the strawberry halves, cut side down, on top of the batter.
Then, pour in the rest of the cake batter and spread it out to cover the strawberries.
Finally, top the batter with the other half of the strawberries cut side down.
Tip: It’s ok if the strawberries on top touch some of the strawberries underneath. The cake will expand into the spaces and create layers.
Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
Then, run a knife around the edges before releasing the pan. Continue allowing the cake to fully cool.
When you’re ready to serve the cake, make the whipped topping.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, whisk together heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean paste until medium peaks form.
Tip: Medium peaks mean that when the beaters are pulled out the whipped cream forms peaks that are slightly bent over. Avoid overmixing the whipped topping to keep it nice and creamy.
Slice and serve the cake with the whipped cream. Enjoy!
Tip: Serve fresh strawberries on the side.
Tips & Tricks
- For an even batter, use room-temperature eggs and milk.
- On the other hand, be sure the heavy cream is cold when beating it to ensure it whips up.
- To avoid overbaking, pull the cake from the oven when a toothpick comes out of the center with a few moist crumbs on it.
- Be sure to carefully run a knife around the edges before releasing the pan. This will prevent any stuck spots from tearing.
Substitutions & Variations
- For a different presentation, sprinkle the top of the cake with powdered sugar. You can still serve the vanilla whipped cream with it.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract to the batter for an almond flavor.
- Serve this homemade strawberry cake with vanilla ice cream.
Store the cake covered at room temperature for 1 to 2 days. For longer storage, place it in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
Keep the whipped cream in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. However, it may start to collapse and release liquid sooner so for the best results make the whipped topping fresh when serving the cake.
Strawberry cake can be frozen after cooling completely. Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil for the best results. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Fully thaw the cake in the fridge overnight before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
The strawberries will be their freshest for about 2 days. After that, they will start to soften and turn a lighter pink. Keep the cake in the fridge to slow down this process.
Sure. This cake can also be baked in a 9 or 10-inch square baking pan or round cake pan.
Yes, you can. Though the cake will not be quite as rich and moist, Also, depending on the type of non-dairy milk you choose, it may change the final taste.
Yes, frozen strawberries will work. If they are whole, you’ll need to let them thaw a bit so that they can be cut in half.
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Homemade Fresh Strawberry Cake
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup whole milk room temp
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 large eggs room temp
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups strawberries hulled and cut in half (see notes)
Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream chilled
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste see notes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan then line the bottom with parchment paper. Set it on a baking sheet.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix with a rubber spatula just until they are combined.
- Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan and spread it out to create an even layer.
- Top the batter with half of the strawberries cut side down.
- Pour the rest of the batter over the strawberries and spread it out to cover them.
- Top the batter with the rest of the strawberries cut side down.
- Place the baking sheet with the pan in the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
- Cool the cake for 20 minutes then run a knife around the edges before releasing the pan. Allow the cake to finish cooling, about 1 to 2 hours.
Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
- When you're ready to serve the cake, make the whipped topping. Place the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean paste in a medium-sized bowl.
- Using a hand mixer on high speed, beat until medium-stiff peaks form.
- Serve with the cake and enjoy!
- Strawberries – to prepare the strawberries, cut around the stem at an angle to remove the leaves and the light area right around them. Then, slice the strawberries in half from top to bottom. If the strawberries are particularly large, you may want to quarter them.
- Vanilla Bean Paste – I recommend using vanilla bean paste in the whipped cream for this recipe. It has a stronger vanilla flavor that pairs well with the strawberries and the specks of vanilla look pretty and interesting.
- You can substitute it with vanilla extract.
- Store the cake covered at room temperature for 1 to 2 days. Or, covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- The whipped cream can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days though it’s best to make it fresh when serving the cake if possible.