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Gluten Free Strawberry Cake Recipe from Scratch

Learn how to make the best gluten free strawberry cake recipe from scratch with fresh strawberries. No artificial flavor necessary!

Homemade Gluten Free Strawberry Cake on a white cake stand garnished with fresh strawberries and flowers

A homemade gluten free strawberry cake made with fresh strawberries has been on my to-make list for quite some time now. Since my birthday is next month, I figured now is a great time to start experimenting with cake recipes.

If you’ve made my gluten free yellow cake recipe, the base of this strawberry cake might look familiar. My yellow cake recipe is a rock-solid recipe that makes and outstanding homemade cake so I knew I wanted to use that as my starting point for the strawberry version.

You guys, best decision I’ve made in a while 😉

This strawberry cake is moist, has an amazing sponge cake texture, and the flavor is just, WOW.

It’s definitely way better than anything you’d make from a box AND it tastes like you bought it from a fancy bakery. Maybe even better than a bakery and that’s not an exaggeration 🙌🏼

Make this cake for your next celebration, you won’t regret it!

Overhead shot of a gluten free strawberry cake garnished with fresh strawberries and flowers


What You Need To Know About this Strawberry Cake Recipe with Fresh Strawberries

This gluten free strawberry cake recipe does not rely on artificial flavoring from Jello or even strawberry extract. This cake relies purely on the flavor of fresh strawberries!

What makes this recipe different and how do plain old strawberries give this cake enough flavor?

The answer is simple -it’s in the preparation! Fresh strawberries are puréed and then cooked down on the stovetop. Reducing the strawberry purée by half concentrates the flavor to give your cake a strawberry flavor punch ❤️

I first tried the concentrated strawberry purée method when I made the Pink Lemonade Cake from the Icing on the Cake cookbook for Kelsey’s birthday. After that, I was hooked on concentrated fruit purées. They provide so much flavor with natural ingredients. Just fruit, acid, a bit of sugar, and a pinch of salt. The only hard part is having to wait for the purée to reduce. It takes about 20-30 minutes of mostly inactive time but it’s totally worth it.   

Whatever you do, don’t skip this part! Not only does the concentrate provide the flavor in the cake, it also adds moisture so your cakes are nice and moist. No dry crumbs here!

The strawberry concentrate is what truly makes this the best strawberry cake recipe out there. Try it yourself and you’ll see!

Made from scratch Gluten Free Strawberry Cake made with fresh strawberries, no extracts or artificial flavors! This cake is moist and VERY full of fresh strawberry flavor. Finish it off with homemade strawberry cream cheese frosting and garnish with fresh strawberries, a dusting of freeze-dried strawberry powder, and edible flowers for a gorgeous presentation. This makes a 3-layer 8-inch cake or halve the recipe for 2 6-inch layers. #strawberrycake #strawberryrecipes #cake #glutenfree #dessert

Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and let me know in the comments! You can also leave a photo/comment on this pin for others to see.

What‘s the Best Frosting for Strawberry Cake?

I absolutely love this cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting. I’ve included my recipe in this post just below the strawberry cake recipe card. That way, you can print the frosting recipe out separately in case you want to pair it with other cakes or cupcakes.

This cake would also be fabulous with a regular vanilla buttercream frosting or even plain cream cheese frosting. For a lighter frosting, try it with my white chocolate ganache whipped cream frosting. It’s a stable whipped cream (thanks to the white chocolate) that works well with layer cakes. 

If you want a strawberry buttercream, try adding 1-2 tablespoons of the extra strawberry purée concentrate to my vanilla buttercream frosting in place of the heavy cream then add heavy cream as needed a teaspoon at a time. Or you could try 1/4 – 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberry powder. If you use the powder, you may need a touch more heavy cream than the recipe calls for. 


Key Ingredients for Fresh Strawberry Cake

  • Fresh strawberries. And if you can get them in season, even better! The sweeter and more flavorful the strawberries are, the more flavor they’ll bring to the cake!
  • Buttermilk – the little bit of acid from the buttermilk makes the cake tender and moist. It also helps the cake rise by reacting with the baking soda.
  • Separated Eggs – the yolks are beaten into the wet ingredients while the whites are whipped and folded into the batter at the end. The whipped egg whites make this cake lighter and airier.
  • Cornstarch – I add cornstarch to replace some of the flour in this recipe. The higher starch:grain ratio of gluten free flour here mimics cake flour. I started doing this with my Homemade Yellow Cake recipe and I love the results!

Made from scratch Gluten Free Strawberry Cake made with fresh strawberries, no extracts or artificial flavors! This cake is moist and VERY full of fresh strawberry flavor. Finish it off with homemade strawberry cream cheese frosting and garnish with fresh strawberries, a dusting of freeze-dried strawberry powder, and edible flowers for a gorgeous presentation. This makes a 3-layer 8-inch cake or halve the recipe for 2 6-inch layers. #strawberrycake #strawberryrecipes #cake #glutenfree #dessert


Equipment Needed to Make Homemade Strawberry Cake

  • Blender or Food Processor. I prefer using my Blendtec blender with Twister Jar to purée the strawberries for a super smooth finish.
  • Small Saucepan to cook/reduce the strawberry purée into a flavorful strawberry concentrate.
  • Cake Pans – I use 3 8-inch cake pans for this recipe. You can halve the recipe and bake it in 2 6-inch cake pans if you prefer. I prefer baking with metal cake pans that are light in color.
  • Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer – to make both the whipped egg whites and the frosting. The cake batter can be mixed by hand.
  • Parchment Paper – I line the bottoms of my cake pans with parchment paper to make sure they don’t stick. Pre-cut Parchment Paper Rounds cuts down on prep time even more.

How to Make Strawberry Cake from Scratch

Step 1. Make the strawberry puree in a blender or food processor and cook down to reduce by half to make the strawberry concentrate.

Step 2. While the strawberry concentrate is cooling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the baking pans. 

Step 3. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl then whisk together the wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Set both aside and then beat the separated egg whites until stiff.

Step 4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in half of the egg whites until just about incorporated and then fold in the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain.

Step 5. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pans, dividing it evenly between the pans. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.

Step 6. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 25 minutes then remove from the pans and cool completely before frosting.

Made from scratch Gluten Free Strawberry Cake made with fresh strawberries, no extracts or artificial flavors! This cake is moist and VERY full of fresh strawberry flavor. Finish it off with homemade strawberry cream cheese frosting and garnish with fresh strawberries, a dusting of freeze-dried strawberry powder, and edible flowers for a gorgeous presentation. This makes a 3-layer 8-inch cake or halve the recipe for 2 6-inch layers. #strawberrycake #strawberryrecipes #cake #glutenfree #dessert


Tips for Making this Strawberry Cake Recipe from Scratch

Give yourself plenty of time to make the strawberry purée and cook it down to concentrate because it needs to cool to room temperature before adding it to the wet ingredients. If you know you may crunched for time, you can make the strawberry concentrate a day or two in advance and refrigerate it until ready to use.

I use my nightshade free gluten free flour blend in this recipe. If you use a different flour blend, I can’t guarantee the results. But no matter which flour blend you use, don’t skip the added cornstarch called for in the recipe or replace it with additional gluten free flour blend. If you can’t have cornstarch, use Tapioca Flour instead.

Don’t over-measure your flour. Measure by weight for more accuracy or measure using the spoon and sweep method if using measuring cups. 2 cups of my night-shade free blend weighs 264 grams. If you use another flour blend, the weight will be slightly different.


Can I Make This Cake Ahead?

While cakes are almost always the best the day of, you can definitely make this ahead of time. The reduced strawberry purée can be made several days before you need it. Just be sure to let it cool, cover it, and then refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it.

You can make the cakes a few days in advance too. Once the cakes are baked, cool them completely. Then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze them flat on a sheet pan. 

Buttercream frosting can be made a few days in advance, just store it tightly covered in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature and mix well before using.

Assemble the cake the day of. You can frost your cakes frozen, just be sure to do it early enough in the day so the cakes have plenty of time to thaw before serving. I frequently frost my layer cakes from frozen and I think frosting frozen cakes is the best way to keep your cakes the fresh without having to bake them they day you’re serving them. 

If you frost the strawberry layer cake the night before, cover with plastic wrap as tightly as you can in the refrigerator so that the cake doesn’t dry out. Then bring it to room temperature before serving.

Made from scratch Gluten Free Strawberry Cake made with fresh strawberries, no extracts or artificial flavors! This cake is moist and VERY full of fresh strawberry flavor. Finish it off with homemade strawberry cream cheese frosting and garnish with fresh strawberries, a dusting of freeze-dried strawberry powder, and edible flowers for a gorgeous presentation. This makes a 3-layer 8-inch cake or halve the recipe for 2 6-inch layers. #strawberrycake #strawberryrecipes #cake #glutenfree #dessert


What People are Saying About This Gluten Free Strawberry Cake

I made this cake today. I was blown away with the amazing strawberry flavor. There wasn’t a crumb left. This will be on the monthly dessert list. I definitely agree that the pureed strawberries give the cake the perfect strawberry flavor.😋🍓❤️❤️❤️

Made it today for a girl’s night! OMG…delish! Had an extra layer, so of course I had to try it! 🍓❤️

I LOVE that this doesn’t use jello! I have zero issues with jello poke cakes etc, but nothing beats the taste of fresh strawberries 🍓 outstanding!

Oh my soul!! I made this cake and the frosting yesterday. It is completely gone. So good. I am going to make it again, and often. The strawberry puree is definitely the key to the strawberry flavor. 😋

This is so delicious! I was lucky to sample it!

I have had this cake and it is delicious. The frosting is particularly delightful!

Omg…seriously THE BEST strawberry cake ever! You can’t even tell it’s gluten free. So moist and flavorful. I can’t stop eating it!!! Lol!!! Ended up filling it with a lemon curd to make it more of a strawberry lemonade cake! 🍓❤


Other Fresh Strawberry Recipes To Try


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Homemade Gluten Free Strawberry Cake on a white cake stand garnished with fresh strawberries and flowers

Gluten Free Strawberry Cake Recipe

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Additional Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 37 minutes

This is the best gluten free strawberry cake recipe! It's made from scratch with fresh strawberries. No artificial flavor necessary!

Ingredients

For the Concentrated Strawberry Purée

  • 2 cups (300 g) fresh strawberries, halved
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of fine sea salt

For the Cake

  • 2 cups gluten free flour blend (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon (2 g) xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 g) aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups(400 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup concentrated strawberry purée
  • 3 drops red food coloring, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Instructions

  1. To make the concentrated strawberry purée, add the strawberries, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt to a blender canister or food processor. Blend until completely smooth.
  2. Add the purée to a small saucepan. Simmer on medium low heat until the purée is reduced by half, stirring occasionally. It'll take about 20-30 minutes to reduce. Cool to room temperature before making the cake.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 3 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour, cornstarch, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and granulated sugar. Set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, buttermilk, melted butter, oil, vanilla extract, concentrated strawberry purée, and food coloring (if using). Set aside.
  6. Add the egg whites and cream of tartar to a separate, clean medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until the egg whites hold a stiff peak. Then set the the egg whites aside.
  7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Add half of the whipped egg whites to the batter and gently fold in with a spoon. When it's mostly folded in, add the remaining egg whites. Gently fold in until no white streaks remain. Make sure you're folding and not stirring/mixing so you don't deflate the egg whites. It may take a minute or two to fully incorporate.
  8. Transfer the batter to the prepared pans, making sure it's distributed evenly and spread the batter in the pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-24 minutes.
  9. Cool the cakes in the pan for 25 minutes then remove them from the pans and cool completely on wire racks. Once the cakes are cooled, frost them with the strawberry cream cheese frosting.

Notes

  1. I use my nightshade-free gluten free flour blend. 2 cups of my blend weighs 264 grams.
  2. Canola oil or vegetable can be subbed for the avocado oil.
  3. I use Americolor Red Red soft gel paste food coloring.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 282
This is the best strawberry cream cheese frosting! Learn how to make frosting in advance, how to store cream cheese frosting, and the best cake and cupcake recipes to pair with it. This frosting is the perfect way to frost your desserts for Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, graduation parties, and spring/summer birthdays. Recipe from @whattheforkblog - visit whattheforkfoodblog.com for more homemade frosting ideas. Vegan option! No jello, naturally flavored and colored.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Sweet Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting is great for adding a little bit of strawberry flare to vanilla cake, vanilla cupcakes, yellow cakes, yellow cupcakes, or strawberry cakes!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (6 g) freeze dried strawberries
  • 8 oz. (226 g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (4 oz./226 g/8 Tablespoons)
  • 4 1/2 cups(618 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons strawberry concentrate (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Add the freeze dried strawberries to a plastic bag and and crush them with a rolling pin or mallet until they're a fine powder. Set aside.
  2. Add the cream cheese and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat together until smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed until the sugar is incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the freeze-dried strawberry powder, strawberry concentrate, and vanilla extract.
  4. Mix an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
  5. Use immediately or store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Let the frosting come to room temperature and mix well before using if you refrigerate it.

Notes

  1. I use leftover strawberry concentrate from making my gluten free strawberry cake. If you're not making the cake and you don't have the strawberry concentrate, use an additional 1/4 cup of powdered freeze-dried strawberries. Thin the frosting with heavy cream or milk as needed to reach your desired consistency or if your frosting is too thin, thicken it with additional powdered sugar.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 315Trans Fat: 0g

 

Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and let me know in the comments! You can also leave a photo/comment on this pin for others to see.

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Fatemah

Monday 5th of April 2021

Hi! I love your recipes! Thank you! Quick question - to save time can I use a good quality pure strawberry jam instead of making the concentrate?

Shay

Wednesday 7th of April 2021

Yes, that should work but I haven't tried it myself to tell you for sure.

Amie Burroughs

Friday 2nd of April 2021

Can you use the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 flour in stead of your flour mix?

Shay

Saturday 3rd of April 2021

You can, just omit the xanthan gum called for in the recipe. The taste and texture will be slightly different (my flour blend has a lighter crumb and neutral flavor in baked goods) and it may take a few minutes longer to bake through.

Carmina Morrison

Sunday 21st of March 2021

This recipe looks great! What can I use in place of the buttermilk? We've got some non-dairy eaters in the family.

Thalia

Saturday 20th of March 2021

Hello! I was wondering how much strawberry concentrate I would need to used if I have it pre-made.

Kelley

Monday 1st of February 2021

I would like to make this cake for my sons birthday. Is it ok to sub fresh berries for frozen?

Thanks!

Shay

Tuesday 2nd of February 2021

I think it could work, but I haven't tried it. It might take quite a bit longer to reduce them down enough and I wouldn't drain the liquid that comes out of them as they defrost so you don't lose that flavor.

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