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This homemade strawberry sheet cake is made from scratch, giving it an irresistible fresh berry flavor. No boxed cake mix here!
I’m not one to scoff at a recipe that uses boxed cake mix as a shortcut, but there’s definitely a difference in flavor between a sheet cake made with real strawberries and a cake made with strawberry flavor. They’re both good, but they don’t taste nearly the same!
This strawberry sheet cake gets its flavor from real strawberries, but it’s also surprisingly easy to make from scratch.
What Is a Sheet Cake?
A sheet cake is a type of cake that is baked in a large, rectangular pan instead of a round or square pan. Sheet cakes are usually frosted right in the pan, which makes them super easy, and because they make a lot of cake, they’re perfect for serving at parties or other large gatherings.
There are many different flavors of sheet cake, but strawberry is one of my favorites. This strawberry sheet cake is a perfect summer dessert because it’s so light and full of fresh fruit flavor!
(Can’t get enough strawberries? Here are some more of my favorite strawberry recipes: Strawberry Mint Crisp, Strawberry Pretzel Salad, and Mini Strawberry Heart Hand Pies.)
What You’ll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
For the Strawberry Puree Reduction:
- Fresh or frozen strawberries – If you use frozen, thaw them first.
- Granulated sugar
- Lemon juice
For the Cake:
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Salted butter – Let this come to room temperature.
- Vegetable oil
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Eggs – Your eggs should be at room temperature, too. This will help make your cake light and fluffy.
- Strawberry reduction – You’ll need a cup for the cake and 1/4 cup for the frosting; any extras can be spooned over the cake when you serve it.
- Full-fat sour cream – This should also be room temperature. If you’d like, you can swap this with plain yogurt.
- Salted butter – Again, room temperature! It’s much easier to beat into a creamy frosting that way.
- Icing sugar
- Strawberry reduction
What Does Sour Cream Do for a Cake?
Sour cream makes for a moist cake with a tender crumb. Basically, it allows you to add moisture to the batter without thinning it out, like it would if you added milk or water.
How to Make Strawberry Sheet Cake
If you don’t have a large block of time for baking, you can easily break this recipe into a few steps and make it over the course of a day or two.
Make the strawberry reduction. Combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook, stirring and using your spoon to crush the berries, until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat and let the reduction come to room temperature.
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. If you want to remove the whole cake from the pan, line it with parchment paper and spray the parchment with non-stick spray. If you plan to leave the cake in the pan, spray the pan with non-stick spray. Position your oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl
Combine the wet ingredients. Using a stand or handheld mixer, beat the butter until it’s smooth and creamy. Beat in the oil, then slowly pour in the sugar while beating. Once the mixture is smooth, beat in the vanilla extract, followed by the eggs, mixing between each one. Gradually beat in the strawberry reduction and sour cream.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until just combined.
Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Set the pan on a cooling rack and allow it to cool before you add the frosting.
Make the frosting. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until it’s light and creamy. Slowly beat in the icing sugar, then add the strawberry reduction and continue beating until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.
Finish. Frost your strawberry sheet cake, cut it into pieces, and serve.
Can I Make This a Layer Cake?
Yes, you could use two 8-inch round cake pans to make layers. You may need to double the icing in order to cover the cake and add buttercream between the layers. It will be easier to frost the cakes if you chill them overnight first.
Tips for Success
Here are some tips for a perfect strawberry sheet cake!
- Get a head start. I recommend making the strawberry reduction the day before (or earlier in the day) so it can cool completely.
- Add fresh berries. If you want tiny pieces of strawberries in your cake and frosting, you can dice 5 large strawberries and add them to the reduction puree after it’s fully cooked.
- Blend the reduction. If, on the other hand, you want a smoother cake and frosting texture, you can use an immersion blender to blend the reduction and puree any large chunks of berries.
- Want a pinker color? Because this cake is made with real berries, it doesn’t have the same shade of pink as a boxed cake mix. Pink gel food coloring can be added if you’d like.
- Be patient. Let the cake cool completely before you frost it, otherwise your buttercream will melt.
Serving Suggestions and Variations
Here are some ideas for serving and customizing this strawberry sheet cake.
- Serve the cake with a dollop of homemade whipped cream and an assortment of fresh berries.
- Instead of strawberry buttercream, try cream cheese frosting (use the recipe from here: Blackberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting), lemon buttercream, or vanilla buttercream.
- Drizzle the cake with strawberry sauce before serving.
- If you aren’t a fan of strawberries, try this Lemon Sheet Cake!
How to Store
Because this cake has a buttercream frosting, it needs to be refrigerated. Store it covered or in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Can This Cake Be Frozen?
Yes, strawberry sheet cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Place it in an airtight container or wrap it in plastic wrap; let it thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
Strawberry Sheet Cake
Strawberry Puree reduction:
- 4 cups fresh or frozen thawed strawberries
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup salted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup strawberry reduction
- ½ cup full fat sour cream, room temperature
- 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 4 Tablespoons strawberry reduction
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
- The first step is to make the strawberry puree. Remove the stems of the strawberries. Place them into a medium pot. Add the sugar and lemon juice. Heat this at medium heat, stirring often to avoid boiling. Once this mixture begins to boil, you may turn the heat down to medium low. Stir often and the strawberries will continue to break down. Use an immersion blender if you like the puree to be smoother. Allow this mixture to reduce to about ½. It will take 20 – 30 minutes. (If you are making this the day before, keep it in the fridge overnight – make sure to remove it an hour before adding it to the batter so it comes to room temperature.)While this is cooking be sure to remove butter, eggs, and sour cream from the fridge. They must be at room temperature for this recipe. When the reduction is finished, remove it from the heat and allow it to come to room temperature before adding it to the recipe.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F. If you plan to remove the whole cake from the pan, line the pan with parchment paper and spray it with non-stick spray. If you are planning to leave the cake in the pan, just spray it with non-stick spray. Place your oven rack in the middle of the oven.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set this aside.
- Using a stand or handheld mixer, beat the butter until it is smooth and creamy. Blend in the oil, then gradually add in the sugar and beat until smooth. Mix in the vanilla extract and then add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each one. Then gradually mix in the strawberry reduction and sour cream. Do not over beat the mixture.
- Add the dry ingredients (flour mixture) and mix only as much as necessary.
- Pour this batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove it to a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely before frosting. (If you are frosting it in the pan, you do not need to chill it. If you are removing the cake from the pan, it will be easier to frost if it is chilled first.)
- Make the strawberry buttercream. Beat the butter until light and creamy. Gradually mix in the icing sugar. Then add the strawberry reduction until the desired consistency is reached.
- If you want tiny pieces of strawberries in your cake and frosting, you can dice up 5 large strawberries and add them to the reduction puree after it’s fully cooked, and mix them in. That will just allow you to SEE strawberry pieces and give your cake some texture.
- Because this cake has a buttercream frosting, it needs to be refrigerated. Store it covered or in an airtight container for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months; let it thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.