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Strawberry Cake Filling

4.53 from 19 votes
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Strawberry cake filling is the perfect summer treat. It’s made with juicy strawberries cooked together with cornstarch, water, sugar, and lemon juice until thick. The result is a sweet, slightly tangy, luscious fruit filling that you’ll want to spread on almost everything.

Strawberry cake filling in a bowl near fresh strawberries.

Cake is delicious but do you know what makes it even better? “Frosting!” you might say. I agree with you but have you ever sunk your teeth into a light, fluffy cake with fresh, fruity filling? If you haven’t you’re missing out. It’s one of my favorite things. Don’t believe me? Whip up this quick and easy strawberry cake filing and find out for yourself.

Grab a package of fresh or frozen strawberries and give them a quick dice. Whip up a cornstarch slurry, add the strawberries and some sugar, and simmer everything together on the stovetop for a few minutes until it thickens up. Finish it off with a splash of fresh lemon juice and you’ve got yourself a perfectly spreadable, sweet and tangy, wonderfully summery cake filling that can be used on a variety of desserts and breakfast goodies all year round. What are you waiting for?

Taking a spoonful out of a bowl of strawberry cake filling.

Why You’ll Love This Strawberry Filling For Cake

This is one of my favorite ways to dress up a dessert. It is so quick and easy and can be used in countless ways. Here are some reasons I think you’ll love it.

  • Quick and easy. Who knew a fancy cake filling could take only 15 minutes of active kitchen time. Just some whisking, some mixing, some simmering, and some stirring and you’re off to the races. This easy strawberry cake filling will make you look like a pro.
  • All-year-round. Strawberries may be a warm-weather fruit but this filling is just as good with frozen berries as it is with fresh ones. So you can enjoy it any month of the year. Just make sure your taste buds are prepared to be transported to glorious summer days.
  • Versatile. You can use this strawberry filling in so many ways; to fill cakes, to top ice cream sundaes, with pancakes. The possibilities are endless. Check out the section below titled “Ways to Use This Strawberry Cake Filling” for inspiration.
  • Not too sweet. I love the addition of lemon juice to this fruity filling. It adds a little tang to an otherwise sweet concoction, balancing it out beautifully.
Ingredients for strawberry cake filling separated into bowls.

What You’ll Need

You only need 4 ingredients to make this easy strawberry cake filling plus a little water. Here’s a list of the required ingredients. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card below for exact measurements.

  • Diced strawberries – These can be fresh or frozen. If you choose to use frozen strawberries, I recommend thawing them slightly first.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Water
  • Cornstarch – This will help thicken the filling.
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice – You can add a bit of lemon zest as well if you want your filling to be a bit tangier.

How to Make Strawberry Cake Filling

It won’t take you long to whip up this glorious strawberry cake filling. Here’s how to do it. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.

  • Whisk together the water and cornstarch in a small pot over low heat until smooth. Turn the heat to medium.
Cooking strawberry cake filling in a pot.
  • Cook the filling. Add the strawberries and sugar and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook until it thickens, stirring frequently.
  • Finish. Stir in lemon juice and remove from the heat.
  • Chill. Let the filling cool completely before using.

Tips for Success

This simple strawberry filling for cakes is easy to get right but there are a couple of important tips and tricks to keep in mind to make sure you get the best results possible. Here they come.

  • Don’t burn the strawberries. The natural sugar in the strawberries combined with the added granulated sugar has the propensity to burn. When the strawberry mixture to a simmer, be sure not to turn the heat past medium in order to prevent the sugars from caramelizing and/or burning.
  • Keep it moving. When simmering the cake filling, be sure to stir it often. Keeping it moving will prevent it from burning and will ensure even cooking and thickening.
  • Let it cool. The filling will continue to thicken as it cools. So it is important to let it cool completely after removing it from the heat unless you want a runny end result.
  • Add a pop of flavor. If you would like to add a little zing to the filling, stir half or a whole teaspoon of fresh lemon zest into it at the end of the cooking process.
Overhead of strawberry cake filling in a bowl near fresh strawberries.

Ways to Use This Strawberry Cake Filling

Wondering how to use this fruity filling? I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s not just for cakes! Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy it.

  • As a cake filling. As the name suggests, this strawberry cake filling is most frequently used to fill layer cakes. Whip a couple 8-9-inch layers of vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry cake and spread this delightful filling between the layers.
  • To fill cupcakes. Make your favorite cupcake recipe, scoop a small cookie scoop out of the middle, fill it with strawberry cake filling, and top it with frosting. This would be a great thing to try with my Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes.
  • With breakfast. Use this filling as a sauce for pancakes, waffles, French toast, or crepes. I bet it would be amazing on my Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.
  • Over ice cream. Top a scoop or two of ice cream with strawberry cake filling, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream for a fabulous ice cream sundae. Try it with plain vanilla ice cream or this Strawberry Ice Cream.
  • On cheesecake. Top a New York cheesecake with this fruity concoction. You could even dip my Fried Cheesecake Bites into it or use it in place of the raspberry sauce on this Instant Pot White Chocolate Cheesecake.
Taking a spoonful out of a bowl of strawberry cake filling near fresh strawberries.

Proper Storage

Once the filling has cooled completely, seal it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you decide to freeze it, allow the filling to thaw in the refrigerator before using it.

More Strawberry Recipes

‘Tis the season for strawberries and my oh my do I have some wonderful strawberry recipes for you. Here they come.

Strawberry cake filling in a bowl near fresh strawberries.

Strawberry Cake Filling

This cake filling is made with juicy strawberries cooked together with cornstarch, water, sugar, and lemon juice until thick. The result is a sweet, slightly tangy, luscious fruit filling that you'll want to spread on almost everything.
4.53 from 19 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 1.5 cups
Author: Julie Chiou
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  • 3 cups (432 g) diced strawberries, fresh or frozen – if frozen, slightly thawed
  • cup (133 g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (177 ml) water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


  • Whisk together water and cornstarch in a small pot over low heat until no lumps remain. Increase heat to medium. Add in strawberries and sugar, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cook until thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir often.
  • Stir in lemon juice, remove from heat and let cool completely before using. It will thicken more as it cools.

Recipe Notes

For extra flavor, could add ½-1 tsp lemon zest.


Serving: 0.25 cups | Calories: 124 kcal | Carbohydrates: 31 g | Protein: 1 g | Fat: 0.3 g | Saturated Fat: 0.01 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03 g | Sodium: 3 mg | Potassium: 113 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 26 g

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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.

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