Gluten-Free Strawberry Cake
Why this recipe works
This gluten-free strawberry cake is made from scratch using a mix of gluten-free flour blend and cornstarch to give you a light, fluffy, and tender cake that you won’t be able to tell is gluten-free.
This cake gets its strawberry flavor from fresh strawberries that have been pureed down to a thick compote and then mixed in the cake batter, resulting in a fruity cake that doesn’t get too dense. No strawberry flavoring, strawberry emulsions, or artificial strawberry needed in this recipe.
You’ll love this recipe because:
For best results, use a food scale and follow the metric measurements stated in the recipe card. Baking with a food scale is far more accurate for dry ingredients, especially gluten-free flour and cornstarch that can vary easily depending on the way you scoop it.
- gluten-free flour blend – I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour (in the blue bag) for this recipe, which already contains xanthan gum. If your blend does not already contain xanthan gum, you’ll need to add it to this recipe. I cannot vouch for other flours in this recipe as they have not yet been tested. If you do not have access to Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour, I recommend using a flour that is meant to be a 1-for-1 swap with all-purpose flour.
- cornstarch – I used cornstarch to lighten up the cake batter. Don’t skip this ingredient otherwise your cake will be dense.
- xanthan gum – You only need to add xanthan gum if your gluten-free flour blend doesn’t already contain it. The blend I used does contain it already.
- sour cream – I love to use sour cream in cake recipes to make them really moist. You could substitute milk if you want, but it will change the consistency slightly.
- red food dye – I like to use food dye to make my strawberry cake a beautiful pink color. You don’t have to use the dye if you don’t care about the color. The cake will taste the same. You can use gel food coloring or liquid food coloring. Note that the gel food coloring is more concentrated so you will need less of it than liquid food coloring. Follow the step-by-step instructions to see how much food coloring to add.
If you have celiac disease or are on a gluten-free diet for other reasons, always be sure to double check that your ingredients are gluten-free. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change without notice, so always double check.
This gluten-free strawberry cake is so easy to make with a few simple steps. Follow the step-by-step instructions with the matching photographs to help you make this gluten-free cake perfectly every single time.
Watch for the thickness of the fresh strawberry purée, the cake batter consistency and the pink coloring of the cake batter after adding the food dye to the batter.
For the ingredient list with measurements, full instructions, printable recipe, and additional notes, please scroll down to the recipe card.
Typically strawberry cake and other cakes are not gluten-free due to the flour that is used in the cake. Instead, we made this strawberry cake gluten-free by using a gluten-free flour blend that is meant to be substituted 1-for-1 with all-purpose flour.
For best results, use the strawberry buttercream recipe that is provided in the recipe card to get the most strawberry flavor in each bite.
hints & tips
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- If you want to make this recipe ahead, you can bake the cake and freeze it tightly wrapped for up to 3 months. Just let it thaw at room temperature before frosting.
- To save leftover strawberry cake, store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Freeze slices of cake for up to 3 months. To do so, place the slices of cake on a sheet pan and flash freeze for an hour. Once frozen, individually wrap the pieces of cake and place in a freezer safe container or bag. Defrost individual pieces of cake at room temperature to serve.
The best way to serve this gluten-free strawberry cake is topped with my strawberry frosting recipe. It really is the best frosting to go with this cake recipe and makes the strawberry flavor shine through.
If desired, you can use chocolate frosting for a chocolate strawberry cake or cream cheese frosting for a strawberries and cream cake. For a more subtle option, try my chantilly cream recipe for a strawberry shortcake cake.
If you use any of these other frosting options, I would recommend adding more strawberry flavor to the cake by filling the layer with my strawberry coulis recipe. This will help balance the strawberry flavor with the other flavors of frosting.
Make this cake an ice cream cake by adding a layer of homemade strawberry ice cream in between the cake layers.
More delicious gluten-free cake recipes to try
Did you make this recipe?
I’d love to know! Please rate it and leave a comment below. You can also share your pictures and tag @adashofmegnut on Instagram.
Gluten-Free Strawberry Cake
- 1 lb strawberries (450g, hulled and quartered)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50g)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (15g)
- 2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour blend (315g, I used Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Flour Blend)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
- 1/3 cup cornstarch (43g)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter (softened (227g))
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (300g)
- 4 eggs (224g)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream (120g)
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup strawberry reduction (from above)
- red or pink food coloring (optional)
- 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries (22g)
- 1 cup unsalted butter (softened (226g))
- 4 cups powdered sugar (480g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
To make the strawberry reduction:
- Add the quartered strawberries, granulated sugar, and lemon juice to a saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and then turn down to a simmer.
- Let cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and is reduced down to about 3/4 cup of strawberry reduction. It will be very thick.
- Let the strawberry reduction cool for 5-10 minutes before using.
To make the strawberry cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and line two 8-inch cake rounds with parchment paper. Dust with gluten-free flour, tapping off any excess. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum (if using), cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, whole milk, and strawberry reduction until combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the softened butter. Mix until the butter is smooth.
- Add the granulated sugar and cream together for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- Add about 1/3 of the gluten-free flour mixture to the bowl, mixing just until combined. Scrape down the bowl and add 1/2 of the strawberry sour cream mixture and mix until combined.
- Repeat with 1/3 of the gluten-free flour, remaining 1/2 of the strawberry mixture, and finish with the last 1/3 of the gluten-free flour mixture. Mix just until no more streaks of flour remain, being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed so that everything is combined.
- If desired, add red food coloring until it has reached the level of pink that you want. Some of the pink color will bake off so add just a shade or two darker than desired.
- Pour the strawberry cake batter into the two prepared cake pans.
- Bake at 350F for 28-33 minutes, until the cake is cooked through. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick or cake tester into the center of the cake. When removed, a few moist crumbs should be on the toothpick.
- Let the cakes cool completely before frosting with strawberry buttercream.
To make the strawberry buttercream:
- Add the freeze-dried strawberries to a food processor. Process until finely ground. Set aside.
- Add the softened butter to a large mixing bowl.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth.
- Add the finely ground freeze-dried strawberries to the butter and mix until combined.
- Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix until combined.
- Gradually add in the powdered sugar, about ½ cup at a time, mixing in between. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure it is all mixed in.
- Add the milk and mix until it is a pipeable consistency. You don’t want the buttercream to be too stiff that it is difficult to spread on the cake, but also not too loose that it will slide around on the cake. Add more milk if needed.
To assemble the cake:
- Place one layer of strawberry cake on a serving plate or platter. Add dollops of strawberry frosting on top and smooth with a spatula.
- Place the other strawberry cake layer on top of the frosting.
- Then, do a thin layer (crumb coat) of frosting on the cake to trap in all of the crumbs. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to make it easier to frost. Then, go back and frost the cake with a thicker layer of frosting.
- Pipe decorations on top and garnish with fresh strawberries if desired.
- For best results, use a food scale to weigh out the dry ingredients in grams, like gluten-free flour and cornstarch. It is the most accurate way to measure your ingredients and will help make sure this cake is not too dense.
- If you are gluten-free, be sure to double check that all ingredients are gluten-free. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change from time to time.
- Be sure that the cake has cooled completely before frosting, otherwise the frosting will melt and the cake will slide around.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days for best results. You can freeze the strawberry cake for longer storage.
Well Megan, as my 8 year old niece put it to me: “there aren’t enough strawberries in here, aunt Andi—“. LOL. For that reason, I’m giving your recipe 3 stars. Because I was blasted by my niece @ the birthday party for my husband yesterday. Besides that the moisture level was great and overall the cake tasted ok. But you couldn’t taste the strawberries in the cake, which was sort of the whole point.
Thanks for the feedback. Did you use fresh strawberries by chance? I’m wondering if they’re just not flavorful enough this time of year to get a good strawberry flavor. I did all my testing during summer when they were super flavorful. Let me know if that’s what you used. Either way, sounds like I need to do some winter testing to make sure that I give suggestions for what to use when strawberries aren’t in season. Thanks!