It would seem I’ve landed on baking these to get us through these summer days – small batch and EASY. That’s my level in the kitchen these days. I’m either making just two giant cookies, one cinnamon roll, or the actual best coconut sheet cake with cake mix. Since we’ve mirrored each other in the kitchen for the last fourteen years running, I suspect that this is your level these days as well! Let’s lean into it today with what is now my very favorite strawberry cake – a very southern combination of white cake mix, strawberry Jell-O, sour cream and cream cheese frosting. Because we are, in fact, a little fancy though not from scratch, we’ll add strawberry puree to this perfect strawberry sheet cake and it’s cream cheese frosting.
Doesn’t this sound great? Doesn’t this cake sound like we’re on our way to a church picnic where there will also be fried fish and potato salad and square slices of this cake on small styrofoam plates wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, smashing the frosting but you don’t care? Exactly. Now, let’s bake part of our daydream into reality.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this easy strawberry cake recipe:
• 1 (15.25 ounce box) white cake mix will have all of the flour, baking powder, and salt the cake needs and we’ll take all the ease we can get this summer.
• 1 (3 ounce box) strawberry Jell-O or strawberry gelatin will amp up the strawberry flavor and pinky color
• 3 large eggs
• sour cream is my favorite way to moisten cake mix because it helps create a tender crumb.
• strawberry puree is made with fresh strawberries in a food processor (or small blender in a pinch)
• canola oil or any neutral oil
• cream cheese softened to room temperature for a rich and glorious frosting
• unsalted butter softened to room temperature
• powdered sugar sifted if it’s clumpy and stubborn
• fresh strawberries sliced for topping
• optionally, a teaspoon of vanilla extract in the cream cheese frosting.
To make this pink dream of a cake, in a large bowl whisk together cake mix, strawberry gelatin, eggs, oil, water, sour cream, and strawberry puree. Whisk together by hand for 2-3 minutes or with electric hand beaters for 2 minutes on medium speed.
Once combined, you’ll have a glossy smooth, pink cake batter.
For a sheet cake, pour the batter into a greased 9×13-inch pan.
If you’d like to make cake layers, divide the batter between two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans. The round cakes will bake at different times so check the back of your cake mix box for specifics.
Place the prepared pan in the oven on one of the upper racks – either the middle rack or upper third rack. Bake until puffed and lightly golden around the edges, testing with a toothpick for a moist crumb at the end of its bake time.
While the cake is baking, let’s make the cream cheese frosting. This is not so secretly my favorite part because there are few things better than taking a swipe of frosting with a spoon.
Here are 5 Tips For Making The Best Cream Cheese Frosting, though the key factor of a smooth and fluffy cream cheese frosting is room temperature butter and cream cheese. Make sure everything is nice and soft.
For that sweet pink hue and a bit of berry flavor, add a few tablespoons of puree to make a strawberry cream cheese frosting.
I like to chill the cream cheese frosting for 20 minutes before frosting the cake so the border frosting pipes up taller and holds its shape. Pop it right on in the fridge.
Spread a generous amount of frosting over the cake, saving about 1/4 of the frosting to pipe using a large star tip and a piping bag or a heavy duty freezer bag.
Here’s another key, friends – after frosting the cake, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cake overnight. Cream cheese frosting is best served cold, right? Maybe that’s a personal preference. Before serving, garnish the cake with berries.
It’s a perfect, low fuss, easy strawberry cake recipe. This is one of those cake recipes (along with my favorite coconut cake) you’ll tuck away and bring out every time it’s time to show off without breaking a sweat. Claim this as your very own and honestly, spread the good word that sometimes the best cakes start with a humble mix.
Please leave any baking questions and your rating of this recipe in the comments below! Happy Baking!Print
My Favorite Super Easy Strawberry Sheet Cake
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 1 9x1-inch sheet cake that serves 12-16 1x
- Category: dessert, cake, birthday
- Method: baking
For the Cake:
- 1 (15.25 ounce) box white cake mix
- 1 (3-ounce) box strawberry Jell-O or gelatin
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup fresh strawberry puree (from fresh or frozen and thawed berries)
- 1/3 cup canola oil or any neutral oil
- 3 large eggs
For the Frosting:
- 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 5–6 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh strawberry puree
- Spoonful of sour cream, if necessary
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch sheet pan with nonstick baking spray or grease and flour the pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine cake mix, gelatin, water, sour cream, strawberry puree, oil and eggs. Beat on low using electric hands beaters just to combine then beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 26-30 minutes until baked through and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs or clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- While the cake cools, make the cream cheese frosting. In a medium bowl using electric hand beaters, beat cream cheese around the bowl to soften. Add the softened butter and beat to combine. Add the powdered sugar and strawberry puree and beat until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. If necessary, add a spoonful of sour cream to loosen the frosting. Chill the frosting for 20 minutes before spreading on the cake. (This will help make the frosting more smooth when spread across the cake.)
- Once the cake is cooled, spread the frosting across the cake, saving 1/4 of the frosting to pipe a border using a piping bag (or heavy duty freezer bag) and a large star tip. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Before serving, add sliced fresh strawberries to the top of the cake, slice and serve chilled.
Keywords: strawberry, sheet cake, baking, recipes, joy the baker, easy cakes
I want to make this for my son’s birthday party! Do you have a recipe for the strawberry puree or is just as simple as blending frozen or fresh strawberries ?
How long is the cream cheese frosting good for? Could I use it a week after it’s been made? Thanks!
Joy the Baker
Yes! You can use it a week after it’s been made. I’d keep it for up to two weeks.
Quick and easy recipe . this Strawberry cake was so amazing. Thanks for the recipe .
The cake was delicious! I used strawberry cake mix, which made the cake even tastier. And sprinkled it with some dark chocolate chips. I had the best strawberry cake till now, will make once a week for sure!!
The cake looks great. Would it be possible to get this recipe from scratch (without the box mix)? Do you have an easy substitute of flour, baking powder and salt that can replace the box mix?
Delicious cake. My family loved it. However it turned out a little dense in the middle. The taste was great I just wish the middle was more fluffy. Any idea what I might have done wrong? I followed the recipe, The only difference was that I used sugar free strawberry jello.
Joy the Baker
I’m sorry your cake came put a little sense in the middle. I think this can happen if the cake batter gets overmixed or jostled while baking.
Loved this super simple recipe! It turned out perfect and was a huge 4th of July hit… thanks Joy!
I didn’t have a white cake mix so I used a yellow one and it’s delish! Thank you for sharing it!
Would this work for cupcakes? If so, how would I adjust the time?
Looks just delicious.
I was wondering the same! I made this as a sheet cake and it was awesome but would love individual portions for an upcoming party.
My first thought—
Yeah don’t want gelatin
I have tried another recipe w freeze dried strawberries and loved it
Don’t understand need for gelatin
Please explain the need for it. Curious as to the why
The presentation on this cake is simply beautiful. What’s nice about making it is that you can make this cake with strawberries that are in season now for sure. However, if you want to adapt this recipe you can use peaches, pineapple or strawberries and blueberries combo as alternatives as well. This really is a great recipe. Thank you. Happy 4rh of July!
fun cake recipe, love the strawberry purree cream cheese frosting and in the cake! A nice use of summer strawberries, thank you!
Sorry one note I found in using freeze dried strawberries
Do not pre-grind and leave to use later
They absorb moisture from air
Please grind only at time of preparation
I made it as written (such a rebel, I know). Batter came together quick and easy. Cake is still cooling but looks great. Frosting is delicious. I’ll report back after dinner!
How would you adapt the baking times for an 8 inch double round?
Hello! Check the instructions on the cake box, they usually have an adaptation of how to adjust for cake rounds but usually it’s 35-40 minutes for 8 in double rounds. Hope this helps! Happy Baking! xo
Wondering if 5-6 cups of powdered sugar is a misprint. Could it be 5-6 tablespoons instead?
Joy the Baker
I know it seems like a lot, but I do mean cups.
Will this cake work with egg substitute? I’m still getting used to my son’s egg allergy, and I know some recipes don’t work well (I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer).
Yes, you can substitute eggs for one cup of apple sauce.
Is it possible to omit the Jello/gelatin for those of us who are vegetarian (or is there a possible substitute)?
Wondering the same thing about Jello! I think my first thing to try would be a veg Jello like the Gefen brand. Would add the flavor punch anyway.
Joy the Baker
Oh interesting question and thoughts! I’ll test the recipe this weekend without the Jell-O. I suspect that it will work just fine without gelatin, maybe just be a little lighter on the strawberry flavor. I love Amanda’s suggestion for freeze fried strawberries. I would grind those up extra fine and add 1/3 cup or so! More soon!
I bet crushing up freeze dried strawberries (and maybe adding a little sugar) would give a similar result!
I just read another strawberry cake recipe that said they had tried powdered freeze dried strawberries in the cake and it messed up the texture, they had cooked down the puree to reduce the amount of liquid. They did use the freeze dried strawberries in thier frosting and got great reviews. Just to give you another option.
I can’t wait to try this! Years ago I made a delicious strawberry cake recipe that sounds kind of similar to this one. It was so good that there wasn’t a piece left at our Summer BBQ! I am so surprised at how everyone who commented wants to change the recipe so much, why bother even making it, if you don’t want to use half of the ingredients? Just make another one. Changing a small detail because of a food allergy is one thing, but when people start critiquing every ingredient it makes me wonder why they bother? I personally think it sounds great as is! The whole purpose of this is that delicious light but heavenly strawberry flavor, I can’t understand why anyone would want to alter it so much that it’s like a whole different recipe…
best comment on here! 5 stars for the comment. can’t wait to try the recipe! making it this weekend for my daughter’s birthday