Gluten-Free Strawberry Cake

5 from 14 votes
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An easy recipe for gluten-free Strawberry Cake. This homemade strawberry cake is made with fresh strawberries and is topped with a strawberry buttercream frosting. 

gluten-free strawberry cake sliced on a blue cake stand

Gluten-Free Strawberry Cake

To make the best gluten-free strawberry cake, I use fresh strawberries, not strawberry flavoring or strawberry Jell-O.  So how can you get real strawberry flavor into cake batter without adding too much liquid from the fresh strawberries?  Making an easy strawberry reduction!

Just using pureed strawberries tends to add too much liquid to the cake batter. Even if you try and just add more gluten-free flour to the batter to make up for the extra liquid, the cake comes out too dense.

Taking the extra step of making the fresh strawberry reduction makes all the difference in the taste and texture of this gluten-free strawberry cake. You can see how easy this gluten-free strawberry cake is to make in the detailed recipe step photos or the recipe video.

gluten-free strawberry cake recipe ingredients

Ingredients In Gluten-Free Strawberry Cake

Strawberries: These are the star ingredients for this gluten-free cake. This recipe uses fresh strawberries for the cake and freeze-dried strawberries for the strawberry buttercream.

Butter: The softened butter is used as the fat in the recipe. It’s the fat in the recipe that helps make the cake not too dense. It is also used as the base for the buttercream frosting.

Granulated Sugar: Not only does sugar sweeten the cake, but it helps the cake be soft and moist.

Eggs: The eggs help give structure to the cake. The height and texture of the cake are determined by the balance between the eggs and the gluten-free flour.

Pure Vanilla Extract and Salt: These ingredients enhance the flavor of the strawberry cake.

Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour With Xanthan Gum: Using a gluten-free flour blend made with rice flour, starches, and xanthan gum mimics the taste and texture of traditional all-purpose flour. I bake with Pillsbury gluten-free flour.

Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Baking powder and baking soda are what help this gluten-free cake rise.

Milk: Milk not only adds flavor but also protein and moisture to the cake. It is also important for a soft crumb. This recipe also works well with dairy-free milk.

White Vinegar: It is used to make homemade buttermilk. It interacts with baking soda to help the cake rise. It helps the cake have a fluffy and moist texture.

Powdered Sugar: It sweetens the buttercream frosting and gives it structure and firmness.

How To Make Gluten-Free Strawberry Cake

The recipe ingredients and the full instructions are on the recipe card at the bottom of the page. 

Strawberry Reduction
I recommend making this several hours (or the prior night) before baking the cake. The strawberry sauce needs to be completely cooled before using in the cake batter.

  • Remove the stems of the strawberries and cut the strawberries in half. Puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender. I used my NinjaMaster Prep Pro System. (photo 1)
  • Place the pureed strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice into a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Once bubbling, reduce the heat to low and let the strawberries slowly reduce stirring occasionally. Reduce for about 30 minutes. The strawberry sauce will be thick like tomato sauce. (photo 2)
  • Allow the strawberry reduction to cool before placing it in an airtight container and refrigerating. Do not use hot or warm strawberry reduction to make the cake batter. The strawberry sauce needs to be completely cooled for making the cake.

gluten-free strawberry cake recipe steps photo collage 1-6

Strawberry Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut parchment paper for the bottom of your two 9-inch cake pans and spray with gluten-free cooking spray.
  • In a measuring cup, add the white vinegar (or lemon juice) to the milk and stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes in the refrigerator to stay cold. (homemade buttermilk)
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add the pure vanilla extract and mix until fully combined.
  • Add the eggs to the butter mixture and mix until fully combined. (photo 3)
  • In a medium bowl, add the gluten-free flour, gluten-free baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine the ingredients.
  • Add the gluten-free flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture. Mix until fully combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. (photo 4)
  • Add the milk to the cake batter and mix until fully combined.
  • Add the completely cooled strawberry reduction to the cake batter. Mix until fully combined.
  • (Add optional 2 drops of pink or red gel food coloring if you want the cupcake batter pinker) (photo 5 &6)

gluten-free strawberry cake recipe steps 7-12 photo collage

  • Pour the cake batter evenly into the lined and greased cake pans. (photo 7)
  • Bake the cake for 30-32 minutes. Check the center of the cake by inserting a toothpick to make sure it is done. You will also see the sides of the cake pulling away from the side of the pan. Please watch your cakes because all ovens are different. (photo 8)
  • Cool the cakes completely before frosting. This cake is a little denser than a gluten-free vanilla cake. 
  • Make the strawberry buttercream using the frosting instructions below.
  • Place the first cake on a plate or a cake plate. Frost the top of the first cake. This will be the frosting in the center of your cake. I like a good amount of frosting in the center. Place the second cake on top of the frosted first cake. Frost the top and side of the cake with the remaining frosting. I decorated the top using a Wilton 1M tip.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container or cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

  • Add the freeze-dried strawberries to a food processor or blender and puree into a strawberry powder. (photo 9)
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter with a mixer. (photo 10)
  • Add the pure vanilla extract and salt to the creamed butter and mix until fully combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding the powdered sugar.
  • Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix until the frosting is firm.
  • Add the strawberry powder and mix until fully combined. (photo 11)
  • Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix until fully combined. (photo 11)

gluten-free strawberry cake on a blue cake stand with a white background

Tips For Baking The Best Gluten-Free Strawberry Cake

  • I recommend that the strawberry reduction be made several hours (or the prior night) before baking. The strawberry sauce needs to be completely cooled before using in the cake batter.
  • Freeze-dried strawberries can be found with the dried fruit in the grocery store. I purchased at both Walmart and Aldi. Do not use dried strawberries. You need freeze-dried strawberries.
  • Use 2-3 drops of gluten-free pink or red gel food coloring if you want a brighter, pink-colored cake. I used 2 drops. I did not use any food coloring in the frosting.
  • Line the bottoms of the cake pans with parchment paper. Trace the bottoms of the cake pans with a pencil and cut them out with scissors to have them fit perfectly!
  • Use gluten-free cooking spray to grease the cake pans. I like coconut oil cooking spray.
  • Allow the cakes to cool before frosting the cake.

Gluten-Free Flour

This gluten-free strawberry cake was made with Pillsbury gluten-free flour. It is a cup-for-cup all-purpose gluten-free rice flour blend and already has the xanthan gum and starches in it.

Most gluten-free all-purpose flour blends have starches and xanthan gum already in them. The xanthan gum helps replace the elasticity and texture of gluten.

So make sure to check the ingredients of your gluten-free flour so as not to add any extra xanthan gum to your flour if it already includes it. If you do, you will get a gummy cake!

My favorite gluten-free flour is Pillsbury gluten-free. Not all gluten-free flours are created equal. You may experience different baking results depending on the gluten-free flour blend you choose.

This gluten-free strawberry cake recipe with not work with almond, oat, or coconut flour.

Tip For Measuring Gluten-Free Flour

It is super important to use a measuring cup made for dry ingredients (not a pyrex liquid measuring cup) to measure gluten-free flour. I measure the gluten-free flour with the “spoon & level” method.

I use a large spoon to scoop the flour into the measuring cup. Then I use the back of a knife to level off the top of the measuring cup.

Please do not scoop the flour directly out of the bag with your measuring cup. If you do, you could end up with more flour than is called for in the recipe.

Ingredient Substitutions for Gluten-Free Strawberry Cake

I have test-baked this gluten-free strawberry cake with dairy-free ingredient substitutions.

For Dairy-Free:

For the milk, you can substitute it with unsweetened almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk.
For the butter, you can use dairy-free or vegan butter. I like Smart Balance buttery spread.

gluten-free strawberry cake on a blue cake plate with white plates and cake sever in the background

Easy Gluten-Free Strawberry Cake

If you love strawberries, you are going to enjoy this easy-to-make, from-scratch, gluten-free strawberry cake! This moist cake is bursting with the flavor of fresh strawberries.

More Gluten-Free Desserts To Try!

Mama Knows Gluten Free e-book photo collage

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5 from 14 votes

Gluten-Free Strawberry Cake

Servings: 16 servings
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 32 minutes
Total: 1 hour 17 minutes
gluten-free strawberry cake on a blue cake plate
An easy recipe for gluten-free Strawberry Cake. This homemade strawberry cake is made with fresh strawberries and is topped with a strawberry buttercream frosting. 

Ingredients 

Strawberry Reduction

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries (32 ounces)
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice , Optional

Strawberry Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, For dairy-free use Smart Balance butter.
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, , room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour with xanthan gum, I like Pillsbury gluten-free. Not all gluten-free flours are created equal. You may experience different baking results depending on the gluten-free flour blend you choose.
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk, Dairy-free use unsweetened almond milk.
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberry reduction
  • 2 drops pink or red gel food coloring , Optional if you want the cupcakes really pink.

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened, Dairy-free use Smart Balance butter
  • 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk, Dairy-free use unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions 

Strawberry Reduction

  • I recommend making this reduction several hours (or the prior night) before baking the cake. The strawberry sauce needs to be completely cooled before using in the cake batter.
  • Remove the stems of the strawberries and cut the strawberries in half. Puree the strawberries in a food processor or blender. I used my NinjaMaster Prep Pro System.
  • Place the pureed strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice into a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Once bubbling, reduce the heat to low and let the strawberries slowly reduce stirring occcasionally. Reduce for about 30 minutes. The strawberries sauce will be thick like tomato sauce.
  • Allow the strawberry reduction to cool before placing it in an airtight container and refrigerating. Do not use hot or warm strawberry reduction to make the cake batter. The strawberry sauce needs to be completely cooled for making the cake.

Strawberry Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut parchment paper for the bottom of your two 9-inch cake pans and spray with gluten-free cooking spray.
  • In a measuring, cup add the white vinegar (or lemon juice) to the milk and stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes in the refrigerator to stay cold. (homemade buttermilk)
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add the pure vanilla extract and mix until fully combined.
  • Add the eggs to the butter mixture and mix until fully combined.
  • In a medium bowl, add the gluten-free flour, gluten-free baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine the ingredients. 
  • Add the gluten-free flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture. Mix until fully combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the milk to the cake batter and mix until fully combined.
  • Add the completely cooled strawberry reduction to the cake batter. Mix until fully combined. (Add optional 2 drops of pink or red gel food coloring if you want the cupcake batter pinker)
  • Pour the cake batter evenly into the lined and greased cake pans.
  • Bake the cake for 30-32 minutes. Check the center of the cake by inserting a toothpick to make sure it is done. You will also see the sides of the cake pulling away from the side of the pan. Please watch your cakes because all ovens are different.
  • Cool the cakes completely before frosting. This cake is a little denser than a gluten-free vanilla cake. 
  • Make the strawberry buttercream using the frosting instructions below.
  • Place the first cake on a plate or a cake plate. Frost the top of the first cake. This will be the frosting in the center of your cake. I like a good amount of frosting in the center. Place the second cake on top of the frosted first cake. Frost the top and side of the cake with the remaining frosting. I decorated the top using a Wilton 1M tip.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container or cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

  • Add the freeze-dried strawberries to a food processor or blender and puree into a strawberry powder.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter with a mixer.
  • Add the pure vanilla extract and salt to the creamed butter and mix until fully combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding the powdered sugar. 
  • Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix until the frosting is firm.
  • Add the strawberry powder and mix until fully combined.
  • Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix until fully combined.

Video

Notes

  • I like Pillsbury gluten-free. Not all gluten-free flours are created equal. You may experience different baking results depending on the gluten-free flour blend you choose.
  • I recommend that the strawberry reduction be made several hours (or the prior night) before baking the cake. The strawberry sauce needs to be completely cooled before using in the cake batter. 
  • Freeze-dried strawberries can be found with the dried fruit in the grocery store. I purchased at both Walmart and Aldi. Do not use dried strawberries. You need freeze-dried strawberries
  • Use 2-3 drops of pink or red gel food coloring if you want a brighter pink-colored cake. I used 2 drops. I did not use any food coloring in the frosting. 
  • I used unsweetened almond milk and Smart Balance butter for the dairy-free option.
  • Mama says, "Always check your labels!"

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 525kcalCarbohydrates: 87gProtein: 4gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 202mgPotassium: 395mgFiber: 5gSugar: 68gVitamin A: 605IUVitamin C: 214mgCalcium: 80mgIron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @mamaknowsglutenfree or tag #mamaknowsglutenfree!

About Audrey Roberts

I'm Audrey Roberts, a busy mama of four and I love sharing the recipes that I make for my family. I make gluten-free family-friendly recipes that are simple and delicious that you can too! I use easy to find ingredients that won't break your budget. You will also find dairy-free options and Paleo recipes. I am also the author of The Everything Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Cookbook, which is an Amazon Best Selling Cookbook in the US and Internationally. Living gluten-free since 2010. I hope by me sharing my journey it may help you with yours.

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29 Comments

  1. I just made the Strawberry Cake and it is delicious.
    I didn’t do the frosting as my mother is a diabetic and doesn’t need the added sugar.
    I added a dollop of whip cream….ummm
    It’s great without the frosting….

  2. This Strawberry Cake recipe is FABULOUS!!! I made it into cupcakes and it was perfect! Such a strong strawberry taste…… exactly what I wanted! They were a bit at the birthday party! I will be making this again and again.
    It will become a favorite of yours!

  3. I made this cake for my son’s birthday. Not only does he have Celiac disease, he recently
    was diagnosed with lactose intolerance and a fructose malabsorption disorder. I was able to make this cake with lactose-free milk and a plant-based butter. I also added sugar free strawberry gelatin mix. The whole family loved it! Could this recipe be baked as a 9 x 13 cake? If so, how would the baking instructions change?

  4. Do you know roughly how much batter this makes in ounces? It sounds great and I’m hoping to use it to make a strawberry shaped cake for my daughter’s birthday.

    1. Hi Crystal, this makes approx. 977 grams of batter, which is about 34 ounces by our calculations.

  5. I am making this cake for Mother’s Day, and I do not have a food scale so I used a conversion chart when measuring strawberries for reduction sauce. Can you provide an approximation on the number of cup measurements of sauce to put into cake batter? Thank you.

    1. Hi Valli, underneath the ingredients list, you should be able to click on a button that says “US Customary” that will convert everything to cups. You’ll need 1 1/2 cups of the reduction for the batter.

  6. Can’t wait to make this! I’m planning for a party that’s 4 weeks from now. Would it work if I bake then freeze the layers separately, and then thaw and frost on the day of? Also, should the layers cool completely in the pans without removing to a cooling rack?

    1. You can absolutely freeze and thaw the cake layers! Let them cool until they easily release from the pans.

      1. Hi Myra, if you make this recipe in 3 (8-inch) cake pans, the cakes will be on the thinner side. We recommend upping the recipe by about 1/3 to compensate, or you can bake it for a bit longer in 2 (8-inch) pans!

  7. Question, could you just use buttermilk instead of mixing the whole milk and vinegar? Also if I wanted to do a single layer cake would you recommend making both and just throwing the other layer in the freezer or could I halve this recipe pretty easily?
    Thank you!

    1. Yes, you can use buttermilk instead of the milk and vinegar, and the recipe should halve easily!

  8. This cake is sooo good and will be making it again, and again! So glad I read through the recipe prior to the day I needed it. I too made the reduction the day before. Thank you for sharing your yummy recipes. You have made my life so much easier.

  9. I make this yearly for my daughter’s birthday. I find it to be labor-intensive but worth every bit of loving effort. She prefers a cream cheese icing so that is an easy switch. BEST GF strawberry cake ever!

  10. Incredible cake. Even better as leftovers. Used King Arthur 1:1 and coconut milk with Earth Balance. The icing is the star and perfect balance to the cake.

  11. My dairy and wheat-allergic daughter requested this for a last minute birthday cake. I made the reduction and cooled it quickly in a shallow pan in the freezer. Used King Arthur GF flour, Earth Balance vegan butter, and oat milk and we ended up with a very flavorful and moist cake! I will definitely be making this recipe again.

    1. So what did you use instead of the eggs? I don’t see a suggested substitute for the eggs, but you made yours dairy free so just asking what did you use.

      1. Cindy, eggs are dairy free. I think maybe you were confused because she mentioned using vegan butter to make the cake dairy free. But if you need egg free, I believe Bobs makes an egg substitute (I haven’t used it).

  12. Strawberry cake is a family favorite in our house. I’ve made this cake at least 5 times. We love that you can taste the strawberry flavor without any artificial flavoring or color. The dried strawberries are critical. It’s easy to make and directions are awesome.

  13. I would really like to give this recipe a 10! Glad I read through it the day before so I could have the strawberry reduction ready when my granddaughter came the next day….she is becoming quite the baker! Great comments from the family and you definitely couldn’t tell it was gluten free!

    Also the freezer dried strawberries for the icing worked great. Every time I have made strawberry icing it is always runny…..this defintiely was not. Thank you!

  14. This cake looks and tastes so good! I made it and pretty much followed the recipe as written for both gluten and dairy free. My reduction of the purée took closer to an hour to get it to 1 1/2 cups, but came out great. I ended up adding half a cup of strawberry jello as I was short on sugar. I’m not sure how much it changed things as this was the first time I’ve made the cake but the cake had a really pretty pink color. I also added in a small layer of cut up strawberries in the middle layer, which everyone loved. file:///var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments/6a/10/6F4E6670-0C74-4262-9813-D7A112966B0B/IMG_7765.jpg

  15. I really appreciate the detailed recipe organization and detailed instructions. This recipe is not for the faint of heart. It is not hard but requires advance planning and preparation. I made the strawberry reduction the day prior as recommended. I was short of strawberries, used half fees half frozen and it turned out fine. I used Supernatural plant based food coloring, duck eggs, and a mix of Better Batter and King Arthur Measure for measure gf flour. The cake is moist and delicious! Will make again and highly recommend.