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!
For the Cake:
For the Frosting:
- 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