You'll love this vintage, homemade Strawberry Cake without gelatin- it's made from scratch with simple, all-natural ingredients! Gelatin contains animal by-products, so this vintage recipe is great for vegetarians.
This recipe contains no boxed cake mix, strawberry jello, gelatin or artificial sweeteners and it has a nice strawberry buttercream frosting!
There are a million strawberry cake recipes out there and most of them contain Strawberry Jell-O™ gelatin, which makes the dessert super sweet - in fact, almost too sweet. This strawberry cake without gelatin and uses fresh, naturally sweet berries so it is mild, yet flavorful.
Why you'll love this recipe!
Who doesn't love fresh strawberries?
- Delicious, light flavor--not too sweet - the fresh strawberries have enough sugar in them, but not too much
- All-natural ingredients --featuring real strawberries! Contains no gelatin, no boxed cake mix or weird ingredients and no red food coloring;
- It's pretty! - the natural strawberries make this white cake a pretty pink cake
- The perfect for any occasion--picnics, birthdays, potlucks, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, wedding showers and baby showers!
- Your guests will rave about the fresh, subtle and real strawberry flavor!
Note: this old fashioned recipe does NOT use egg yolks. Only the whites. In that sense, it's like an angel food cake.
When I first made this, I thought I had screwed up because there on the counter sat the egg yolks after I'd baked the cake.
The foam that is formed from the whipped egg whites (in conjunction with the cake flour) is what makes this a fluffy cake. The result is a mild-strawberry flavored dessert that is a little more dense than a sponge or Angel food cake.
Ingredients you'll need
For the batter and frosting, you'll need:
- 2 pounds of fresh strawberries
- Cake flour- this is essential to this recipe. If you don't have cake flour, use all-purpose flour. Per cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and add in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
- Baking powder
- 1 cup of milk
- Vanilla extract
- 2 ½ sticks of unsalted butter
- 8 large eggs, separated
- 2 cups of granulated sugar
- Cream of tartar
- 8 ounces of cream cheese (buy more if you're making a layer cake)
- 4 cups of powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
The batter fills a 9 X 13 baking pan; I have made this in a 9 X 9 square pan and had a little batter leftover. If you want to make a layer cake, use two round 9" inch pans
Equipment you'll need
- A food processor - or electric hand mixer
- Two big mixing bowls: one for the batter and one for the whipped egg white foam
How to make it
This is an easy strawberry cake recipe, but there are several parts to it. Do these simple steps in this order. Read the recipe and notes below in the recipe card before beginning.
This is not difficult to make, there's just several steps to be done. Do the prep work first then follow the instructions.
First things first: Separate the eggs while they're cold and reserve the whites; let the whites, milk, butter and cream cheese come to room temperature, preheat oven to 350ºF, and lightly oil or butter a 9 X 13 baking dish.
Note: you will NOT use the egg yolks in this cake recipe. Save the yolks to make Hollandaise sauce!
Make the fresh strawberry puree
Remove stems, clean and dice strawberries; then puree in food processor; transfer to a saucepan and cook on medium heat until the puree reduces in volume and begins to thicken; (this is basically a strawberry reduction). Remove from heat and set aside.
Make the cake batter
- Use one big bowl for the dry ingredients and combine cake flour, baking powder and salt; In a second, smaller bowl combine wet ingredients: milk and vanilla
- In a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar with paddle attachment; turn mixer to low speed and gradually add in flour mixture; combine well; add in a cup of cooled strawberry puree, mix on medium speed until the ingredients are combined, then set this aside
Whip the egg whites
The egg whites are what make this cake fluffy - note, there's no baking powder in the recipe and this is why! The egg white foam "puffs" the cake just like baking powder.
- Use another super clean large bowl to mix them to soft peaks (use a glass bowl or stainless steel bowl - DO NOT USE A PLASTIC MIXING BOWL)
- Turn the mixer on medium to medium-high speed, add the cream of tartar to the whites and mix on medium to medium-high speed; gradually add sugar to stabilize the mixture. Whisk until soft peaks form.
- Fold the egg white mixture immediately into the cake batter; gently combine
- Pour batter into a lightly oiled 9 X 13 baking dish
- Bake 40 - 45 minutes, or until the center is done (test with a wooden pick)
- Remove cake from pan and allow to rest on a wire rack
Make the frosting
- Using the stand mixer paddle attachment: cream together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla and remaining ⅓ cup of strawberry puree together
- Gradually add powdered sugar in ½ to one-cup increments; it's is at the right consistency when it lightly sticks to the paddle
- Once the fresh strawberry cake is done in the center, allow it to cool before applying the frosting
- Get 2 pounds of whole, juicy strawberries from your farmer's market or grocery store. You may not use all of them, but sometimes you'll get a bad one in the bunch; better to be safe than sorry
- Read the recipe instructions and recipe notes three times - this is not a hard recipe, but if you follow the steps in the exact order, it will be a lot easier
- If you don't have a stand mixer, you can use a handheld electric mixer
- Makes enough cake batter for a 9 x 13 sheet pan. I've made it in a 9" inch square pan and had a little batter leftover. You can also make this in a 9" inch round cake pan.
- When preparing the egg whites, make sure your egg white are at room temperature, your mixing bowl is glass or metal and super clean - no soap residue and no egg shells- AND use a wire whisk - not plastic
- The icing recipe makes a lot of icing and even in a 9 x 13 baking dish, you'll have some leftover.
- Allow cake to cool on a wire rack before applying the frosting.
Make ahead tips
A big timesaver is to make the puree and icing in advance. Make these up to three days ahead of time (just be sure to store in an airtight container in the fridge).
You can make the cake up to a week in advance. Just wrap it well with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge.
The best part about this strawberry cake without gelatin is that. you can make it in advance! Divide the recipe into steps and make everything for this moist cake ahead of time!
Make the cake in advance
Store in the refrigerator for up to three days. Double wrap the cake in plastic wrap.
Make the strawberry puree and frosting in advance
You can store both the puree and frosting in the fridge for up to three days in airtight containers. When it's time to serve, let the icing come to room temperature first.
I love to serve this homemade dessert in the Spring, when strawberries are at their best, but if you don't have fresh berries, you can certainly use frozen. Just rinse and thaw!
Yes. This strawberry cake without gelatin recipe will fill one 9" inch round cake pan. If you want to make a layer cake, double the batter ingredients and triple the puree ingredients; Place a big dollop of the puree on the top the bottom cake for a nice strawberry filling. You may have a little strawberry puree leftover and, you will want to double the buttercream frosting recipe.
Yes. You can freeze unfrosted cake layers or a 9 x 13 sheet cake for up to a year, provided it's wrapped securely with plastic wrap and placed in an airtight container. When ready to serve, allow to thaw to room temperature. Apply the cream frosting or top with homemade whipped cream!
If you make this up to three days in advance, you can double wrap it in airtight plastic wrap and refrigerate it until ready to frost and serve.
This is a vintage recipe may have been developed before the invention of Jello! This strawberry cake without gelatin recipe is the perfect way to treat your friends and family to a wholesome dessert with fresh strawberry flavor!
Once you make this vintage, fresh strawberry cake without gelatin, I think you'll agree the all-natural ingredients offer a mild and refreshing flavor!
More dessert recipes
- No Bake Lemon Icebox Pie
- Key Lime Pie
- No Bake Coconut Cream Pie
- Original Texas Sheet Cake
- Salted Caramel Cheesecake
- Classic Southern Pecan Pie
- Texas Pecan Bars
- Pavlova with Strawberry Curd
♥ If you make this recipe, please leave a comment and rating below! I love to hear from you!
Fresh Strawberry Cake without gelatin
- Stand Mixer and/or electric hand mixer -OR-
- Food Processor
Cake Batter Ingredients
- 2 pounds strawberries (see recipe notes)
- 1 cup strawberry puree (see recipe notes)
- 3½ cups sifted cake flour (see recipe notes)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk , 2% or whole
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 sticks butter ,unsalted
- 1¾ cups sugar (for batter)
- ¼ cup sugar (for egg white foam mixture)
- 8 large eggs, separated (save egg whites) you'll use only the egg whites in this recipe
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Strawberry Puree Ingredient
- 2½ cups diced strawberries (see recipe notes)
- ½ stick butter , unsalted
- 8 oz. cream cheese , room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup pureed strawberries
- Separate eggs and allow egg whites, butter, milk and cream cheese to come room temperature1 cup milk, 2 sticks butter, 8 oz. cream cheese, 8 large eggs, separated (save egg whites)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Lightly oil or butter 9 X 13 baking dish
- Clean and pull stems from strawberries2 pounds strawberries
- Make strawberry puree; set aside to cool
- Place cleaned and stemmed strawberries in food processor and pulse 2-3 minutes until they are liquid2½ cups diced strawberries
- Pour pureed strawberries into saucepan on low to medium heat and cook for 30 minutes; stir occasionally until strawberries begin to thicken and the sauce reduces a little; Remove from stove and allow to cool (or put the strawberry puree in the fridge if you're in a hurry)
Make the Cake
- In a large bowl, add cake flour, baking powder and salt; combine and set aside3½ cups sifted cake flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt
- In a smaller bowl, combine milk and vanilla; set aside1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a stand mixer, use a really big bowl and the paddle attachment; cream butter and sugar together; beat on low for 5 minutes until the mixture is light and creamy2 sticks butter, 1¾ cups sugar
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture while the mixer is on low; add the flour mixture in increments of 3; add the milk/vanilla mixture; add 1 cup of the strawberry puree; combine well; set aside1 cup strawberry puree
- Using a clean mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, add egg whites and cream of tartar; whisk on medium until soft peaks form8 large eggs, separated (save egg whites), ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Once soft peaks have formed, turn setting to high and gradually add in remaining ¼ cup sugar¼ cup sugar
- Use a spatula and immediately fold egg whites into cake batter
- Pour batter into prepared pan
- Bake 40 - 45 minutes, or until the center is firm and a toothpick comes out clean
- Allow to cool before icing
Make the Icing
- Use the stand mixer with a paddle and a large bowl
- Combine butter, cream cheese and vanilla in stand mixer on medium speed½ stick butter, 8 oz. cream cheese, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Add remaining ⅓ cup of strawberry puree; combine well⅓ cup pureed strawberries
- Gradually add powdered sugar in one cup increments; icing is done when it holds to the paddle4 cups powdered sugar
- Use a spatula or off-set knife to apply the icing
- Garnish with any remaining fresh strawberries