Fresh Strawberry Cake

This fluffy strawberry cake is made with fresh berries, and has chocolate cookie layers baked right in! Frosted with whipped buttercream and topped with chocolate dipped strawberries, it’s a dessert that will dazzle!

You’ll need about 15 large strawberries (more if you plan to dip some in chocolate to decorate the top). And you’ll need chocolate wafers. I used Nabisco Famous wafers, because they crush well and aren’t too sweet. You could scrape the icing out of chocolate sandwich cookies and use the those if you prefer. (Dump that greasy filling!)

I made this cake five times before I was satisfied, and The Man was happy to test each version. Repeatedly.

I wanted a little more strawberry flavor, so for my fifth try I added a teaspoon of (gasp) strawberry gelatin powder. You can use strawberry extract instead, or just stick with the berries and enjoy the light taste.

Each of my cakes got progressively pinker as I got braver with the pink food color. Again, go au naturel if you wish, but expect a less vibrant, grayish shade of pink because the color fades a bit as it bakes.

Here is how the color progressed as I experimented:

That first cake also had whole eggs. The yolks don’t exactly help bring out the color, do they? Looking at these photos, I might have been a little heavy-handed with the food coloring on that last cake. I think I like the bubblegum color of the middle version best. Moderation!  Here is how it looked frosted:

Fresh Strawberry Cake
  • CAKE:
  • 1 package (9 oz) chocolate wafer cookies (like Nabisco Famous Wafers), finely crushed
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ¼ cup solid refined coconut oil (or shortening)
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ cups strawberry puree (about 12 large berries). Use food processor or blender)
  • ¼ cup chopped strawberries (2-3 large), firmly pressed between paper towels to remove juice
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ cups cake flour
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • pink food coloring - optional
  • 1 teaspoon strawberry extract (or 1 teaspoon powdered strawberry gelatin) optional
  • 6 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup solid refined coconut oil (or shortening)
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup heaving whipping cream
  • pink food coloring
  1. Heat oven to 350 F
  2. CAKE: Cut two parchment circles to fit the bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans. DO NOT GREASE OR FLOUR PANS. (9-inch pans will work too; your layers will just not be as tall.}
  3. In a medium bowl, combine crushed wafer cookies, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar, stirring until completely blended. Divide between the pans (about 1 packed cup in each pan) and press firmly onto the parchment. Use a measuring cup to press down along the edge of the pan to keep edge from crumbling after baking.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter, coconut oil, and sugar together for 3 minutes.
  5. Mix in the strawberry puree and add coloring and flavoring if desired.
  6. Sift together the baking powder, salt, and cake flour. Sift again! Add half to the batter, beating on medium speed just until combined. Scrape bowl. Add milk and beat until combined. Scrape bowl. Add remaining flour mixture and beat until combined. Fold in chopped strawberries.
  7. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add 1 tablespoon sugar gradually while beating, then beat until egg whites form stiff peaks.
  8. Fold into cake mixture gently, until just a few small fluffs of egg white remain visible.
  9. Divide batter between the cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly when inserted in the middle of one of the cakes.
  10. Move cakes onto cooling racks for 10 minutes. Carefully run a thin knife around the outside edges to loosen, then turn them out by putting a rack on top of each cake and flipping them both over. Carefully lift off pans. Allow cakes to cool completely.
  11. FROSTING: In a large bowl beat butter and coconut oil (or shortening) together until smooth. Add ⅓ of the powdered sugar at a time, beating well with each addition. (If mixture gets too stiff to mix, add a small amount of the whipping cream as needed.) Beat in coloring. Add cream gradually, then beat well. Adjust as necessary with more sugar or more cream to achieve an icing that will spread easily.
  12. ASSEMBLY: Place first cake chocolate side up on serving dish. Gently spread a thin layer of frosting over the chocolate layer. Add second layer chocolate side up. Spread frosting along the side of the cake. Use remaining icing to pipe designs. Strawberries dipped in chocolate add a lovely touch to the top of the cake!

Crush the chocolate cookies. You can use a food processor or put them in a zip top bag and roll them with a rolling pin. Or, roll one at a time and make a mess!

Combine the crushed chocolate cookies, sugar, and melted butter

Press crumbs FIRMLY into parchment lined pans. Use a measuring cup with flat sides to tamp down around edges.

Using a blender or food processor, blend 12 large strawberries (or enough to make 1 1/2 cups of smooth puree. (Think margarita!)

Cream together the butter, coconut oil, and sugar. Add puree.

Sift dry ingredients together twice. I sift onto a paper plate then place the empty sifter into a bowl. It’s easy to funnel the flour back into the sifter this way.

Mix in half of the flour, then the milk, then the remaining flour. Don’t overmix! (Pretend I have a photo here . . . )

Roll the chopped berries in a paper towel and give them a squeeze to remove extra juice. Stir into batter.

Beat egg whites until foamy, then trickle in the sugar while beating. Continue until stiff peaks form.
(Use those yolks for pastry cream, Hollandaise sauce, mayo, ice cream, or custard!)

Fold the egg whites gently into the batter and divide between the two pans. Bake.


Frost with a thin layer of buttercream icing. Go easy; let the cake be the star of this show! But pretty rosettes with chocolate dipped strawberries are gorgeous on top.

If you’re like me, you may have put on one or (ahem) two pounds during this pandemic quarantine. Sigh. I just love sugar. And chocolate. And nuts. All the “bad” stuff is just so good! You might want to indulge in this cake NOW, because I’m going to pull up my big girl panties (which are pretty darn snug at the moment} and create a healthier recipe for my next post.