Simple Summer Strawberry Cake

5 stars based on 35 votes


This wonderful recipe was sent to me by Karen Tannenbaum, a longtime reader, avid cook and all-around lovely lady. In her email to me, she described a dinner she made that ended with this dessert as “just like a night in heaven.” I was sold. Within a few days, I had the cake in the oven and, sure enough, it was the one of the simplest, prettiest, most delicious cakes I’d ever made.


My favorite thing about this cake is its simplicity: it’s made with very few ingredients, and you can have it in the oven in under 15 minutes. What’s more, it’s a great way to use up extra strawberries or salvage berries that are less than perfect — and it keeps well for days.


Begin by whisking the dry ingredients together. Set aside.


Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla.


Gradually add the flour, alternating with the milk, and beat until smooth. The batter will be quite thick.


Transfer the batter to a buttered 9-inch deep dish pie pan (or 9-inch cake pan) and smooth with a spatula.


Arrange the strawberry halves on top of the batter and sprinkle with sugar. Don’t omit the sugar here; it balances the tartness of the berries and forms a deliciously crisp crust on top the cake.


Bake for about 70 minutes, then cool on rack. The cake is delicious warm or room temperature, served plain, alongside vanilla ice cream or topped with sweetened whipped cream.


This recipe, sent to me by Karen Tannenbaum, is modestly adapted from Martha Stewart Living (June 2005). My only changes were to reduce the quantity of strawberries by 1/4 pound and alter the method of making the batter. Too see the original recipe and read the rave reviews, click here

Summer Strawberry Cake

Servings: One 9-inch cake, 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 25 Minutes


  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine)
  • About 3/4 pound strawberries, hulled and halved


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a 9-inch deep dish pie pan or 9-inch square cake pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, and beat on low speed until smooth. (Note: the batter will be very thick.)
  4. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula (if you use a square cake pan, the batter will only come about 3/4-inch up the sides of the pan -- that's ok). Arrange the strawberries on top, cut side down, so that they completely cover the batter (the recipe calls for approximately 3/4 pound of strawberries; use more or less if necessary). Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the strawberries.
  5. Bake for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 325°F and bake until the cake is lightly golden and a tester comes out clean, about an hour. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack. Serve with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.
  6. Note: Cake can be stored at room temperature for several days, loosely covered.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (10 servings)
  • Calories: 241
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 40g
  • Sugar: 25g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Sodium: 185mg
  • Cholesterol: 38mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    I never tire of trying your recipes, Jen, they have never gone wrong! My boss and workmates loved this strawberry cake, my 3 kids wanted more of this.. I had to (which I was more than happy to do) bake this twice for a friend who never got to taste this the first time as the whole thing “melted in her daughters’ mouths”, love it!

    - Shella on March 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this and thought it was great. Used my KitchenAid mixer to do it. A photo of it was my first post on Facebook and it looks identical to yours. Thanks!

    - Melanie Hines on March 24, 2015 Reply
  • How funny! Don’t know which came first, but this looks like the same *exact* cake (picture and all) that is on Martha Stewart’s website… “Strawberry Cake.”

    - Annabel on March 22, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Annabel, Yes, you’re correct. The recipe was originally published in Martha Stewart Living many years ago and sent to me by one of my readers. (You’ll find the source and link cited over the recipe and on the printed recipe page.)

      - Jenn on March 22, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Hi I tried this recipe and my friends loved it.They are waiting for next cake.I loved your red baking dish too.would you share the brand name please.

    - nirupama on March 20, 2015 Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed it! I wish I could tell you the brand of the pie dish but it all it says is “Stoneware” — if it helps, I actually got it at the supermarket in the cookware section.

      - Jenn on March 21, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is simple to make with ingredients I had on hand and strawberries that needed to be used quickly. It’s tasty and got rave reviews from my family.

    - Diane Z. on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I just made this and everyone loved it. Thank you!

    - Diana on February 28, 2015 Reply
  • I’m assuming I would thaw frozen fruit for this recipe, correct? Thanks, Julie

    - Julie on January 25, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Julie, You can defrost the fruit but it’s not necessary — either way will work fine.

      - Jenn on January 25, 2015 Reply
      • Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I made it with frozen sweet cherries and just cut back the sugar in the recipe. Delish! I can’t wait to try it with other fruits.

        - Julie on January 26, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,
    Can I use frozen berries for this cake.

    - Angie on January 14, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Angie, Yes, frozen berries should be fine.

      - Jenn on January 15, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,
    Could I replace the strawberries with cranberries and how much should i use if so, thank you. :) L. Andrews

    - Linda Andrews on January 2, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Linda, I think you can replace the strawberries with about 1/2 pound fresh cranberries. Please let me know how it turns out.

      - Jenn on January 2, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have made this cake now several times, and it has become a family and friend favorite. I’ve used strawberries the most, but have also used blueberries and a blueberry peach combination with great success as well. I frequently serve it with a butter cream sauce or a lightly sweetened whipped cream. Since I live in a higher elevation, sometimes cakes give me trouble and require some fiddling, but this recipe did not, and has been successful every time just as written. Thank you for a perfect recipe!

    - Jolie on December 14, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    just made this cake and it was delicious! thank you for the recipe i shared it to my fb friends loooooooveeeee it!

    - Alida on December 7, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this strawberry pie the other day. I made a mistake by taking it out of the oven too early when I saw it was getting a little too brown. I should have just reduced the oven temperature and let it bake for full 70 minutes as stated in the recipe. The pie was not fully baked in the center :( However, the edges were fluffy and fully baked and tasted yummy :). I will try to make this pie one more time sometime this month.

    - Masuda on December 5, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Everyone loved the strawberry cake!! It was simple to make and quick to disappear… can’t wait to make it again.

    - KathywithaK on November 19, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for my fiancé and his relatives – it was a hit! My fiancé can’t get enough of it!

    Only change I did was – using almond milk and blueberries. Best recipe! Thank you so much ((: can’t wait to try this with other fruits!

    - Siti on October 7, 2014 Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    I just found your website and I am inspired to try so many of your dishes. I need a brunch dessert tomorrow so I’m going to bake this cake (and can’t wait). I ususally don’t have milk on hand, do you think I can substitute it with almond milk?
    Thank you, Diane

    - Diane Owens on September 28, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Diane, Welcome to the site! I think almond milk will work just fine. Please come back and let me know how it turns out :)

      - Jenn on September 28, 2014 Reply
  • If I’m using a glass pie dish, would I use the same temperature setting for the oven?

    - Ana on September 20, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Ana,

      Great question. I would reduce the oven temp by 25 degrees to be safe.

      - Jenn on September 21, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Strawberry cake: can this be frozen?

    - Anne on September 15, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Anne, Yes, I think it would freeze just fine.

      - Jenn on September 15, 2014 Reply
      • Are you sure the strawberries won’t get mushy freeaing? I did use Italian Plums and it was delicious. Plan to make more of these cakes..Thank you

        - Anne on September 29, 2014 Reply
        • Hi Anne, They are already (pleasantly) mushy once baked, so it doesn’t make a big difference.

          - Jenn on September 29, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this cake for company as a breakfast coffee cake and everyone loved it. It was easy to make and I will definitely make it again and again. I’m thinking of trying frozen blueberries when fresh strawberries aren’t available.

    - Kathy on July 21, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Another home run. You and Ina Garten have made me look like a cooking goddess for family and friends. This says a lot as my family of foodies used to not let me in the kitchen! This cake is outstanding—thank you so much for your easy-to-follow, fresh, and stunning recipes. Trying this again with raspberries. You rock!

    - Jen on July 20, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I loved this cake!!! It was AWESOME! and my toddler and mom thought so too. My mom came upstairs to the second floor to ask me what I had in the oven and can she have some? Mind you, my mom has always been the cook/baker of the family. I doubled the recipe and made (2) 9 inch round cakes. I’m vegan so I left out the egg and added 1/3 cup apple sauce and 1 teaspoon sour cream. I also added 1 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. I also soaked the strawberries in Baileys Irish Rum Cream before placing them on top of the cake batter and sprinkling the sugar on the top. This was so so so good. And then I added more insult to injury (i.e. my hips) by whipping up some strawberry frosting using fresh strawberries. My son and I were licking the bowl literally. I need to make these into cupcakes. I was nervous about doubling the recipe but it turned out great. Thank you so much for this recipe Jenn. It was simply and easy. This is my new go to. I will try to adapt it and maybe do a strawberry shortcake like concoction.

    - Latoya Martin on July 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    On July 4th. we were served Strawberry Shortcake at a party. The enjoyment lingered and when I read Jenn’s posting of Strawberry cake, I had a gut level feeling that this was going to be my “from now on” tweaking of a shortcake recipe. Last night’s dessert (and this morning’s breakfast) hit paydirt. I have a new “go to” whipped cream to serve with fruit based desserts, and it paired stunningly with this cake…1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup buttermilk, 3 tb. brown sugar, 2 tsp. lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Combine and chill the ingredients well, and whip to desired peak.
    Thank you Jenn for what you’ve shared

    - Jeff Winett on July 12, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Jeff, Your buttermilk whipped cream sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing!

      - Jenn on July 13, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    i altered the recipe a bit by using melted butter as i was using a whisk, this made my batter a lot thinner. I expected my strawberries to sink more because of this. However they all stayed at the top where i placed them.
    I enjoyed making and eating this recipe and is now one of my favourites.

    - Fatma on July 12, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have to get in on these reviews. I made this with a pound of sliced strawberries that had marinated with sugar for an hour and was blown away by the total deliciousness. I have made it twice and had to stop making it because I ended up eating it for breakfast, having some after lunch with my tea and then, dinner! I am from SC and I do plan to make it using peaches. The peaches from SC are like eating cake they are so good, but the ones you buy in the grocery store here in NY, not so much. Perfect for this cake and will let you know how it goes. I am so happy everyone loves this and had great results.

    - Karen T on July 11, 2014 Reply
  • what type of sugar is used in this recipe? :)

    - Fatma on July 11, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Fatma, It’s regular granulated sugar.

      - Jenn on July 11, 2014 Reply
      • Thankyou :) ill try the recipe out it looks amazing

        - Fatma on July 11, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This cake was easy to make and yummy. With strawberries ripening so quickly, this was a great way to use them. I overlapped the strawberries on the top (probably used over 1 lb). My husband had it warm with vanilla ice cream; I had it solo and loved it.

    - Deb Eshelman on July 10, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for a July 4th gathering and it was huge hit! I followed the recipe as written and found it to be the “just right” amount of sweet. Worked great with a little side of ice cream. Thanks for the great recipe!

    - Lori on July 10, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for my 10 year old son, his friend, and myself. It was so good that the whole thing was gone within the day I made it! I prepared the recipe as is with the exception of not sprinkling sugar on top. The strawberries I used were very sweet and came out tasting like strawberry jam. I will definitely be making this again and very soon. I’m thinking peaches and raspberries combined next time. :)

    - Allison on July 10, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Omg this is the perfect summer receipt. I substituted stawberries for blueberries. It turned out perfect. So moist and delicious. I love making recepies that are simple and quick to make. Served it to friends asvpart of our sunday brunch. Everyone raved about it and wanted the receipt. Just one thing important to know you oven. It turned up the themp yo 375 degress as the other was just not hot enough for my oven.
    Really enjoying your website and the stories. Making cornmeal muffins tonight for dinner. Receipt sounds delicious.

    - AUDRA KORDERAS on July 10, 2014 Reply
  • can I use raspberries for this recipe too

    - glynis on July 9, 2014 Reply
    • Glynis,
      I made it with raspberries last week and it was a huge it at a neighbourhood gathering. Enjoy!

      - Carol James on July 9, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This an easy and delicious and a good way to use up any kind of extra fruit. I made it with blueberries and some nectarines, with a sprinkling of sugar in the raw on top. Excellent alone or served with a dollop of whipped cream. Good summer time dessert.

    - Claire on July 7, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I wanted to make something a little different than strawberry shortcake for a Fourth of July dessert and this fit the bill perfectly! The only change I made was to sprinkle turbinado sugar on the berries instead of granulated sugar – to give it a bit of a crunchy topping. We served with vanilla ice cream and it was a hit. The leftovers made for a nice breakfast. I will definitely make this again, possibly substituting blackberries or raspberries, and I might add some citrus zest.

    - Liesel on July 7, 2014 Reply
    • Love the idea of the turbinado sugar, Liesel.

      - Jenn on July 7, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Summer Strawberry Cake: Made this cake for the 4th. It was so simple to make and the flavor was very fresh. I will have this cake added to my permanent dessert rotation. Thanks!

    - Nan Wills on July 7, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    A beautiful, simple dessert. Made it with some local raspberries a few days ago and everyone at the gathering loved it! Reminds me of something our grandmothers would have served. Just pure, simple goodness :)

    - Carol James on July 6, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this cake yesterday with fresh strawberries from our garden . Rather than to use the butter I used organic coconut oil it turned out so delicious , crazy good ! Thank you for sharing this recipe !

    - V. on July 6, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for a Fourth of July party and it was a hit! This is one of the easiest and tastiest cakes I have ever made. The strawberries that I got were unfortunately on the tart side, so I macerated them before putting them on the cake to bake. It turned out really well. I will definitely be making this cake again!

    - Diana on July 6, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I had to make this! Used fresh buttermilk since I had some on hand, and served the cake with lightly sweetened whipped cream. Delicious! Very appealing photo of the cake in that red pie dish, too. Once again, thank you, Jenn!!!

    - Liz on July 5, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this cake for the 4th of July and it was so delicious!! Love this recipe! My family loved it too. From one foodie to another, thank you for all the great recipes you put out!

    - Rachel Clabaugh on July 5, 2014 Reply
  • I have this cake in the oven right now for a 4th of July party. All of my strawberries are now covered in batter with some even sinking to the bottom of the pan. The batter was very thick as you described it would be. Any idea what I did wrong? It does smell delicious though.

    - Jackie on July 4, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Jackie, the strawberries do sink a bit – some to the bottom. The batter rises up over them so they kind of fall into pockets. Should be just fine :)

      - Jenn on July 4, 2014 Reply
      • Ok. Thank you. It smells delish and I can’t wait to cut it. I have tried dozens of your recipes and there isn’t one that I haven’t loved and made repeatedly!

        - Jackie on July 4, 2014 Reply
  • Excellent not too sweet and I used not too ripe strawberries so I sprinkled them with the 2 tablespoons of sugar before hand and let them sit while I was making the batter, came out just perfect. So easy and quick. Thank you for this wonderful summer recipe.

    - Peggy Eifler on July 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Baked this tonight for myself and two grown sons. Served with lightly sweetened whipped cream and it was stellar. I made no alterations to the recipe and it turned out very light and the contrast between the tart berries and the sweet, but not too sweet cake was perfect. Definite winner. Thanks!

    - SCL on July 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I had a leftover strawberries I needed to use and this was a perfect match. I used some vanilla sugar I had on hand to sprinkle on top. Served with whipped cream. My 9″ cake pan is the dark metal so the cake was done in 45 mins after turning the temp down to 325. I love all things strawberry.

    - Danita on July 2, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This sounds amazing. I can’t wait to try it out.
    I love every single recipe that I have tried so far. If I’m ever in need of inspiration I always know where to look.
    Thank you for all your hard work. Its very much appreciated

    - Val Ferguson on July 2, 2014 Reply
  • Jenn….we don’t have fresh local strawberries right now. Past season and I don’t like the ones shipped in from California . Do you think a substitution of peaches would work? We are in Georgia and fresh blueberries and peaches are in season and are wonderful.

    - Janet on July 2, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Janet, I do think peaches would work, but a combination of peaches and blueberries might be better. The cake is quite sweet, so using tart fruit balances it all out.

      - Jenn on July 2, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Yummy and easy!

    - Arthur in the Garden! on July 2, 2014 Reply
  • Can I make this without margarine or butter?

    - Beth on July 2, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Beth, Unfortunately, I think it needs one or the other. Sorry!

      - Jenn on July 2, 2014 Reply
  • How do you think the cake would turn out with cherries instead of strawberries? Drowning in cherries right now.

    - Shayna on July 2, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Shayna, I think that cherries would be delicious. I’ve been imagining all the possibilities with this cake…peaches, blueberries, blackberries, etc. :)

      - Jenn on July 2, 2014 Reply

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