Simple strawberry cake made from a boxed muffin mix? Yup. Comes together in 15 minutes with the help of some homemade strawberry milk for a luxe spring cake.
Strawberry Cake Hack
Sure, technically I suppose you could use a white cake mix and simply ~add strawberries~. But that wouldn’t be as good as this cake. I’ll tell you why.
Packed full of one cup of fresh chopped strawberries, this cake can get heavy. All those heavy strawberries in a light, white cake? Not a good balance.
This muffin mix provides a much sturdier, much heartier base to support the plethora of fresh strawberries. The strawberries stay put in the batter (not sinking to the bottom, as they’d do in a thinner, lighter batter of a regular cake) and provide fresh jammy strawberry goodness in each bite.
I recommend serving this as is, no frosting, with a side of whipped cream or your favorite vanilla ice cream. Some fresh chopped mint would complement the strawberries well.
Special Equipment (Kinda)
To make this strawberry cake, you’ll need a few special pieces of equipment.
- Blender (or food processor)
- Liquid measuring cup
- 10″x7″ baking dish – I used this one.
These are all pretty common items. Pick up some cheesecloth at your grocery store if you don’t have any on hand. It’s relatively inexpensive and a versatile tool to have in your kitchen arsenal.
You’ll use the blender, cheesecloth and liquid measuring cup to create the strawberry milk. If you have a fat separator measuring cup (see below), use it! Rest the cheesecloth on the top strainer.
Again, if you don’t have these items, or if you just don’t feel like going through the effort of making the strawberry milk, you don’t have to. HOWEVER, I can’t guarantee the cake will be as tasty. Some things are worth the extra time, and this strawberry milk is one of them.
A Note on the Strawberries
I recommend slicing your strawberries for the 1 cup measurement ahead of time. Since strawberries can vary widely in size, it will be easier to measure this first. For the 3-4 strawberries in the strawberry milk, gather your most average-sized, consistent strawberries from the lot and use for this purpose.
Taste your strawberries before using them in the cake. For best results, use the darkest, ripest and sweetest strawberries. If yours are a bit tart, that’s okay too! The sugar in the muffin mix will help compensate for that. Serve the cake with a sweet whipped cream and no one will ever know the difference. *wink*
For reference, these are the giant strawberries we have here at the fruit stands on the Central Coast. They are consistently the size of my palm and typically weigh 3 ounces each.
Strawberry Milk makes a better Strawberry Cake
Really, this cake gives you two hacks in one. The first, using the muffin mix. And the second — making your own strawberry milk.
See the instructions on the box call for 2/3 cup of water to be added to the batter. No sir. We don’t simply add water here.
Instead, we’re going to make our own fresh strawberry milk. Don’t worry, it sounds more complicated than it is.
Essentially, we’re going to blend our preferred milk (almond, oat, etc.) with a few strawberries. Then, to ensure the cake isn’t full of too many strawberry seeds, we strain it through cheese cloth. And voila! Strawberry milk.
Set up your cheesecloth directly over your glass measuring cup. That way you can strain and measure at the same time, stopping when you reach the 2/3 cup that the recipe calls for.
- Liquid measuring cup
- Blender or food processor
- 1 box Krusteaz blueberry muffin mix or other boxed muffin mix
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup fresh strawberries chopped, plus 3-4 extra whole
- ⅔ cup milk of choice almond or oat work great!
- 2 whole eggs large is best
Make the strawberry milk
- Instead of using water like the box suggests, we're going to make a quick strawberry milk, which will help to keep the cake super moist and infuse the strawberry flavor evenly throughout. Making the strawberry milk is technically optional, but for best results it's recommended.
- First, take your 3-4 whole strawberries and remove the tops. Quarter the strawberries and add to a blender (or food processor) with 2/3 cup milk.
- Blend the berries and milk together well, ensuring there are no chunks.
- Set up to strain the milk. This step is optional, but makes the cake smoother by removing the extra seeds. Place a piece of cheesecloth over the top of the liquid measuring cup. You can use a fine strainer or sieve to place the cheesecloth on so it is more secure. Slowly pour the strawberry milk over the cheesecloth into the measuring cup, squeezing out extra liquid as necessary. Stop when the milk has reached the 2/3 cup mark on the measuring cup.
Mix the batter
- Set the oven to 350°F. Line a 10"x7" baking dish with parchment paper. This makes it easier to remove the cake from the pan after baking.
- Open the box of Krusteaz blueberry muffin mix. Remove the dry mix and the can of blueberries. Set the blueberries aside for later use. See recipe notes for ideas.
- In a separate bowl, combine the dry muffin mix, vegetable oil, eggs, ⅔ cup strained strawberry milk. Mix well to combine.
- Gently fold in the 1 cup chopped strawberries, ensuring even distribution throughout the mix.
- Pour the batter into the pan lined with parchment.It may be thick. That's good! We want the batter to be thicker, because the strawberries will release their own juices as the cake cooks.Smooth out the batter as best you can to ensure even coverage.
- Bake at 350° for 48 minutes, checking for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. It should come out clean.
- Leave in the baking dish for about 20 minutes, then remove from the dish and let cool on a rack or cutting board until ready to serve.
- Mixed into oatmeal.
- Blended in a smoothie.
- On top of ice cream.
- In a homemade parfait with yogurt and granola.
Have you tried this strawberry cake?
Tell us about it in the comments below!